back to article Engineer named Jason told to re-write the calendar

Welcome again to On-Call, The Reg’s Friday column celebrating readers’ stories of being asked to fix the unfeasible. We usually anonymise the names of those who contribute On-Call stories, to protect the guilty and save some recriminations. But this week’s story came from a chap named Jason and that’s relevant to his story. …

  1. Dr Scrum Master

    July and August must Go!

    July and August need to be removed from the calendar. For centuries these dead, white, slave-owning war criminals have been glorified every year for a whole month each.

    1. smudge Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: July and August must Go!

      Not to mention the agony experienced by nomenclature pedants from 1st September until the end of the year.

      1. Naselus

        Re: July and August must Go!

        "Not to mention the agony experienced by nomenclature pedants from 1st September until the end of the year."

        July and August weren't additional months added in for Julius and Augustus, they were existing ones renamed for them. They were originally called Quintilis and Sextilis, which will just mean the nomenclature pedant hell will just be expanded by an additional two months. Unless we move them to the end, but then you end up with Hendecember and Dodecember, which is too many Decembers for my liking.

        The Roman New Year was originally at the end of February, so March should be Month 1. If you do that, everything falls back into place and we avoid silly names. It's also why February has a variable length - originally much more variable. February had 28 days most years, and 23 days in others, when a 13th month of 23 days would be added immediately afterwards to account for the 368 day calendar length. When they corrected the calendar, February was the natural choice to soak up extra time again.

        1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: July and August must Go!

          @Naselus

          A classically educated pedant writes...

          you end up with Hendecember and Dodecember

          NO! That mixes Greek and Latin. Septem, Octo, Novem, Decem are Latin, Hendecem is a bastard mix of Greek and Latin. ἐνδεκα is eleven in classical Greek, δώδεκα is twelve. Stick to straight Latin and we'd have Undecimber Duodecimber

          Yep, still a bit of a mouthful.

          1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

            Re: July and August must Go!

            So they should be pronounced with a hard "C"?

          2. Nick Kew Silver badge
            Headmaster

            Re: July and August must Go!

            Quisquid Latine dictum sit, turbat legitur.

            (Please correct my grammar - this pleb went to a big Comprehensive and never learned latin. Nor indeed English grammar).

          3. Wilberfarce

            Re: July and August must Go!

            And at least with Undecember we'd get a chance to roll back and try again if December goes Pete Tong.

          4. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

            Re: July and August must Go!

            And then it all went wrong when the religious nutjobs decided that their invisible made-up sky fairy messiah was born. The thing is, the reason he was fictionally born in a manger in a stable is that all the hotels were already shut for midwinter Yule.

            1. Muscleguy Silver badge
              Mushroom

              Re: July and August must Go!

              The problem is rather more fundamental, the reason given for the move was that the Roman census required everyone to move to their home places. In which case surely they could have stayed with Joseph's family? Also there was no Roman census conducted in Palestine over the period supposed and Rome never required such a move.

              It was simply a factor shoehorned into the story so the signifiers of deity could stack up like cordwood. Born in Bethlehem, in Jewish eyes at least, ticked on box. That he was supposedly also from Nazareth was a problem in need of a solution. Hey Presto! a fictional census with a fictional stricture, add fictional star struck shepherds and Eastern Philosophers, stage it in a stable with adoring animals and you have it.

              1. Naselus

                Re: July and August must Go!

                "Also there was no Roman census conducted in Palestine over the period supposed and Rome never required such a move."

                Rome wasn't even in control of Palestine at the time. It was under Herod's control - a character who even appears in the same sodding chapter.

                Also, it wouldn't have been happening in December, since it mentions that the sheep were out in the fields. It is possible that the events were happening in February, however - some scholars believe the Romans kept to the old calendar, with March as New Year, until well into the imperial period.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: July and August must Go!

                Born in Bethlehem, in a manger, visited, and recognised as soverign and holy, by shepards and wise men (of indeterminate number and character) who brought gold frankincense and myrh as gifts, traced his line back to david (through joseph who christian scholars and historians agree wasn't his father, but ho hum) all predicted in the old testament, none of it mentioned in the new testament. Everything else is embelishments used to justify, describe, or sell this idea to someone (like balthazar, the black king who was born 200 years after jesus death and lived hundreds of miles west of Bethlehem, who non the less arrived as one of the wise men from the east, long complicated journey I'm sure)

                But lets not let facts get in the way of good story telling.

                1. Anonymous IV
                  FAIL

                  Re: July and August must Go!

                  > But lets not let facts get in the way of good story telling.

                  And let's not bother about spelling, punctuation, capitalisation, and other such niceties which could make it easier to read comments, especially when they have been written in green ink...

                2. Stoneshop Silver badge
                  Holmes

                  Re: July and August must Go!

                  (like balthazar, the black king who was born 200 years after jesus death and lived hundreds of miles west of Bethlehem

                  On a boat? A Mediterranean island? An undersea volcanic lair?

                  , who non the less arrived as one of the wise men from the east, long complicated journey I'm sure)

                  Navigation systems were pretty crap back then.

                3. Kiwi Silver badge

                  Re: July and August must Go!

                  Everything else is embelishments used to justify, describe, or sell this idea to someone (like balthazar, the black king who was born 200 years after jesus death and lived hundreds of miles west of Bethlehem, who non the less arrived as one of the wise men from the east, long complicated journey I'm sure)

                  From many repeated readings of the Bible including the texts referred to, and a quick check of a search at biblegateway.com and other resources, there appears to be no mention of this "balthazar" character anywhere in the Bible.

                  Perhaps you've fallen victim to some of the many false falsehoods claimed to be in the Bible?

            2. enormous c word

              Re: July and August must Go!

              My kids asked me when they were little why Jesus was born in a stable, and I told them that it was because all the hotels were closed for Christmas that day ;-)

          5. Bill Gray

            Re: July and August must Go!

            Dunno about the "proper" Latin names for an eleventh and twelfth month, but this may be of interest to calendar pedants :

            http://www.tondering.dk/claus/cal/roman.php

            (As part of Julius Caesar's calendar reform, two months were inserted between November and December in 46 BC. "It has been suggested that their names were Undecember and Duodecember, but that is doubtful, as this would mean that the names of the last four months were derived from the Latin words for nine, eleven, twelve, ten – in that order." Note that this was a one-off event; the Roman calendar required occasional leap months, but that hadn't been done for a while. The extra two months were to get things back on track.)

            So... JFMAMJJASONUDD. But if we wanted logic, we'd have switched to the French Republican calendar.

          6. Lorribot

            Re: July and August must Go!

            I'm liking the sound of hristmas during the month of Ewok, a North London bastardisation of greek original as is the English way.

          7. Daniel 18

            Re: July and August must Go!

            Clearly the answer is to completely undo the insertion of those months, and go back to a ten month year.

        2. Def Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: July and August must Go!

          @Naselus

          It is far too early in the year for this level of accurate and interesting information on a Friday morning.

          Keep it up, please!

          1. bitten

            Re: July and August must Go!

            At least July and August could give their 31st day back to February

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: July and August must Go!

              That would screw up the solstices and equinoxes.

        3. breakfast
          Paris Hilton

          Re: July and August must Go!

          You appear not to be in favour of "Sextember" but I have only just discovered that was a thing that might have existed and it's already my favourite month. Perhaps we should just make it last slightly more than two months to celebrate it's greatness, so that the official conclusion of Summer would become the 69th of Sextember.

        4. Deltics
          Coat

          And Janril, Febtober and Marchuary must be introduced!

          Bo**ocks. Sir.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: July and August must Go!

      Can't we get rid of May?

      1. Richard Jones 1

        Re: July and August must Go!

        A/C You beat me to it, my typing is slow and crap after an eye operation yesterday.

      2. Tinslave_the_Barelegged

        Re: July and August must Go!

        > Can't we get rid of May?

        Jason means JASON.

      3. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: Can't we get rid of May?

        Normally I have no faith in the ability of politicians but the is one thing they get right consistently. I know it is hard to believe, but when one finally gets kicked out they consistently find a replacement who is even worse.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Can't we get rid of May?

          > they consistently find a replacement who is even worse.

          Oh I don't know: I think it's very unfair to characterise either Cameron or May as worse than Blair.

          His self-enriching reign was the nadir of UK politics.

          1. Paul 195

            Re: Can't we get rid of May?

            Blair might have dragged us into an illegal war, but at least he didn't completely stuff the country like Cameron and now May have done. A pointless referendum on a stupid question that is going to damage our prosperity and possibly break up the union, all because the Tory party can't sort out their internal issues. At least Major had the guts to face down his rebels.

            1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

              Re: Can't we get rid of May?

              Blair and his plan to "rub the tories noses in diversity", sending out search parties for Polish immigrants are the main reason people voted to leave the EU.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                >Blair and his plan to "rub the tories noses in diversity", sending out search parties for Polish immigrants are the main reason people voted to leave the EU.

                Against the flow, I think you're right. Even if there are benefits to immigration (and there are plenty) it leads to resentment and it leads to a drain of talent in the sending country. It does need to be controlled.

                The real problem is with all of the millions who believe their propoganda mouthpiece of choice and believe that every law we're subjected to has been dictated by the EU and forced upon us without us having any say, where in reality it's nothing of the sort. We didn't have to join Shengen, we didn't have to join the Euro and we didn't have to accept immigration.

                The issue with the EU is not the EU; it's successive UK governments who have gone ahead with things they didn't have to, or could have influenced. And what are they suggesting as an alternative? Trade deals with India. Fucking fantastic. Just what we need.

                1. Alan Brown Silver badge

                  Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                  "believe that every law we're subjected to has been dictated by the EU and forced upon us without us having any say, "

                  Many of the more objectionable ones were rammed through an unwilling EU parliament by the British, then used back in the UK as an excuse to do what they wanted to do all along, without appearing to be evil.

              2. fruitoftheloon
                Happy

                @Disgusted: Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                Disgusted,

                a little question for you, I was wondering how you came to your conclusion about why so many folk [me included] voted to leave, did you spend a ton of your own money on some statistically valid research or jump to conclusions and trip over your own prejudices?

                Btw my vote to leave had 'nowt to do with immigration, but I can understand why some folk would hold that opinion...

                Hey-ho!

                Jay

                1. Terry 6 Silver badge

                  Re: @Disgusted: Can't we get rid of May?

