I wonder how much it would have cost, other than the Boss's bonus, to have undertaken proper testing of the system before release. A safe rollback escape route would have been useful too. Probably less than £330 Million.
278 posts • joined 7 Apr 2008
So, the development teams had done good work and software testing was on schedule. However to run the new system, we'd need a new fault tolerant "mainframe", so my boss and I hegotiated a good deal on price and delivery date. Shortly after the deal was signed, the Finance Director walks into my office and "sadly" announces that the IT Director (my boss) has left the company with immediate effect, but not too worry because they had a shortlist of propective candidate. A mysterious hand materialised behind his head and started to write on my office whiteboard. "... it won't be you..."
Being a professional I warned my deputy that my life expectancy in my role was limited and started to tidy my paperwork so he wouldn't be left in the lurch. Part of the tidying was to pass the mainframe contract negotiation paperwork to the FD's deputy at his request. About four weeks later the new IT Director had arrived and I was gone two weeks later. The new boy made it very plain I was not wanted and handed over a departure package.
Four months later I had a grovelling call from the IT Director; "Did I know where the contract documentation for the mainframe had gone?" This discount was worth about four times my departure package. My reply: "I gave you the keys to the files cabinet at my departure interview, but you could talk to Finance." I understand, in the absence of documentary proof, the eventual terms from the manufacturer were far less generous.
When you had halon in a room you were supposed to have a venting/extraction system to clear it after a release. I saw a novel approach to this on a seventh floor equipment room, the room had never been pressure/leak tested. We suggested to the client it was needed. On testing we discovered the halon would have vented down the adjoining lift (elevator) shaft if there'd been a release.
I used to build trading floors, including the provision of networks. If the client specified a fibre network and I had a hybrid fibre/copper network installed, I could guess the reaction. My clients would have sued my company.
Having copper for the "final half-mile" is not a fibre circuit. The ASA has had professionals telling them they are wrong for the past decade or so. Like all bureaucracies, they get stubborn when they know they are in the wrong.
To own a .co.uk or .uk domain you should of course be a person domiciled in the UK or a business registered in the UK. In future this will help us distinguish EU companies masquerading as a UK company. To be honest once we've left the EU, why would anyone in the UK want a .eu domain other than for nostalgia. It's a bit like wanting a .zw domain.
He should have gone to court to argue his case. The judge could have then turned around and said, if you'd come here five years ago I would have said what I'm about to say now. "Bail is cancelled. You are free to go. By the way your Visa has expired, so leave the country."
Capita help government bodies "save" on pension commitments to Civil Servants. Capita then try to run the service using staff who've been motivated by abandonment, with leadership from process driven management. Along the line Capita extracts a profit for their shareholders on a service priced lower than the original service.
You end up with the lowest cost workforce with no loyalty to the "customer" whose motivation is meeting short term internal Capita targets. To plaster over the cracks in service Capita wheel out Relationship Managers whose task is to reduce client complaint to an acceptable level.
Small wonder that the GP private partnerships are discovering a few service gaps.
I was turfed out of permanent employment in the Financial Sector IT world in London as a consequence of grey hair disability at the grand old age of 52. The message from the recruitment agencies was "don't bother trying for a new job. You are too old.". So I set up my own company and within six months was charging the financial businesses twice as much per hour as they used to pay me in permanent employment, plus there were no on-call responsibilities. "You need me to work extra hours to meet a dumb deadline date? No problem. Sign here..."
Ofcom should issue "guidance" to the Advertising Standards Agency and the telcoms companies. To the effect, in any advertising:
Up to 30 mbps should be described as "Basic Broadband"
Above 100 mbps should be described as "Premium Broadband"
Above 1 gbps should be described as "Fast Broadband"
Fuel in the basement, generators on the roof? Fuel leak during testing? I was working in a large white riverside building at the north end of London Bridge when precisely that type of event happened. The London Fire Brigade were not impressed when traders refused to leave their diesel soaked trading desks because there were outstanding trades to be closed.
"Look, I know we fired you just before Christmas, but it wasn't personal."
"Please come back, just for the weekend and help us get running again."
"We'd pay you loads of money if you'd help. Just this once."
"Send me a Christmas card, I might help then. Meanwhile why don't you phone India."
BT executives took the crazy decision to attempt to turn a communications company into a broadcast media company. It wasn't what the customers, the British Public, wanted as a service or needs long term. As a consequence investment in new infrastructure was focused on a latency insensitive asymmetric broadcast network. It's not useful for voice communications nor the Internet of Things, just music and video downloads. The money spent on FTTC gives a short term advantage, but is a technology cul de sac. It is in effect, wasted money when BT should providing a fast symmetric low latency network. Along the way it should be bringing its neglected ducting into a good operation state.
Sadly it needs Government (OFCOM) intervention to force BT to do the right thing. Apportioning the cost of maintaining the edifice should be shared amongst the tenants, but that is just a matter of billing.
I turn down contracts where the client wants to treat me like an employee in terms of fixed hours, sitting at their desk and consequently exposing me to IR35 nonsense. If they want me and my skills they have to pay consultancy rates and I work from my own office.
If clients expose a contractor to IR35 they should also be directly contributing to the contractor's pension pot and provide employee insurance.
The great thing about the subscription model is that you can cancel at short notice. If you have users who don't use their product or only lightly use a subscription it may be worth cancelling those subscriptions.
In our case we're going to cancel the subscriptions on old PCs which we rarely use. The net effect we'll pay a lot less to the Adobe coffers. IT Managers should be sure to present an extra bill for internal services to their users showing clearly the impact of the Adobe price increase. In that way the user management can assess whether the Adobe products are value for money.
As an old fogey with failing eyesight, but not on a pension, the UK Government has lifted my driving licence. My passport has expired, so I'm a bit "off the Grid". So if I want to have a coffee in the local Starbucks and browse my droid tablet will I be thrown out onto the pavement (sidewalk)?
As an IT Manager I'd negotiated a big discount on some hardware circa £85K, but almost immediately afterwards a new IT Director came in to the company. The signs were obvious, I was not invited to some meetings etc etc so I cleared my desk of personal stuff, sorted out outstanding admin issues and waited for the call. Sure enough within a week I was out with a redundancy settlement and a don't contact the staff agreement. Three months later I had a grovelling call from the new IT Director "...could I give details of the discount agreement?"
I had the pleasure of telling him that as requested, I'd mailed it to the Finance Department as I left my desk to go to the redundancy meeting. My spies told me the Finance Department denied all knowledge.
Pretty much all of the quotes were for old style leased lines, costing circa £450/month with a 2 - 5 year contract. The £3000 would be absorbed for "installation" costs leading to a minimum expenditure by the small business of £17,500.
It wasn't FTTP, nor did it sponsor new technology at the exchange.
Hopefully the new CEO at OpenReach will actually understand terms like latency then we might get some proper investment in the UK comms infrastructure.
So the success is the grant money has been spent, but I doubt whether UK Ltd got value for money.
When we pay the ISP for the Internet connection we are used to seeing VAT added to the bill. The ISPs should be open and honest about this and add a line to each invoice showing the cost of the Spy Tax for each subscriber.
Note: you will of course be paying additional VAT on the Spy Tax.
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