* Posts by Neil Harland

6 posts • joined 15 Apr 2009

GDS gets it in the neck from MPs over Rural Payments Agency farce

Neil Harland

This might be forgivable but it is not a 'one off'

I fix computers as well as being a farmer, so I see this from both ends. However, this is not the first snafu from DEFRA / RPA. They are still clearing up the mess from 2005 when systems were changed. Two weeks ago George Eustice, (A DEFRA Minister), blamed farmers in a speech at a conference for the delay in payments. Firstly then he should retract his comments and apologise to Farmers at least. Secondly I agree with a previous comment here that the recruitment policies in the GDS and the RPA are clearly not working as these highly paid civil servants are costing the tax payer, (You and me), large amounts of money not only in their inflated wages but also EU fines for non compliance. In any other job they would have been given their cards by now. Personally I wouldn't put them in charge of a yard brush.

Unfortunately as a mobile IT tech in a rural Less Favoured Area I saw this slow train crash happening right from the inception, as there are some farms around me still struggle to get dial up speeds. However the politicos aren't short of blame as the rules were still changing one week before the initial cut off date for the BPS applications. How could a digital only application be expected to roll out with these timelines?

Total farce. Sadly though I can't see it getting any better if we leave the EU as this has been a purely British 'own goal'.

More UK broadband for bumpkins, but have-nots still ain’t happy

Neil Harland

Failure on a practical but also a political level

Yes having promised 2 Mbps to 90% of the population, (Think about it, if you did an analysis where does 90% of the population live? - You do the maths), they have failed to hit this target, despite money that was supposed to help 'the final mile' being used in our county to upgrade cabinets in market towns (who were already enjoying 'fast' broadband), so that they could enjoy 'superfast' broadband. BT loved it because there were lots of customers there and the politician's loved it because there was lots of voters there. Meantime out in the rural hinterland we are still awaiting the serious 'backhaul' to arrive.

The only politico that seemed to suss this out was Patricia Hodge, but she had little clout as she was 'on the wrong side'. Sorry if all this sounds negative, but it's the way it has been on my patch.

Gov.uk's broadband boast: Superfast fibre piped to 1 million Brits

Neil Harland

Easy statistics

Yes, easy for the minister to push this load of statistics out, when they have used the money that was meant to help the 'final mile' of hard to reach rural communities, which will not assist many voters / customers, (Depending upon which viewpoint you are taking), when actually what has happened to that money is that it has been mostly used to upgrade cabinets in rural market towns so that they now have 'superfast' broadband as opposed to 'fast' broadband. Coincidentally this has pleased many more voters / customers. The best that we have been offered around here after giving our time for nothing to assist with their research, is that we will be offered a new technology, (Fibre to the Node), that 'may or may not' achieve the outcomes desired.

MPs attack BT's 'monopolistic' grip on gov-subsidised £1.2bn rural broadband rollout

Neil Harland

The scene from the ground

The situation in North Yorkshire is that several people were asked to create a steering group to oversee the rollout of broadband to our remote area. We gave up our time for free and now we find that the money (which was earmarked for getting broadband to hard to reach areas), has been used to upgrade 'fast' cabinets in market towns to 'superfast cabinets'. We, on the other hand, must wait for funding plus the correct testing and operation of fibre to the node, wireless, or satellite (Yeah right)

Margaret Hodge is right to give these people a grilling as they have used the money to tick the easiest boxes, (Some market towns are classed as 'rural').

Tell me why should I give up my time for nothing when they roll over us like this?

Considering all the other stuff we are losing in the countryside due to 'efficiency savings', (public transport, post offices, schools, healthcare services, to name a few), I think it's time all utilities should be re-privatised as Thatcher's free market experiment does not work for us.

Oprah Winfrey too late to save Microsoft's Windows 8

Neil Harland

Dog's Dinner anyone, (Goes well with turkey)

Having used Windows 8 for a couple of weeks, I am still waiting to be impressed. The navigation is very bad indeed. No breadcrumbs, we just have to move our mouse around and wildly click to find things. I'd be embarrassed serving up something so bad. If this was a website it would sink into obscurity quite fast. I think Microsoft made the mistake of releasing a tablet touch screen OS, (and not a particularly good one at that), onto the PC market. They should have just carried on improving Win 7 and left Windows 8 for Surface.

Methinks corporate and Enterprise customers will vote with their feet on this one and provide Microsoft with the padding they so richly deserve.

Farmers furious at EU's sheep-chip scheme

Neil Harland
Paris Hilton

More EU nonsense

Yet one more reason why we should leave the Brussells gravy train whenever we get the chance to vote on it, (As promised by the Labour Party - So much for democracy then).

I'm a hill farmer who farms sheep and also fettles computers and networks when they fall over. The only reason this was pushed through was the fact that there are not too many sheep keeping nations in the EU club, and the UK has by far the largest sheep flock in that club. From what I am told the only nations that pushed this nonsense through were the ones who do not have much of a sheep flock and therefore couldn't give a flying lamb chop about the practicalities of recording all the information during lambing time when sleep is at a premium as it is. So much for democracy then.

The sad fact about about all this nonsense is that it will not actually provide any better traceability than we presently have. Sheep eartags are not the most reliable of things for remaining on a sheep's ear. I reckon on a 5% loss rate. Boluses are not the most reliable of things to be electronically read. The electronic equipment to do this will be expensive because of the harsh environment it will have to work in, (Wind, rain, clarts, and farmer's hands). Have you checked out the price of 'tuff' laptop lately?

I'm with Bassey over this one. Let some of those F*ckwits who dream up this legislation come and 'assist' me to do half the work I do at lambing time and we'd never see the like again.

Paris - because she could figure out a simpler system.

Neil Harland


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