                  Interesting point that. I've as yet been unable to find anyone I've chatted with (among Brexit voters) who seems to have an explanation for their choice beyond a slogan. Reduce immigration. But why? One person said that wages will go up without foreign competition. Will they? Is there any evidence for that? Slogans. Take back control. But what control do you think you'll have that you don't already have? Which laws would you really want different? ( The only answer I've been given, by three of four people, was immigration again, though one person did rather half heartedly say "Health and Safety" but couldn't say which bit of law he didn't want). A few people said that we'd be able to trade with the world again, but didn't know of any (legal) trade we couldn't have already. And I've heard of people who say "all that European bureaucracy" which I kind of sympathise with - but not enough to tear up the whole agreement for. All slogans so far. I'd love to see some evidence that it could all turn out well. I'm old enough not to have to face the consequences. My kids are young adults. They've got to live in the post-Brexit world.

                  1. H in The Hague Silver badge

                    Re: @Disgusted: Can't we get rid of May?

                    "... though one person did rather half heartedly say "Health and Safety" but couldn't say which bit of law he didn't want). "

                    Please give them my regards and communicate the following to them:

                    In my experience, H&S regulations are stricter in the UK than in the rest of Europe.

                    Example 1: in the UK activities done above ground level are much more likely to be classified as 'working at height' than in NL.

                    Example 2: in the UK a course on chainsaw maintenance, crosscutting and light felling takes 5 days, in NL 3 days. And in the UK you have fewer students per instructor than in NL.

                    Example 3: installing and maintaining central heating boilers has been strictly regulated in the UK for yonks. In NL that's deregulated, though regs will be introduced in about a year or so (about time, methinks).

                    So Brexit will not have any effect on H&S legislation. In fact most H&S legislation is national, as far as H&S is concerned the EU is mostly (but not exclusively) involved in setting standards for ladders, safety glasses, machinery, etc. How you work safely with that kit is a national matter.

                    (In my view the higher H&S standards in the UK are often a good thing. Admittedly, H&S is used as an excuse by jobsworths to make life difficult for others, but that has nothing to do with the regulatory environment. Often their objections are actually a figment of their imagination, not based on H&S law/regulations.)

                    Industry also has form in this. I mentioned before that the UK construction site safety passport system is more bureaucratic than that in NL, without providing greater safety.

                    1. jake Silver badge

                      Re: @Disgusted: Can't we get rid of May?

                      "in the UK a course on chainsaw maintenance, crosscutting and light felling takes 5 days"

                      ?????!!!!!

                      FIVE DAYS?

                      What in the name of Paul Bunyan's whiskers takes five days?

                      1. Kiwi Silver badge

                        Re: @Disgusted: Can't we get rid of May?

                        "in the UK a course on chainsaw maintenance, crosscutting and light felling takes 5 days"

                        ?????!!!!!

                        FIVE DAYS?

                        What in the name of Paul Bunyan's whiskers takes five days?

                        I'm pretty sure I could teach housewives{ to strip, inspect, repair and rebuild chainsaws inside 2 days. 3 if it's a large class! How the hell one part of the course takes more than a few hours beats me! (or did TOP mean "a course on using chainsaws to maintain" rather than "maintaining chainsaws"?)

                        | By "housewife" I mean people who are quite useful in any regard but are generally clueless about anything technicalK, ie who could not change a light bulb or change a tyre.

                        z I taught a totally computer illiterate person who'd not even handled a screwdriver to change laptop screens inside an hour, and that's covering different models with different ways of taking them apart. Some laptops seem to have twice as many screws just in their screen as an entire brand-range of chainsaws.

                  2. Justthefacts

                    Re: @Disgusted: Can't we get rid of May?

                    Haven’t you? I don’t believe you have genuinely asked anyone in your social group.

                    What you list are certainly the reasons that the media story has officially sanctioned brexiteers to say. But they aren’t mine, and in particular they aren’t the reasons of the *educated middle classes* who support brexit. In the *educated middle classes*, I am in the minority, but by no means vanishing.

                    Here are my concerns:

                    1) I’ve had rather a lot to do, professionally, with various EU institutions. Including, for example, Horizon2020 R&D contracts. I’ve done over £40M of business with EU institutions *personally*, and £20M with UK government. My experience is that EU contracts are hugely mismanaged, and over-bureaucratic. Even by comparison with UK gov. They are also terrifyingly and explicitly corrupt. I have *personally* put together the commercial logics of each winning bid, to include a method to pay off the assessment panel. That is how the system works. Period. It is a huge waste of human and social capital. People like me saw the future, we worked within that system, and we have come back to report to you from our personal experience that shit stinks.

                    2) Not one of the benefits of “the EU” are anything at all to do with allowing the European Commission to intermediate. “freedom of movement”, “zero tariffs”, and “peace in our time” are not given to us by fiat by the EC. It is entirely possible to negotiate these directly by inter-governmental treaty. There is a strong argument that the chaos and death in Ukraine was directly caused by the broken promises and lies from Brussels. The death and poverty in Greece certainly is - and if you don’t think that is like the aftermath of a civil war, then you my friend live in a bubble of middle-class privilege.

                    3) I strongly favour free immigration of skills. I have worked in teams of Indian, Chinese, Russians, and Europeans. There are great engineers amongst them all, and crap ones. I see no reason at all why someone with brown skin should work twice as hard to get a work visa as someone from France. If you want to play the race card, the racists are the Remainers. Ask the Indians or Russians in your team how they voted, or would vote.

                    4) I have Jewish parentage. A rather close friend of mine tells me how life is today in Hungary - things are now very close to Kristallnacht there, all the senior professional posts (in both public and private sector) have been politically replaced. If one is Jewish and has any money, one is very quietly selling up and making plans. In Austria, the far right is now in government. And you want leaders of those governments to have an equal vote on my rights. Not in *my* lifetime, you don’t.

                    If one is Jewish, or gay, or black, Never Again. Not Here.

              3. Mooseman Bronze badge

                Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                "main reason people voted to leave the EU."

                yes yes....of course. Nothing to do with a torrent of misinformation, lies and good old fashioned racism at all.

                1. Justthefacts

                  Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                  As posted above, the “race card” is a favourite of Remainers, as that is what they have been told to think Brexiters voted for. Unfortunately, the reasoning is precisely the opposite.

                  My reasons can be right or wrong, of course, but from my perspective it is very definitely the Remainers (if any) who are the Racists.

                  1) Fairly much the definition of Europe is “where the white people come from”.

                  2) I’m very pro-immigration for skills. In the voice of Mrs Merton, what first attracted you to handing out working rights for software engineers to poorly qualified white guys (and they are exclusively male) from the Czech Republic, rather than well qualified brown Indian men and women?

                  3) If you are white British, go through the EU passport line at an Italian airport happily and quickly and don’t think about it. Now look to your left, and see where your black British countrymen are. They are in the non-British line, being given a grilling. Now look at a Uk airport line: not discriminated in that way. This is the truth of “the EU

            2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

              Re: Can't we get rid of May?

              Blair might have dragged us into an illegal war, but at least he didn't completely stuff the country like Cameron and now May have done.

              He completely screwed up the educational system, which will do great long-term damage to the country.

              pointless referendum on a stupid question

              So pointless and stupid that hardly anyone voted, and those that did rejected it utterly? Oh, wait...

              1. FIA

                Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                pointless referendum on a stupid question

                So pointless and stupid that hardly anyone voted, and those that did rejected it utterly? Oh, wait...

                It was a referendum on a complex issue, the outcome of which had the potential to change this country for years to come, yet the choice was reduced to a simple Yes or No.

                There was no effort to quantify the ramifications of either choice, or outline the details of what they meant. The question asked was simplistic and naive, playing to broad stereotypes when the issue it purported to address is quite nuanced. This has resulted in widely different views of what should happen next with each camp claiming they represent the 'view of the people' leading to arguing, infighting and a pointless election rather than any real or meaningful progress on dealing with the outcome.

                Seems pretty stupid to me.

                Edit: To clarify, I think the referendum was stupid and clumsily handled. I recognise the issue it attempted to address is important to many people.

                1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

                  Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                  It was a referendum on a complex issue, the outcome of which had the potential to change this country for years to come, yet the choice was reduced to a simple Yes or No.

                  Isn't that largely true of any general election as well, though? Anything other than a binary question would have led to so many options that it would have served no useful purpose in terms of making a decision.

                  You could have asked "Do you want Brexit to be hard/soft/firm with a runny yolk/etc.?" but then you'd have had to ask the same for the Remain side of the equation, how people want EU participation to be in the future. Unfortunately that ship has sailed 25 years ago, we have no control at all over what Remain would look like, so trying to nuance Exit would have been somewhat unbalanced. Personally if I'd had a choice between a return to the EEC or Brexit I'd have gone for the former, but only the EU parliament as a whole could offer that and those turkeys will never vote for that Christmas.

                  I do agree that campaigners on both sides played to stereotypes, but that's what politicians do. It's up to the people who vote to make sure they understand the issues. Few bother.

                  1. Andy A

                    Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                    The problem with these folk who demand that the result of negotiations MUST be so-and-so is that they are forgetting that the "other side" in the negotiations consists of nearly two dozen other countries.

                    If those other countries refuse point blank to play ball, the only possible position is a clean break.

                    Unless you take the position that we can pretend that the electorate never voted the way it did.

                    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

                      Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                      "If those other countries refuse point blank to play ball, the only possible position is a clean break."

                      And Britain will find out rather quickly that Australia, India, New Zealand, etc etc don't need trade deals with the UK, but the UK _does_ need trade deals with them.

                      Britain will also find out that memories of being shafted when the UK joined the EEC in 1972 still resonate and there will be _no_ "special deals for the homeland" despite what those harking back to an empire whose wheels fell off around 100 years ago care to believe.

                  2. DustyP

                    Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                    Only 37% of people entitled to vote voted leave.

                    ...and this was in a referendum that was supposed to be 'advisory' to the government. Not blindly follow the decision.

                    The entire referendum was badly planned and the advertising by the leave group was criminally false. - In the leaflets that were delivered to every house claiming that Turkey was about to join the EU and hence Syria.

                    Those responsible should be prosecuted.

                    1. Kiwi Silver badge
                      FAIL

                      Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                      Only 37%35% of people entitled to vote voted leavestay

                      FTFY.

                      The entire referendum was badly planned and the advertising by the leave group was criminally false.

                      Then your side should've got off your arses and done more to point out the truth to those who might believe their side.

                      And yes, had the tables reversed I would've been saying the same. You can't moan that "only 37% voted leave" when even less voted stay.

                      Those responsible should be prosecuted.

                      They're politicians and civil servants. Of course they should be prosecuted!

                  3. MrBanana

                    Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                    You can't compare a referendum to a general election. In a general election people will be swayed by an "of the moment" issue, or use their vote as a protest, knowing that they can change their mind in five years (or May-be less) time. A referendum decision is much more final. Making it absolutely clear that this is a one-shot deal, and ignoring the initial advisory status of the referendum, is one of the big failings on all sides - both political and from all of the commentators.

                    1. Kiwi Silver badge

                      Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                      A referendum decision is much more final.

                      Really? Here if we were to have a referendum, even a binding one, in time (whether next year or next decade) someone could bring about another one to change things. All it takes is a petition to get things started by the citizens (IIRC needs around 10% of voters), but the citizen's ones are "non-binding".

                      You can see more on our system at http://www.elections.org.nz/voting-system/referenda, and see that a couple of things have come up time and again.

                      Do your laws really say that once a referendum has been held you can't go back and change things later?

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                        Getting back into the EU, let alone on the terms we (currently) have is improbable in the extreme. And should there be a way to get back at all the EU members would, quite rightly have cause to be very wary. What happens the next time people go looking for someone to blame? yet another referendum?

                        We are leaving, the die is cast and came up with "exit". And now I want us out as soon as possible. I reckon the Leave voters will be the ones hit hardest. Serves 'em right.

                        1. Kiwi Silver badge
                          Pint

                          Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                          Getting back into the EU, let alone on the terms we (currently) have is improbable in the extreme.

                          Good point - though it may lend some weight to the leavers' claims of corruption etc within the EU :)

                          I reckon the Leave voters will be the ones hit hardest. Serves 'em right.

                          It is oft' said that the people get the government they deserve....

                2. Andy A

                  Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                  ....There was no effort to quantify the ramifications of either choice, or outline the details of what they meant.

                  So Project Fear never happened then?

                  Presumably you wanted the question asked to be:

                  1. Stay in

                  2. Get out

                  3. Keep having referendums until everyone gets fed up and stays in anyway.

                  There are a large number of commentards and media organisations who have been pretending that option 3 was what EVERYONE voted for.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                    They didn't bother with the third option they just call it the Dublin option and do it anyway.

                    I think the remoaners wanted the options to be.

                    1, Remain in a land of milk of honey, only a moron xenophobe would want to leave the EU.

                    Look at the economic Armageddon and the dose of syphilis you would have if you even though about leaving. etc.

                    on page 54 :

                    2. You sad racist bastard how could you!

                    1. Mooseman Bronze badge

                      Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                      " the remoaners wanted the options to be"

                      Sorry, your comment is automatically filed under "bin" for using petty little insults.

                      1. Kiwi Silver badge

                        Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                        " the remoaners wanted the options to be"

                        Sorry, your comment is automatically filed under "bin" for using petty little insults.

                        Wow! What marvellous debating skills you have there my good man! Throwing out the entire argument on the basis of one term you dislike!

                        With skills like that, you should become a politician! I'm sure you'd do well at the mass debates they have there!

                        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

                          Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                          Wrong, " debate " based on or using put-down phrases and dismissive labels is not worth taking notice of.

                          It even has a nice Latin name (SO Boris would appreciate its use)

                          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

                          1. Kiwi Silver badge

                            Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                            Wrong, " debate " based on or using put-down phrases and dismissive labels is not worth taking notice of.

                            Actually no. That's a terrible cop-out. "Oh dear, someone uses a pet name for someone/something else. We can ignore any good point that they make because we have no real arguments and are looking for a pathetic excuse so we can worm our way out of our weakened sidethey used a term we don't like!"

                            It's at least as "childish" as the name-calling is often claimed to be, but often struggles even to reach the level of a 2-week old baby crying to get it's nappy changed.

                            If you run awayback out because someone used a naughty word you don't like, you show how weak your arguments are.

                            OTOH, by ignoring the petty "insult" (which aren't always, ref the number of people who lambaste El Reg for using "Boffin" and making such comments about how offended they are and how it weakens the argument yadda yadda yadda) and by arguing the points made you can actually strengthen your position, even with those who otherwise would not be willing to listen. Or to paraphrase Wozzisname, "Run off and prove the claims you're chicken are true, or stand up for your beliefs and show yourself to be the [strong person] you want others to believe in".

                3. swampdog

                  Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                  I don't think anyone would have had a problem if the govt had said they needed a 2/3rd majority for exit. Yes it was badly handled - you are a master of understatement!

                  1. Alan Brown Silver badge

                    Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                    "I don't think anyone would have had a problem if the govt had said they needed a 2/3rd majority for exit. "

                    I would have.

                    Legally, it was an _advisory_ referendum, and as such the oversight of truthfulness and spending in campaigns was effectively non-existent. The fact that it was advistory and many people felt so confused by the FUD contributed to the spectacularly low electoral turnout.

                    A binding one would have been subject to much stricter checking and restrictions and there should also be a quorate requirement for such things in addition to a supermajority voting requirement. (There should be a quorum requirement for general and local body elections too, but I digress)

                    The moment Cameron started raving on about the results being binding was the moment that the wheels started falling off the legality of the campaigning.

                    Now we have the sight of UKIP and three other (anonymous(*)) entities refusing to cooperate with the ICO's investigations into criminal behaviour during the referendum campaign where even if laws were found to have been broken, invalidating the result is not an option (unlike an election) - and that illegal activity is by the rules of an advisory referendum, not a binding one.

                    (*) They're only anonymous because they haven't (yet) tried to challenge the ICO's statutory powers directive. They haven't handed over the required information yet. UKIP took it to court and were decloaked as a direct result. I suspect the other three are looking on to see what the results are before trying it themselves.

                    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

                      Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                      One of the resonating post-referendum sounds has been Brexiteers shouting loudly and repeatedly that the country has voted to leave, and using rather nasty propagandist tricks to try to smother any opposition (Using words and phrases like "Remoaners" to denigrate any opposition, for example). And stating that we voted to leave so that is the end of the story and who are we (i.e. anyone with doubts or second thoughts let alone Remainers) to cast doubt on that. In reality, the country voted by a small margin to Leave, with some drastically awful campaigning ( on all sides) and no real understanding of what leaving would look like, largely because the Leave campaign obfuscated all the arguments with outrageous claims (like that infamous NHS bus). The reason that the Brexit campaigners are struggling so hard to prevent any reconsideration is that they have gained their prize and are terrified that the country will take it away if allowed to think again.

                      1. Kiwi Silver badge
                        FAIL

                        Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                        In reality, the country voted by a small margin to Leave, with some drastically awful campaigning ( on all sides) and no real understanding of what leaving would look like, largely because the Leave campaign obfuscated all the arguments with outrageous claims (like that infamous NHS bus).

                        So why didn't the Remainers mount a larger or at least equivalent campaign to present their views?

                        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

                          Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                          I've already done a longer reply. But the basic answer to the question " why didn't the Remainers mount a larger or at least equivalent campaign to present their views?" is that the referendum was triggered by those with a passionate view point, who had been actively building up support for years. They already had confirmation bias and raised motivation on their side. For example, the lies on the side of a bus were still being accepted even after they had been shown up. Whereas every warning about the potential risks of Brexit was lumped into "Project Fear".

                          The Brexiteers and their leaders had an axe to grind. They were strongly motivated. They had been hammering home a message for years. The message about the advantages of the EU were never going to gain the same traction during the campaign as fear of immigration, the belief that our laws were somehow radically different to how we would have wanted them to be because they came from the EU, the failure to balance what the EU put into our economy ( as in development grants) with what we paid.

                          Those who didn't want to leave include an awful lot of people who hadn't any reason to get excited by whether we were in the EU or not. Weren't as passionate about staying as Brexiteers were about leaving. But strength of feeling should not, in our system, count more than actual numbers. In an ordinary vote it doesn't. There are likely to be similar proportions of passionate/casual supporters on both major parties' sides. And if the less motivated don't like the outcome they can change it in five years time But in getting voters out for a referendum it does make a difference.

                          1. Kiwi Silver badge

                            Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                            I've already done a longer reply. But the basic answer to the question " why didn't the Remainers mount a larger or at least equivalent campaign to present their views?" is that the referendum was triggered by those with a passionate view point, who had been actively building up support for years.

                            1) Your post souns rather defeatist, and sounds more like the Remainers simply weren't as passionate about remaining as the Brexiters were about leaving. You didn't have it in you to build a better campaign to show up the things that you believed to be lies (rightly or wrongly, I make no comment on that!)

                            2) You basically describe Brexit as starting from a small group who pushed their views until they got their way. There's your answer if you wish to remain in or later re-join the EU. In fact if Brexit turns out to be a really bad idea, you'll have an easier time convincing people to re-join.

                            3) Make the most of it. Good or bad, Brexit will probably happen. You can either live sad or live happy, you don't have to let this ruin your life. Adapt, and live well. It's not always easy but it can be done.

                            FTR I am slightly pro-Brexit. If I lived in the UK I would've spent a lot of time reading before voting, seeking material from both sides (especially from the Remain side - I try to read as much of the other's arguments). I could well have voted stay. I am very much anti minimum numbers in voting systems (aside from a simple majority, if 350,000,001 of 700,000,000 votes is a winning majority for me, as is the highest number of votes cast - I don't like FPP systems where 20% of the vote could win the election BUT if voting in such a system I support the result while advocating for change for next time)

                  2. Kiwi Silver badge
                    Megaphone

                    Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                    I don't think anyone would have had a problem if the govt had said they needed a 2/3rd majority for exit.

                    Wow. So you have a population of 46,500,001 registered voters, and say 34,870,000 of them voted "LEAVE" while only 1,498,071 vote "STAY"

                    And you somehow think it's "democratic" or appropriate that 1,498,071 get their way while 34 million don't?

                    It messes with the head to think that there are such people who can actually manage the complex mental arithmetic that separates "inhale" from "exhale".

                    The matter is simple. It was a vote on a basic yes/no line (which yes, perhaps could've been handled better). If you wanted to stay then your job was to get out and get other people to join your side and vote for what you believed best. The leave side got a little over a million votes more than the stay side. These people voted for what they wanted (wrong or otherwise). If you really wanted the UK to stay in the EU then you had one simple job, convince others of your viewpoint. You failed in that task.

                    Reminds me of a mate who refused to vote in this year's general election. He did not get the outcome he wanted. Somehow other people are to blame, despite the amount of air he expended telling others how he did not intend to vote for the party he wanted because he believed they could do it without him. I could see it was a close deal so I encouraged people of both sides to register, encouraged them to vote for who they preferred, talked over the many issues as best as I could, and even offered help with transport to polling places. You have to fight for the outcome you want, and if you don't fight for it then assume the blame lies with you for failure.

                    If 500,000 remainers each got one of the non-voters to vote to remain, you'd have had your wish. That's not a very big ask really.

                    (And if you did fight for it, you have my appreciation and my apology for assuming you didn't)

                    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

                      Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                      The logic behind this is that a small majority of those who voted chose Leave, but those who did not vote are not the same as those who fail to vote in elections. Because the referendum was triggered by the push of group who were motivated to demand to leave, and so to turn out on the day. This is an unusual skew to normal voting patterns. Whereas those who did not vote, because they were not pushing for a radical change, were simply doing apathy as normal. The Brexiteers can claim to have won, with this slim margin. But they can not claim to hold the support of the majority of the population. Because those who did not vote have not supported this change. Had the vote gone the other way that would not have been mirrored. Brexiteers would not have been able to claim that the apathetic non-voters did not want to remain, because they still would not have been saying that they wanted change. In other words the burden of proof is on those who want to change any given status quo. Idiotically the referendum was held with no threshold for the change vote. So a tiny percentage difference means that the minority who actively wanted to leave is pulling the majority who did not seek change. And that isn't even taking into account the group who will have become 18 years old by the time we leave. A group who would be old enough under the existing rules to have a say in whether we leave or not, but will not get that chance. Again, this is not the same as a general election. After an election the new government stats pretty much immediately, we don't vote for a government to start in two years time. And anyone who turns 18 after an election knows that there will be another along quite soon. The current 17 and recent 18 year olds will not be able to vote in a referendum to take us back in. And this does matter because we know that the voting pattern was also skewed by age. Those who are younger being more likely to want to remain. Those who are older being less likely to be around to suffer the consequences.

                      Or to put it more simply. This is the tail wagging the dog.

                    2. Mooseman Bronze badge

                      Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                      "It messes with the head to think that there are such people who can actually manage the complex mental arithmetic that separates "inhale" from "exhale"

                      The problem was that many people voted "leave" based on the nonsense Farage et al were spouting, outright lies and vague promises, most of which were admitted to the day after the referendum.

                      I met people who firmly believed that 30% of their tax went to the eu, that british car manufacturers were forced to sell their cars in Germany at less than cost, that the eu forced companies to relocate to Poland, and that foreign tourists could claim VAT back on purchases made in Britain but we couldn't do the same (yes I know you can claim back VAT but its a little more complex than the leave voter thought).

                      We had decades of made up "facts" about the eu - bendy bananas, 26000 words on the sale of cabbages, eu laws preventing us from deporting terrorists, 27 unelected men made all the laws in the eu and over our own country, etc etc, all of which were demonstrably false, but we were gleefully told that "we don't need experts".

                      I did try and convince people that voting leave was at best a leap in the dark, and at worst possible economic suicide, but you cant compete with a torrent of nonsense and blinkered belief.

                      1. Kiwi Silver badge
                        Pint

                        Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                        "It messes with the head to think that there are such people who can actually manage the complex mental arithmetic that separates "inhale" from "exhale"

                        The problem was that many people voted "leave" based on the nonsense Farage et al were spouting, outright lies and vague promises, most of which were admitted to the day after the referendum.

                        As you can see from the posts here, there are those who voted to leave for other reasons. How many is another matter.

                        I did try and convince people that voting leave was at best a leap in the dark, and at worst possible economic suicide, but you cant compete with a torrent of nonsense and blinkered belief.

                        You tried, and for that - as a largely dis-interested outside party - I thank you. You tried to convince people of your beliefs.

                        In the election earlier this year we had the encumbant government engaged in a "campaign of fear", desperately trying to encourage voters to believe that to vote for the other side would lead to our children starving in the streets and so on (not quite so bad but...). It was close, but they lost. Even big and well-funded campaigns can fail if the people look at reality. There is hope that minds can be changed.

                4. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                  People want politicians to be more accountable, saw the EU as a gravy train for politicians in the twilight of their careers, and wanted to regain a semblance of control over their destiny. Thats why people voted to leave. Immigration, benefit fraud by immigrants and abuse of the NHS is just noise that both sides used to either stoke voters anger or tanish them as racists. Both sides lead an appalling campaign of misinformation - Frankly I think people voted to leave _in_spite_of_ Johnson and Gove

              2. Muscleguy Silver badge
                Pirate

                Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                Only in Englandshire. Only one Academy up here in Scotland and that was an anomaly.

            3. se99paj

              Re: Can't we get rid of May?

              Blair might have dragged us into an illegal war, but at least he didn't completely stuff the country like Cameron and now May have done

              Like running up a pretty significant national debt:

              https://www.economicshelp.org/blog/7568/debt/government-debt-under-labour-1997-2010/

              Whenever we have an election I always remember those words "Dear Chief Secretary, I’m afraid there is no money. Kind regards – and good luck! Liam"

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                >Like running up a pretty significant national debt:

                >https://www.economicshelp.org/blog/7568/debt/government-debt-under-labour-1997-2010/

                >Whenever we have an election I always remember those words "Dear Chief Secretary, I’m afraid there is no money. Kind regards – and good luck! Liam"

                Technically, it was Brown that ran up the debt due to the financial crash. When Blair left office in 2007, the National Debt was ~36% of GDP. Its now well over double that.

                1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

                  Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                  There was already a deficit before the financial crisis. That was Brown's fault, but Blair should have sacked him for it.

                  In those boom years in the early to mid 2000's, a small surplus would have been great, but Brown didn't want to be unpopular.

                  1. Mat

                    Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                    Gordon Broon: "This is the end of boom and bust politics!"

                    (Literally just before one of the biggest busts in memory..)

                    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                      Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                      "Literally just before one of the biggest busts in memory."

                      Not just before. He'd been saying that for years whilst engineering a long boom by having the BoE base interest rates on the principle that a house price bubble wasn't inflation, ignoring runaway borrowing and taxing the future by killing the pension funds' tax relief on dividends. By keeping the cycle going longer and further than normal he just ensured that a bigger boom was followed by a bigger bust.

                2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                  Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                  "When Blair left office in 2007, the National Debt was ~36% of GDP. Its now well over double that."

                  He sidestepped the crash. Things were well on the route to getting a lot worse.

                3. Mooseman Bronze badge

                  Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                  "Technically, it was Brown that ran up the debt due to the financial crash"

                  So, Gordon Brown was responsible for an international crash brought on by the banking crisis?

              2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

                Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                I assumed - though I seem to be wrong - that the message meant there was no present of money in the "sorry about your new job" card.

                1. Terry 6 Silver badge

                  Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                  At the time they said the no money comment was a traditional gag.

                  But since the govt. had bailed out the banks, who'd blown the nations's wealth, it did have a greater impact.

                  1. Alan Brown Silver badge

                    Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                    "At the time they said the no money comment was a traditional gag."

                    It dates back over 50 years:

                    A similar note left by Tory Reginald Maudling to his Labour successor James Callaghan in 1964: "Good luck, old cock ... Sorry to leave it in such a mess."

                  2. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                    Actually they are still bailing out the banks - to the tune of rather more than half of each year's annual increase in the National Debt. Imagine the media coverage if that was being spent on any other industry.

                    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                      Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                      "Imagine the media coverage if that was being spent on any other industry."

                      Imagine the media coverage if they hadn't bailed out the banks. Although there might have been rather less media to provide the coverage - a collapsing bank is likely to take most of its customers down with it.

                      1. Mooseman Bronze badge

                        Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                        "Imagine the media coverage if they hadn't bailed out the banks"

                        Yes, imagine if the banks had been allowed to fail and their directors charged with criminal offences?

                        Iceland seemed to manage that just fine.

                        We have paid the banks around £850 billion so far. They are still paying themselves fat bonuses. Many cabinet ministers end up with bank directorships. Just saying.

            4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Can't we get rid of May?

              "Blair might have dragged us into an illegal war, but at least he didn't completely stuff the country"

              Not on his own. He had his side-kick Brown to help with that. Then neatly stepped aside just in time to avoid the inevitable result.

              1. swampdog

                Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                If I were granted three wishes, the first would be lawyers be banned from political office. The second would be that for every new law, two laws must be removed first.

                Lawyers are akin to Robert Rankin's "riders".

                My third wish would be.. for lots more wishes. ;-)

                1. gypsythief

                  If I were granted three wishes

                  I'd have a hundred and eleven wishes.

            5. Why Not?

              Re: Can't we get rid of May?

              Blair & Brown ran up the credit cards & sold the family gold to give away money on a grand scale. When the banks crashed they threw our grandchildren's money at them to save them fixing their own problems. I would have let them do like Barclays and borrow from elsewhere.

              Instead of dealing with the ill feeling from successive treaties that surrendered our sovereignty to the EU they decided to dive deeper into it. They decided not to limit labour from the much poorer EU countries unlike other countries, in fact lord Mandleslime "sent out search parties" (His words not mine).

              Labour are the architects of Brexit, their arrogance and failure to consider the public mood made it inevitable.

              The subsequent governments have tried to cut our spending with a constant drone of "savage Tory cuts" from Labour or in English "They are spending less than we promised when we knew we wouldn't pay it back".

              The deficit (the amount we spend more than we earn every month) is going down so one day we will start paying back the debt. Maybe we will finish in 70 years like we did with the war debt. Mr Micawber would be pleased.

              Cameron understood we had made a mistake with open door EU immigration because it was changing the UK too fast and went to the EU to negotiate. He was told to F off by the EU.

              We got a referendum in which we decided to leave and our 40 year relationship with the EU is about to end. Some of us are quite pleased. You obviously aren't and seem to have an almost religious obsession with it.

              May is trying to negotiate but nailing jelly to a wall is easier than working with an alcoholic tax evoider & his mates.

              Yes we could do with someone better than May but there is no one in opposition who could compete, that really is very sad.

              1. Terry 6 Silver badge

                Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                " our 40 year relationship with the EU is about to end. "

                Well that's one big mistake that Brexit supporters make. Our relationship might change, for better or worse ( what do you think), but it can't go away. We need to trade and travel with our near neighbours. We can not sit in "splendid Isolation". It will be interesting to see what arrangements come out of this, with the EU and the rest of the world. But I wouldn't pin many hopes on a sudden surge on the rest of the world pouring money into our economy. Whereas the EU has done. Particularly into those areas that most voted for Brexit.

                Brexit: Bring it on! Let them have what they wished for. ( A bit tough on the just under half who voted to stay, but that's life.)

                1. Kiwi Silver badge

                  Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                  Brexit: Bring it on! Let them have what they wished for. ( A bit tough on the just under half who voted to stay, but that's life.)

                  At least the just over half who voted to leave get what they asked for.

                  That's the screwy thing about basic democracy. 50.0000000000000001% wins.

                  1. veti Silver badge

                    Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                    That's the screwy thing about basic democracy. 50.0000000000000001% wins.

                    And that is why no country in the world is insane enough to try to govern itself by direct democracy on that basis. (No, not even Switzerland or California.)

                    Instead we have elections to pick delegates whom we entrust to do the give and take of governing on our behalf. Indirect democracy, with all sorts of inbuilt rules and balances and delays and balances. The effect is that the political class has to compromise in order to get things done.

                    And then some retards say things like "Compromise is betrayal, we voted for this and we must have it and nothing else!" Those people are too stupid to entrust with a vote, but sadly there's no way to take it away from them. And that is why we avoid giving them opportunities like the Brexit referendum.

                    David Cameron, are you listening?

                    1. Kiwi Silver badge
                      Pint

                      Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                      Those people are too stupid to entrust with a vote, but sadly there's no way to take it away from them. And that is why we avoid giving them opportunities like the Brexit referendum.

                      We've had people in government who've said shit like that. Thankfully they're not in government any more.

                      The reason many of us don't want direct democracy is not that we wish to entrust politicians to be our betters and make the decisions we are to dumb to - politicians are just humans, most of them probably have a lower IQ than either yours or mine. But I don't want to spend my time going through committees and the like to work out what is right in these laws so I delegate that responsibility to my elected MP. I sometimes let them (and others) know what my views on the matter are, but mostly I vote for parties that broadly share my views in the hope&expectation that in smaller areas they will also share my views.

                      Sometimes this leads to stuff passing that I like, sometimes it leads to stuff passing that I dislike. The best option for me to change the "dislike" is to take direct involvement (ie become a politician), but that is not something I am willing to do.

            6. fruitoftheloon
              Happy

              @Paul 195: Re: Can't we get rid of May?

              Paul,

              I see your point, this democracy thing's a bitch eh, I mean would you believe the temerity of some folk having a different opinion to yours...!

              Cheers [it is the season of good will after all!]

              Jay

          2. Lorribot

            Re: Can't we get rid of May?

            Actully Blair was replaced by Brown, you must have auto blocked him out.

            Camron did the the whole EU referendum thing and then ran away when he lost and was followed by may who seems Marvelesque in her ability to absorb massive hits, i believe she may even have given Ali a run for his money, or maybe just no one else actually wants to take on her job.

            Also Alex Salmond was followed by an even smugger Nicola Sturgeon

            So I think that all holds up pretty well.

            Every now and again one Politician does something quite useful and good that the bar gets reset though it is often requires the integection of realyl bad person or a world war and we have to ignore everything else bad they did, normally porn, groping, tax fidlling, philandering or general abusivness and abnoxiousness.

        2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Unhappy

          but when one finally gets kicked out they consistently find a replacement who is even worse.

          Wot, doesn't everyone love Jacob Rees Mogg.

        3. enormous c word

          Re: Can't we get rid of May?

          While we're at it - can we do something about February - It seems there is one too many 'r's in there ...

      4. Jedit
        Unhappy

        "Can't we get rid of May?"

        We tried that in June, but we were foiled by the Orange March.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: "Can't we get rid of May?"

          "We tried that in June, but we were foiled by the Orange March."

          Orange Marches are usually in July.

      5. Dave Fox

        Re: July and August must Go!

        Guess I'm the only one who assumed that the AC is Clarkson? ;)

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Can't we get rid of May?

        Thought you meant James at first. Changed to an upvote : - )

      7. keith_w

        Re: July and August must Go!

        "Can't we get rid of May?"

        Took me a while to figure this one out since I don't live in the UK.

      8. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: July and August must Go!

        throw JUST August out, and we can get rid of JSON (may it die a horrible, painful, 'killed to death' death, to the death).

        coat, please.

        1. JulieM Silver badge

          Re: July and August must Go!

          JSON isn't inherently bad. If you use it properly, it's a great way of interchanging data between programs which may be in different languages (JavaScript or Java on the client; PHP, Perl or Python, or even compiled C, on the server).

          Unfortunately, it's very easy to misuse JSON. I'm informed that some firms actually pay people to copy and paste data from e-mails rather than write code to post to some of the badly-written APIs out there .....

    3. FIA

      Re: July and August must Go!

      Bring on the intermission.

    4. ThaumaTechnician

      Re: July and August must Go!

      I told him, Julie, don't go!

      https://youtu.be/rR_5h8CzRcI?t=200

    5. MartinT

      Re: July and August must Go!

      Can we name them after Caligula and Nero instead?

      Those guys were not as bad as everyone thinks. They just got some bad press from a later emperor.

    6. Jtom

      Re: July and August must Go!

      In the US, at least, there are governments and school systems trying to purge everything related to religion, so we might as well get rid the names of the first six months as well, since they are named for deities. Further, with the state of education and short-cuts for twittering, we might as well rename all the months using this form: 1th, 2th, 3th, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th. Yes, I know it's the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, but I'm afraid that would be beyond the learning capability of today's students (and the teachers, as well).

  2. jake Silver badge

    Not IT related, but on topic ...

    About a hundred years ago in Internet Time (2012ish), I was helping a friend clean up a recently purchased property off of Red Rock Road, North of Reno, Nevada. He asked me to "take all the rocks off that hillside with the backhoe". My jaw about hit the ground ... the poor guy honestly didn't realize that the rocks were the hillside!

    1. davidp231

      Re: Not IT related, but on topic ...

      Is that like sending out fresh air force recruits out to change the batteries in the wind-sock?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Not IT related, but on topic ...

        No, it's like one of the recruits requesting a left-handed Phillips screwdriver.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. terrythetech
            Happy

            Re: Not IT related, but on topic ...

            Good grief, that's nearly 10kg! I think I would have spotted that something was odd, and I fell for the "This isn't long enough - can you go down to stores and ask for a long stand" in my first job.

            But then maybe he thought it contained the big weight he'd been asked to get earlier.

            1. Andy A

              Re: Not IT related, but on topic ...

              Where I first started work, trainee operators were told to go and get tape a tape with a number such as 6905.

              It was an ICL 1900 shop. All the tapes had octal numbers.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Not IT related, but on topic ...

            > The new guy was tasked with removing the 'lid'.

            No worries. That's what lathes are for.

        2. TheTor

          Re: Not IT related, but on topic ...

          Or a glass hammer. Oh, and some tartan paint. And an AC battery.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Andy Taylor

            Re: Not IT related, but on topic ...

            "On my first day at work I was asked to call an air ambulance, but I saw through their game."

            Milton Jones

          3. jake Silver badge

            Re: Not IT related, but on topic ...

            Glass hammers are used to break automotive glass after accidents.

            "Tartan paint" is (was?) a slang term for a brand of spar varnish.

            AC Batteries are another name for a UPS.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Not IT related, but on topic ...

              And a bucket of compressed air? Or a long wait (weight)?

              etc. etc.

              1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

                Re: Not IT related, but on topic ...

                I prefer a "Long stand"

                1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

                  Re: Not IT related, but on topic ...

                  When I started work it was "A Long Weight"

                  1. mhoulden

                    Re: Not IT related, but on topic ...

                    I heard about someone who was tasked to get a long weight, so he went to the local ironmongers, had a bit of a laugh with the staff there, and came back with a sash weight charged to the company's account.

          4. Stevie Silver badge

            Re: Or a glass hammer.

            18 albums issued so far.

            Not seeing the problem.

        3. JimboSmith Silver badge

          Re: Not IT related, but on topic ...

          Had a work experience who said we were much nicer than the last place he'd worked. They'd sent him out to buy tartan paint on his first day. He said he hadn't fallen for that one but was then tasked with menial tasks like making tea, collecting dry cleaning etc.

          1. d3vy

            Re: Not IT related, but on topic ...

            Go and grab the tub of elbow grease from supplies.

          2. Kiwi Silver badge

            Re: Not IT related, but on topic ...

            but was then tasked with menial tasks like making tea, collecting dry cleaning etc.

            I used to enjoy such tasks. The tea wasn't so great a job but still a break from other stuff. But going out to get the dry cleaning.. Time off work on full pay, time out of the office, a chance to socialise with a couple of hotties in the immediate area.....

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Not IT related, but on topic ...

        "change the batteries in the wind-sock"

        Ah, yes, the n00b pranks in the military!

        "Go down to the boiler/machinery room and get a BT/machinist punch"

        "I need you to get 5 feet of water/chow line"

        "This is the pressure test. Just put your thumbs in this vice, and we'll see how much pressure you can take"

        "We're heading up to the surface to get mail from a mail buoy. Here's a lifejacket and a harness, put 'em on, you're going up the hatch"

        "Oh, my GOD, the REACTOR is CRITICAL??? RUUUNNN!!!"

        "I need some sound-powered phone batteries. See if there are any in the supply room."

        "Make sure you press your eye really hard onto the rubber eye cup on the periscope/viewport" [invariably has been lovingly coated with something that leaves a 'black eye' pattern around your eye, like maybe this carbon-based lubricating material designed for stainless steel nuclear valve covers, and everyone ELSE knows better].

        what ELSE would you expect, in a high testosterone environment, with most people in their early to mid 20s, that are somewhat bored most of the time?

      3. Slef

        Re: Not IT related, but on topic ...

        Approx 42 years ago the smug assistant manager of the small clothing factory that I worked at thought he would be clever; he sent me to the ironmongers where his (only) mate worked to ask for a long weight! I was a bit sharper than him and worked out what was going to happen......So I went home. When I got into work the next morning the Manager asked where was I the previous afternoon? I smiled and replied that the long wait that the assistant manager sent me to get lasted until home time. He never tried taking the piss again!

    2. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      Re: Not IT related, but on topic ...

      In the AirForce it's common to send the new guy out for some strong soap & a bucket of prop wash.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not IT related, but on topic ...

      Second time you posted that story here...

  3. Richard Jones 1
    WTF?

    The M Month Between April and June Must go

    That M word at least suggests sexual ambivalence and a possible route to another case.

  4. Huw D

    Damn. That kills my idea for a Java Advanced Script Object Notation.

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      A certain JavaScript data transfer format that's lighter weight than XML has some questions to answer as well...

      1. Jason Hindle

        JSON?

        For the avoidance of doubt, I’ve asked colleagues to refer to it as Norbert when discussing it within earshot of me!

        1. jake Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: JSON?

          I was wondering how long it would take ... :-)

          This round's on me, Jason.

        2. Wensleydale Cheese

          Re: JSON?

          "For the avoidance of doubt, I’ve asked colleagues to refer to it as Norbert when discussing it within earshot of me!"

          I once came across a Norbert on a course.[1]

          Things could get confusing pretty quickly if both of you met.

          [1] It's a Germanic name.

          1. Def Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: JSON?

            I once came across a Norbert on a course.

            I've heard about those sorts of courses. ;)

            On a side note, a good Hungarian friend of mine is called Norbert. I don't think he goes to many courses any more.

            1. Anonymous IV

              Re: JSON?

              > I once came across a Norbert on a course

              His Mediterranean friend would have been called Sorbet...

            2. Martin an gof Silver badge

              Re: JSON?

              Hungarian friend of mine is called Norbert

              But Norbert is Norwegian, not Hungarian.

              M.

              1. Adam 1 Silver badge

                Re: JSON?

                If he was really Hungarian, he would have been called personNorbert

              2. pstiles

                Re: JSON?

                cough

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nobby_Stiles

                no relation

        3. JimboSmith Silver badge

          Re: JSON?

          A colleague of mine was working somewhere else on secondment and encountered a boss who was a bit code word fanatic. He had called projects after obscure women's names so one was Noreen and another one Queenie etc. Then would book meeting rooms for the project under that name. The problem came when someone discovered a meeting room booked for "Noreen". After consulting the outlook diary for that room they read the description for the meeting "Discussing the potential security risks with Noreen." Seriously unhappy with this. The issue..... The person concerned was called Noreen and she didn't like being called a potential security risk. As a new starter she felt things were being stacked against her before she had a chance to settle in.

          1. Phil W

            Re: JSON?

            "she didn't like being called a potential security risk"

            She's clearly the kind of person who likes to take offense then. I would interpret "Discussing the potential security risks with Noreen." to mean having a conversation with someone called Noreen about potential security risks, not about potential security risks of someone called Noreen.

            Though if I were Noreen (which I'm not, except on the weekends) I'd be more confused as to why as a new starter someone wanted to discuss security risks with me.

            1. JimboSmith Silver badge

              Re: JSON?

              If you've just started a new job at a new company you might be forgiven for being slightly paranoid.

    2. Korev Silver badge
      Coat

      "Damn. That kills my idea for a Java Advanced Script Object Notation."

      Give it a REST...

  5. Korev Silver badge
    Coat

    Rewrite the calendar?

    I bet that task has a poor Outlook

  6. H in The Hague Silver badge

    Productivity slump ahead?

    "... we’re doing On-Call each day next week, complete with over 20 stories crammed into omnibus editions"

    So productivity in IT depts worldwide is going to nosedive next week?

    1. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble? Silver badge

      Re: Productivity slump ahead?

      It's the last week before the end of year vaguely religious festival related holiday break. Surely the productivity slump was a given anyway?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Productivity slump ahead?

      People are still working?

    3. Alistair Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Productivity slump ahead?

      @ H in:

      Round here the EOY Change freeze kicked in a week ago.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Productivity slump ahead?

        Meanwhile today we got a customer calling today wanting new software and hardware dispatching today, whilst it was still in config / test stage as was scheduled for deploy in Spring!

        AC obv

    4. Montreal Sean

      Re: Productivity slump ahead?

      Nosedive next week? It hasn't recovered from last year yet!

    5. ssharwood

      Re: Productivity slump ahead?

      As if anybody was going to be at their best next week anyway!

  7. Warm Braw Silver badge

    There are two name checks...

    ... he seems to have squeezed his mother in, too, between February and June.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: There are two name checks...

      His mom's name is April?

      1. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble? Silver badge

        Re: There are two name checks...

        Mam, but only in small corners of northern England. Everyone else says 'Mum'

        1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

          Re: There are two name checks...

          @Ramesesetc

          Mam, but only in small corners of northern England. Everyone else says 'Mum'

          And it's Mam in South Wales!

          And of course some say 'Mater' or at least Mummy. And there are pockets of 'Mum' and 'Ma'

          1. Tom 7 Silver badge

            Re: There are two name checks...pockets of 'Mum' and 'Ma'

            Is that like an inhouse cash machine for the bank of Mum and Dad?

          2. tiggity Silver badge

            Re: There are two name checks...

            Plus the royals.

            Given that teh queen is archaic protocol obsessed & makes royals bow / curtsy to each other, I doubt anyone is allowed to call her mum (its probably Maam, Your Majesty or similar)

            I'm imagining "Oh, you're that woman I occasionally saw when growing up on the few occasions the nannies were not looking after me" is unlikely to be how they address her

  8. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    Trollface

    Well...

    Did he fix it? We're all dying to know...

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Tigra 07 Silver badge

        Re: Well...

        Pleased to meet you Mtwtf, i'm JaFe MaApMaJuJu.

        I'm happy to announce you have won the Nigerian Lottery...

      2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: Well...

        After he changed it to MTWTF he was fired. After Tuesday the week said WTF?

        1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Well...

          And the week after that they sued him for the first three Excel column numbers "123" revealing their password...

      3. handleoclast
        Coat

        Re: Well...

        Yes, he changed his name from Jason to Mtwtf.

        That's actually a word in Welsh.¹ A very rude one!

        ¹You hear it a lot in Welsh pubs around chucking-out time. Example: Shglob mtwtf lwthyngwb.²

        ²The usual response is "Fuck off home, you're too pissed to talk."

        1. BoldMan

          Re: Well...

          Is the response to 'Shglob mtwtf lwthyngwb'

          Ia Ia Cthulhu fhtagn?

  9. RyokuMas Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Learn to read...

    I had a number of NHS clients in my first role, all of whom had their... let's say "eccentricities", for politeness' sake. But the one that springs to mind in this case were very twitchy and, apparently, had an aversion to reading...

    So we've installed an update to their system, and a couple of days later they call us saying that they are getting this "weird error message", can we please come and take a look. I say "okay, well can you tell me the actual message you're seeing - chances are we can fix this over the phone". No go - they weren't at their desk so they didn't have the exact message, can someone please come out...

    This exchange goes on for a while before my boss intervened, booked me into a hotel and told me to go take a look. So I have my night away (hotel was very nice, would have been great if not for the fucking seagull outside my window waking me up all night), and got on site the following morning.

    And the error message?

    "This report needs to make a complete scan of your archived data, and may require some time to run. Do you wish to proceed?"

  10. wolfetone Silver badge

    That wouldn't have happened in Turkmenistan or North Korea.

    1. iron Silver badge

      Gurpgork

  11. Nick Kew Silver badge

    Easy fix

    Switch the app's language settings to something where there's no JASON in the month names. For example, Italian would switch the J to an L.

    Or perhaps switch the font to some dingbats, in honour of the Client.

  12. W4YBO

    Masthead change

    I just noticed the seasonal masthead change. I like the snowvulture!

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Masthead change

      What? Where?....<scrolls up> holy shit, how did I miss that?

    2. Kiwi Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Masthead change

      I just noticed the seasonal masthead change. I like the snowvulture!

      Not too fond of it myself. Too many snowflakes in it...

  13. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    "So Jason went to do the job, which meant a long round trip to figure out what on earth the client meant."

    1) Jasons company is pretty shit at diagnostics and doesent know how speak "user" or how to cut through the rantings of the users by using terms like "screenshot" , or "remote control" , and is therefore pretty inefficient time and money wise.

    OR

    2) Jasons company was quite happy to go on a long and pointless jolly because the customer was paying for it at extortionate rates. I dislike this strategy not least because quite often its public money being pissed away to substandard suppliers, but because its just not efficient or fair to the customer.

    1. Ragarath

      @Prst. V.Jeltz

      So you have never had the situation where the customer would fail no, refuse to provide this? I have and I can tell you it is unpleasant.

      You cannot do diagnostics if you do not have the information to work with. Sometimes you have to make that trip.

      1. Chunky Munky
        Coat

        Re: @Prst. V.Jeltz

        Been there, had the conversation with the users (plural as I spoke to 3 of them). After asking the usual gamut of question including 'Is it turned on?' I still couldn't figure out why the users PC wasn't working (the fault call stated that the PC wasn't working but all the lights were on). Duly authorised to jump in the car and spend an hour driving across London, only to get to site and find... yup - the PC wasn't turned on! The lights that were on was the power light on the monitor

        Icon as I eventually took my coat and walked

        1. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

          Re: @Prst. V.Jeltz

          But... but...

          Films show that the monitor is the most important bit, if someone wants to destroy a computer they take a shotgun to the monitor and leave the base powered on with the HDD in place.

          (Obviously excluding the likes of the iMac or 80s compact Macs etc.)

        2. Martin an gof Silver badge

          Re: @Prst. V.Jeltz

          Duly authorised to jump in the car and spend an hour driving across London

          Not confined to computers of course. I had a similar one when working at a radio station. Back in the day, IRN (Independent Radio News) sent headlines over a satellite serial link direct to a dot-matrix in the newsroom, fed with a huge box of fanfold.

          The serial link was a little temperamental (particularly if the printer had gone offline for any reason and the buffer was full), but it usually "just worked".

          One Saturday morning I was bleeped out of my bed by the pager and rang in to find a panic-ridden reporter, the first in the newsroom that morning at maybe 5am, who needed to create news and sports headlines and bulletins but was looking at a printer that hadn't printed anything since about 6pm the night before.

          "Yes, the paper is in straight and hasn't jammed"

          "Yes, the power is on"

          "Yes, the 'on-line' light is on"

          "Yes, I have tried pressing the 'on-line' button"

          "No, there isn't a red warning light"

          "No, the light isn't flashing on the serial extender box"

          So I crawled out of bed and drove the 20 minutes into town (60 at rush hour), reasoning that for whatever reason, the serial link had gone to sleep again and just needed a gentle reboot. It was locked away in the racks room, to which nobody had access except us engineers - I was one of two.

          Nope, serial link seems ok.

          Trudge upstairs.

          Press "on line".

          Twelve feet of overnight news somehow magically appeared at my feet.

          Gave the hack a dirty look and returned to bed.

          Wasn't the first time I'd met this sort of thing, and it sure wasn't the last. (Some) people just panic in these situations and can't think straight. Computers just seem to make them even more prone to panic and cluelessness.

          Had a call on another Saturday when I was at the top of a local mountain, walking the dog. In the days of the printer problem above I had no mobile phone (the company wouldn't stump up for one and they were too expensive for me) so I had to stay within a couple of minutes of a landline. By now I had a mobile.

          I diagnosed the problem very quickly - one of the channels on the on-air desk was dead or dying - and suggested that if the presenter needed that piece of equipment (a reel-to-reel) urgently he could simply plug it into a different (spare) channel, and I'd fix the thing properly on Monday. This involved swivelling his chair 90 degrees, identifying the leads in the connection panel (they were marked) and moving them one slot to the right (or left or something).

          He flat out refused to do this and insisted I come in, which I did, bringing the dog as well, who proceeded to snuffle around the studio, under all the furniture, trying to make friends with the presenter, while I spent five seconds moving a couple of plugs and another ten seconds checking that the tape played properly in the new channel.

          One step worse was the on-air "talent" who called me at 11pm one evening to complain that "half the mixer isn't working". I discovered that the bloke on air before him had been celebrating his last live show with the station and tipped half a bottle of cider in the desk. Fortunately, that desk had a separate electronics pod (and a drainage hole right above the presenter's crotch) and all he'd managed to do was drown a few faders in sticky sugary drink. But he hadn't owned up and had handed over to the next guy who had then "soldiered on" with (IIRC) just one working microphone, one working CD player and some cart machines for maybe an hour before calling me.

          The obvious solution was to move him to the spare studio, a procedure which required pushing a couple of buttons to "offer" and "accept" the handover. It was quite literally next door, but he refused to move because it would mean packing up his bits and moving them too.

          Instead I dismantled the desk while he continued to present his show and washed half a dozen conductive plastic Penny & Giles faders under the kitchen tap. I think I saved all the resistance elements and just replaced a couple of the wipers.

          Sorry, must be the season for recounting ancient history.

          M.

          1. Stephen May

            Re: @Prst. V.Jeltz

            I know that system you refer to very well, did you have the old SEDAT crate, or was this in the TT1200 and PC demux days? I used to look after the processing gear just prior to transmission of the service :)

            1. Martin an gof Silver badge

              Re: @Prst. V.Jeltz

              did you have the old SEDAT crate

              Yup, that rings a bell. Dirty great 2m dish on the roof and the downlead was made of corrugated iron or something - a pig to re-terminate anyway. Also brought IRN audio and "network" for things like the Chart Show. If I remember correctly it was designed to do uplink too, but we never did.

              M.

          2. Wensleydale Cheese

            The stalled dot matrix printer

            "The serial link was a little temperamental (particularly if the printer had gone offline for any reason and the buffer was full), but it usually "just worked"."

            That reminds me of the dot matrix printer which spewed out packing lists for the warehouse.

            It mysteriously stopped one day and no amount of coaxing would bring it back to life. I could see from the console in the computer room that the program was trying to perform output. Killed that process, restarted it, no joy.

            In the end I plugged the printer serial line into a nearby VT52 and pressed CTRL/Q. Hey presto, the picking lists started "printing" to the VT52.

            Line noise must have generated a CTRL/S down the line to the CPU.

            It only happened two or three times in the next three years.

      2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: @Prst. V.Jeltz

        "So you have never had the situation where the customer would fail no, refuse to provide this? I have and I can tell you it is unpleasant.

        You cannot do diagnostics if you do not have the information to work with. Sometimes you have to make that trip."

        I picture says a thousand words - and actually being there says a thousand more. We all know its easier if you are there , but it just not justifiable , especially in these days of uVNC , teamviewer etc

        It is a skill ( and agonising ) to walk clueless users through things like checking a plug socket.

        In the jason example all that was required was a screengrab to be emailed.

        If your user refuses to do that ( or remote view) - then I guess they can pay for the time of an engineer's lengthy pointless trip out. Again , like I say , the only users I can see refusing to cooperate to that level of stubbornness are probably ones pissing away public money.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: @Prst. V.Jeltz

          Disagree, it's the ones who think they are too important to do the underlings' jobs for them, as in - give them information about error messages etc. You're the IT guy, you get over here an sort it. And then they move away from the PC ( which was probably not doing much of importance because the PA does all the stuff that matters. - Oh, and he won't have asked her to look at it either.)

        2. kain preacher Silver badge

          Re: @Prst. V.Jeltz

          Screen grab are you joking ?I'd say 20% of the people I've dealt could not do a screen grab

          1. Vincent Ballard
            Meh

            Screen grab

            Nowadays I mainly get photos taken with a phone and sent over WhatsApp.

      3. Tigra 07 Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: @Prst. V.Jeltz

        If you work with the public you can absolutely believe things like this happen. I've had people at work so thick I can't believe they are able to function. Some examples off the top of my head with my response in brackets:

        *"Won't all bumpers cost the same?" (Yes...Because obviously Ford and Ferrarri charge the same prices...)

        *Customer presents part upside down "This is wrong". (You're holding it upside down. "Oh".)

        *From yesterday - "My bill was £180, why are you charging me £220?" (You just added a part that costs £40. This went on for 25 minutes as i tried to teach him basic maths. Another person even joined in to help him)

        *Customer presents part for return and states that it "doesn't fit", then when I open the box to look quickly adds "Oh, we never opened the box!" (How did you try to fit it without opening the box? Or are you lying because you've broken it?)

        *"Do you sell parts for a blue car" (Loud headslapping sound followed by laughter)

        1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

          Re: @Prst. V.Jeltz

          @Tigra 07

          *"Do you sell parts for a blue car" (Loud headslapping sound followed by laughter)

          Shirley not so silly if it's one of those colour-co-ordinated parts - wing mirrors, bumpers etc? But I suppose they should have specified the shade of blue.

          1. Tigra 07 Silver badge

            Re: Pen-y-gors

            Nothing new comes in paint, due to cars fading over time. It also makes it impossible and very expensive to sell a part to someone with a red car if you only have 15 green and blue ones in stock.

            Even dealerships won't stock partss in colour, they'll just offer to paint them at a cost when you buy them.

            1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

              Re: Pen-y-gors

              wow 23 downvotes for suggesting Jason wasted his time .

              Look. At the end of the day there was absolutely nothing wrong with the system - if that doesent warrnat not driving out there i dont know what does.

              Also who the hell sets up a remote customer with no way of logging in remotely to lsee what the uysers are blabbering about?

              1. Kiwi Silver badge
                Pint

                Re: Pen-y-gors

                if that doesent warrnat not driving out there i dont know what does.

                By doing the arduous task of RTFA, I have discovered the answer to your question. It seems that after repeated attempts by people to assure the customer that things were fine, the customer still insisted that there was an issue and thus Jason had to take the trip to see what the hell they were on about. Getting actual information out of clients can be bloody difficult. Those of us who've done phone support will be saying things like "it's the bright red flashing button the fills the entire bottom half of your screen" while the client says "I don't see anything like that on the TV that's across the road that I can see out of my window". Getting users to look in the right place at the right time is like using mice to herd cats (doable, but there's a lot of violence involved). Getting them to explain what they mean by "It's the thing that comes up on the thing when you click the other thing" is seldom able to be achieved. There's a reason that illegal drugs and computers are the only industries that call them "users".

                Also who the hell sets up a remote customer with no way of logging in remotely to lsee what the uysers are blabbering about?

                Not all customers are retail firms. (some need higher levels of security - a dentist's office might have those icky "patient confidentiality" laws to consider)

                Given the "Microsoft Internet Security Team" etc scams, not all customers are willing to trust remote control software (some have other reasons where they don't allow it).

                There have been many customers who existed BEFORE the age of high-speed internet. Remote control over dialup was a pain beyond belief (some customers even existed before electricity.

            2. Kiwi Silver badge
              Thumb Up

              Re: Pen-y-gors

              Nothing new comes in paint, due to cars fading over time. It also makes it impossible and very expensive to sell a part to someone with a red car if you only have 15 green and blue ones in stock.

              Even dealerships won't stock partss in colour, they'll just offer to paint them at a cost when you buy them.

              Wow! You're quite lucky over there!

              Here, stuff comes painted to the original paint code. If your car has faded, well tough. (at least, last time I brought new parts for a new-ish car). Would be nice to get them to do that!

              That said, some of the people in our parts shops would have trouble adding 1 and 2 consistently, let alone getting you the right part for the right model, let alone doing a decent job of painting it.

            3. Martin an gof Silver badge

              Re: Pen-y-gors

              Even dealerships won't stock partss in colour

              Many plastic parts are made to a colour, not painted after sale. They may not stock it, and if you want one you'll have to order the correct colour. I needed to buy a new wing mirror for my car a few years ago after some local yobs had wrenched it off in the middle of the night (yes, I woke up and saw them doing it). The actual structural part with the motors and everything was quite expensive, but it's fortunate they hadn't damaged the coloured shell which clips on to the main part - not only would I have had to wait a week or more for one to be delivered, it would have (IIRC) cost about the same amount of money.

              Dismantling that door to get at the attachments wasn't fun either - sound deadening was provided by a glued-on foam sheet, which it was impossible to remove without damaging. The door makes a different sound to the others to this day!

              M.

              1. Tigra 07 Silver badge

                Re: Martin an gof

                Not from my experience. I sell to dealerships occasionally.

                All the manufacturers produce parts unpainted. This is to prevent damage or fading. Our stock will turn up either black or primed. The customer then gets it painted at a garage to match their vehicle.

                No one produces painted parts for the reason that packaging immediately adds more to the cost and we have to stock about 5 different colours at a much higher cost.

                This way we can buy 15 bumpers, sell them for £50 a bumper. And the customer can get them painted for somewhere around £100 and the colour matched.

                If they turn up painted they'll cost around £100+ and then even more to be painted in the correct shade since the original colour has to be taken off, and they'll have to be reprimed.

                The only part i've ever had painted in all these years is Tigra bumpers and they sold them us in blue only (which is stupid because most of them are gloss black). They ended up being around £400 each + VAT, which meant we only sold the one and they got returned to manufacturer after 6 months since they were gathering dust (and they would be even harder to sell if they didn't match the original shade).

                Your experience may differ, but even the biggest seller in Europe (Euro Car Parts) doesn't offer painted parts for the same reasons. Anyone offering painted parts is selling second-hand usually.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @Prst. V.Jeltz

          We also had the "holding it up side down". Problem was, this was for a phone. Not a mobile, a house phone. One the customer purchased because it was exactly like the old one. One they saw in store. And one they refused to talk through with us without us going in person to check the £15 purchase was not totally us winding them up with fake equipment.

          Well, it was either that the customer was holding it upside down, or that was the cover story when our assistant manager went to visit them and needed an excuse for why it took so long hiding the body...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've named servers on behalf of customers with my own choice of names. If you don't give a proper spec your getting mythical creatures, Star Trek ships or my departed pet's names etc. Got asked once who David and Goliath were any why they had network shares

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Once upon a time we were allowed to name our own systems, so I chose Orinoco (after the Womble that sat on top of my monitor).

      For some reason the policy changed and I was told I could no longer use that name, but instead the new policy was that all systems had to be named after rivers. So I changed it to Orinoco :)

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        We had a server named Dylan, intending the others to be named Hendrix, Clapton, etc.

        Someone slightly less cultured came in and named the next one Zebedee

        1. jake Silver badge

          Look on the bright side.

          The next server could have been named "Alun" (Lewis) or Harri (Webb).

          One wonders at the make/model of the computer named Mr. Rusty ...

          Note that the Dylan character in TMR was named after Robert Allen Zimmerman ...

    2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      ah the good old days. Cant do that anymore . Numbers and letters these days. Best you can do is not get too carried away with your letters convention and remember enough leading zeros.

      Not that they ever let me decide shit like that...

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "ah the good old days. Cant do that anymore"

        You still can if you own the company. Calling themselves Mythic Beasts gave the company the ability to name their servers after mythical beasts.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Was half expecting it to be an error about validating JSON or some such.

    I remember getting a worried call from a new mac user who thought someone was messing with their machine. It was coming up in their 3rd party screensaver text 'usernames-ma' .

    'Ma' is Irish (all island) for 'mother', and is typically used in 'your mom' type of abusive banter, hence they thought someone had played a prank.

    It actually turned out that it was trying to display the machine name 'usernames-mac' but this particular screensaver had a text limit of machinename.length-1 .....

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Every day next week is awesome! I'm still at work and it's going to be deadly quiet.

  17. John H Woods
    Coat

    I don't like JASON

    I like to keep my colleagues guessing by using the non-ambiguous single letter names for the months I learned in financial services: FGH JKM NQU VXZ; I feel it's wasteful to use 3 letters or two digits for just 12 months (and nobody seems to like 123456789ABC). Works nicely with the last digit of the year - this month is 7Z and next month is 8F.

    I also prefer MTWRFSU for days because 1-7 has been totally ruined by the idiots who think the week starts on Sunday.

    I'd better just grab the flak jacket.

    1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: I don't like JASON

      So, midweek football is on Thursday? Along with Radio 4's Midweek, and Midweek Motor Sport, the Midweek Cricket League, and is Mittwoch in German.

    2. Jason Hindle

      Re: I don't like JASON

      What? You’ve never even met me?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I call BS

    No one would be that stupid.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I call BS

      You must never get out much. Or use a mirror.

    2. kain preacher Silver badge

      Re: I call BS

      When it came to repairs/trouble shooting I was told this. If it can be done , some were some how a customer has done it. Some times when doing help desk logic has to be tossed other wise your brain will fry on how some customers do what they do. I had a customer that decided that he was going to make no ecc memory fit in an ECC socket only by physically modifying it. you also have those folks that only learn by doing. Fire is hot you will hurt yourself. Well how do I know if I never touch it ?

  19. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Coat

    I am surprised ...

    Nobody asked: "Is it safe?"

    I'll get me coat

  20. Stratman

    In my wage slave days I used to work as an outside broadcast engineer for a world famous broadcasting corporation based in Britain. An upstart satellite company used to pitch up at sport events and ask for a feed of the core coverage and 'black and burst', a video timing reference signal which as its name implies consisted of sync pulses, a colour burst and black. Plug it in to a monitor and you got a black screen. We gave him a couple of video leads with the signals and off he went.

    Just as we went on air he came into our truck and reported "There's pictures on the reference wire and nuffink on the pictures one".

    True story, it happened to me. Not a mate's mate but actually to me.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I don't get it

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I don't get it

        He was holding them wrong. The wrong way round.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          No cos he swapped both ends and they were still wrong

    2. Martin an gof Silver badge

      (re: ob)

      The very first OB I did for the radio station was for the launch of the National Lottery. Bearing in mind I'd been in the job about six weeks at this point, I was slightly amused to turn up on site to see the head and shoulders of a BT engineer emerge from a manhole and proffer me a (slightly) twisted pair with the ends bared.

      "There's your line".

      Of course, this was before digital lines, ISDN etc. It was (IIRC) something called an "EPS85", which was an 8kHz analogue line back to the exchange, where another engineer jumpered it to the line going to our studio. This was also in the days when we had the phone numbers for the exchange racks rooms and could call the phone nearest the place where our lines terminated to get the attention of the on-site engineer.

      Screwed the pair into our "connect anything to anything" box, plugged that into the mixer, and within a few minutes we were on air. Simpler times.

      Helped the local station do an OB from the museum I now work at a few months ago. They were panicing because they couldn't get a good enough WiFi connection for their email to work on one laptop, and the other laptop - which was supposed to be able to remote-control the playout system - wouldn't see the network at all. So many people in the area that 3G and 4G were out of the question. Fortunately they were doing audio via ISDN.

      Them upstairs keep trying to take my ISDN off me, but they can pry it from my cold dead hands :-)

      M.

  21. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    I remember an airline system I worked on that displayed columns of data, with headings. One was Checked baggage (CK) and the other was something like Fuel (FU). We never did understand why customers hadn't complained about columns headed FU CK. Maybe our minds were more twisted?

  22. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Happy

    New calendar..

    This is what you do:

    Every year's calendar should be only 11 months long. We can make up the missing days by extending weekends on the remaining months. Each year a different month is omitted. Eg. the the year this is implemented we don't have January. Next year no February, but January is back, the 3rd year no March, etc.

    This can have many benefits:

    -Longer weeks means an extra day off for most people. For people that have to work, more opportunity for overtime pay. People on salary will see their average pay per check rise, as there are less months to be paid.

    -Every 12 years you have one less birthday, so you don't age quite as fast.

    -Every 12 years there is no tax day. Yay! no taxes for that year.

    -No Christmas on the 12th year--mixed feelings about this, but Christmas is over hyped anyway.

    -COBOL programmers will have more to do :)

    Of course this could be confusing for many, but most people seem a bit confused anyway, myself included a lot of days, so this shouldn't be much worse than normal. And the astrologers won't be happy.

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: New calendar..

      Fewer

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: New calendar..

        As you get older birthdays definitely become lesser.

        When I was 5 or 6 they were awesome, they were OK in your teens, in your 40s they are meh.....

        1. Martin
          Happy

          Re: New calendar..

          Speak for yourself re birthdays. I'm 63 next year, and I still enjoy my birthday as much as ever.

          We have a concept of "birthday powers" in our family - on your birthday, what you say goes. And we always start our birthdays the evening before, so they last for about 30 hours.

          Birthdays are great.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is the expand button part of the furniture?

    I once had a VIP demand that I remove the expand/collapse + icon from Outlook because he'd accidentally clicked it, collapsing his email, and when I explained he could "get his email back" by clicking it again he yelled at me that this was "an extra step" that he didn't have time for and demanded that I redesign Outlook without this option included. Luckily his PA intervened before I could kill him...

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: Is the expand button part of the furniture?

      Wasn't that in an On-Call previously?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is the expand button part of the furniture?

      the correct response should have been "FUCK OFF"

  24. handleoclast

    Luckily his PA intervened before I could kill him...

    He/she killed him for you?

  25. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

    Hmmm

    I guessed this was going to be a story about data serialisation formats. I was going to suggest my mate Yamal to do the necessary rewrites...

  26. Mark Eccleston

    Just change their calendar order...

    ..to alphabetical: AADFJJJMMNOS

    It might take them some time to get the hang of it, but problem solved.

  27. Bucky 2
    Facepalm

    Everything old is new again

    The links in the story have all gone dead, but it's still a fun article, and apropos:

    Oklahoma city threatens to call FBI over 'renegade' Linux maker

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Everything old is new again

      that's the sort of thing our halfwit of an operations director would do. He sticks his unwanted oar in to IT matters that he knows feck all about and just manages to make himself look like the biggest Computer User Non-Technical going

  28. OffBeatMammal
    Coat

    showing my age, but back in the mists of time there was a comic called Nova which featured the death of Ralph Rider (the costumed hero's uncle) at the hands of a villain called Jason Dean. Nova (working with Spiderman) realized the pages from the calendar next to the dead uncle, showing just July-December were a message from the dying man...

    (why can I remember this, but not useful stuff?!)

  29. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    Bring back Thermidor, Fructidor, Germinal etc. !

  30. technoise

    Why not change to the French Revolutionary Calendar? Or a Japanese one?

    1. handleoclast

      Lobster Brumiaire

      @technoise

      Why not change to the French Revolutionary Calendar?

      You mean as suggested by Anthony Hegedus in a post he made five hours before yours? The one, at the time I write this, immediately above yours?

      What puzzles me is why the French named a month after Birmingham's air. Because it was foggy in Birmingham?

  31. ecofeco Silver badge

    You really have to wonder

    You really have to wonder how some people hold jobs.

    1. Kiwi Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: You really have to wonder

      You really have to wonder how some people hold jobs.

      If he's not working right they're probably holding him wrong.

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