* Posts by scott 30

15 posts • joined 24 Mar 2010

Tech contractors begin mass UK.gov exodus in wake of HMRC's IR35 income tax clampdown

scott 30

UK Govt already planning on more overseas workers


Here in Belgium, bPost is ditching 200-300 local contractors and off to India - citing they can't find locals to fill the needs. That's utter BS of course, but the combined effect of higher/more aggressive taxation + diminishing pool of decent contracts isn't a problem just in the UK.

I've genuinely given up. Our Govts are too stupid, too broke (financially and morally), too short-sighted and lacking even a modest amount of strategic thinking.

British Army Brigade 77 doesn't have enough recruits. I wonder why.

Instead of encouraging and promoting a sector that desperately needs protection - or at least a break - our Govts are hell bent on running IT contracting even further into the ground.

I sometimes have young, talented locals asking me if they should go into contracting - me being a gnarly old hand with over 15 years in the game. I strongly encourage them not to. I'm just biding my time until certain heavy purchases have depreciated then I'm back to being a reluctant and demotivated lunch-box.

Retina MacBook Pro nukes Apple's green credentials

scott 30

Apple *currently* say they'll charge $200 USD (so probably 200 eur+) for a battery swap-out. If you've followed the tactics of the company, you'll know fine well that "upgrade/maintenance" costs go up prohibitively once said product falls off their radar.

Try buying a genuine version of the last OS which you can put on a PowerPC, e.g my late 2005 mac mini. Over 120 euro for Snow Leopard. The upgrade to Lion cost 29 euro, *if* your hardware supported it.

BTW - for all those muppets saying they're happy to send their laptop off to the vendor for a swap-out, think of those of us who actually run their business from their mac. Last time I had to replace the battery on my MBP, it took me all of 5 seconds once I'd gotten the new one in the post. The expense and down-time of travelling to an Apple reseller, then not having my main system for something as trivial as a battery swap means I'll no longer be buying Apple.

Apple 15in MacBook Pro with Retina Display

scott 30

Re: One last thing. If we must adapt..

I stand corrected - it is an expensive "active" cable. The Toms Hardware article + others have now brought me up to speed (10gb/s dual channel in this case).

The masses will quite rightly compare it to USB3, and balk. It's an interesting technology - much like the Firewire800 on the back of my iMac - which will never actually be used at that spec. At least with that I can use with the small amount of FW400 devices I have (Sony DV Cam, FW external enclosure).

I'd ask "what are Intel/Apple *thinking*" - but now I've done enough reading, and I think they're setting themselves up for another niche technology. I could be wrong, but unless Intel can get the OEM + retail price down to something palatable (unlikely) - and open up the technology so even the mighty Belkin can get to play (unlikely) - then Thunderbolt will thenceforth be referred to as Thunderpants.

Active TB cable isn't a clever technology - it's a cludgy Intel work-around.

scott 30

Re: One last thing. If we must adapt..

Sorry, at that price bracket for the laptop it should be included in the box.

No way on earth it costs them 25p, let alone £25 to make the cable.

I like Apple products, but it's that lack of respect for their clients that genuinely gnaws on my gonads.

I think I'll wander into my local Apple reseller and say I'll buy one, if they provide the cable for free.

scott 30

Re: iFixit teardown

Shocking. I've been waiting about 9 months for the new MPB Pro to arrive - now I'm going to seriously reconsider. I have one of the first 2000 original Intel MPB, it has 2gb hard wired - and that it *is* annoying. Still, I run my business from it and am continually impressed that it doesn't look or feel like a 6 yr old laptop.

It is, however, on it's 2nd Magsafe adapter - the first one broke at the mag plug, needing a whole new adapter when it simply needed a plug/cable replacement. I got a 3rd party copy for less than half the Apple price.

It is also on it's 2nd battery - which is more worrying. The main reason I use Mac for my business is that I can be sure that in 5 years time I'll still be running the same installation of the OS with the same profile. That's no blinking use to me if in 2 years time I have to secure-wipe it before handing it over to the less than competent repair facility we have here in Belgium. My co-director went over 8 weeks without her 2009 MBP because it had the infamous graphics card fault.

PGP founder, Navy SEALs uncloak encrypted comms biz

scott 30

Re: Hushmail anyone?

Funnily enough, I was trying to remember the name of that!

I'll check what Cryptome has to say about this (via TOR obviously)

How politicians could end droughts forever But they don't want to

scott 30

Re: Blame Thatcher

Actually, no "we" didn't. I was 9 when she came to power. My parents - and the vast majority of people in Scotland and other areas of the UK - didn't vote for her either.

Still - everyone in the UK continues to pay for the idiotic concept that critical civil infrastructure is "more efficiently run" by the private sector. Surely this myth has been well and truly busted? Sure, some people in the 70s voted for that shopkeeper's daughter - but how many of them would have been even remotely aware of the whole privatization angle and it's probably consequences?

The British sheeple have been sold down the river, and are up a creek with a paddle on this though. How laughable is it that a wet island like the UK - and not that long ago the epitome of 1st world technology - can't even keep the taps running, which if I remember my high school geography was one of the defining criteria for a "civilized 1st world" country. I'm just glad I left!

Apple was OK to fire man for private Facebook comments

scott 30

Yes Dominus? Err, no - go f*ck yourselves Apple

So Mr Wood, if you worked in the public sector - you'd accept you couldn't say anything that is construed as negative against your employer if they'd put that in an employment contract?

Please consider very carefully how you answer that one. Don't even try the "ah, it's different" cop-out - it's not. An employment contract isn't slavery,and Facebook isn't CNN or a full page in the Times.

It would be different if the employee had stood up at Keynote with a banner saying "Iphones are sh1t, and Apple supports child slavery", and it was reported worldwide.

This employee had the expectation that his comments were within the "walled garden" (TM Apple Corp) of his private social forum comments. It doesn't matter what Apple says, if he explicitly declared a conversation to be private - and the actual audience is shown to be limited to a very small number of people, then it's clearly not disparaging or damaging to the brand.

Cut a long rant short - either Facebook should be sued for breach of privacy/Data Protection, and the rat should be sued for breach of copyright.

Here was me going out to buy a MacBook Pro this weekend. F*ck em, I want to hear what this guy said first. Does anyone know?

Judge cracks down on Bayesian stats dodginess in court

scott 30

Probability says that 50% of the jury will be at or below average intelligence anyway. Need anything else be said?

Mac OS X 10.6.8 hails from Paleolithic era

scott 30
Thumb Down

Please stop

I do not like the AppStore update one little bit.

Even in this day and age, I often download major OS updates and store them offline.

If I lose a machine, I want to get it up fast (due to having 2 kids, my geektime is very limited) - and there's never any guarantee my internet connection is going to be good.

Not to mention the fact I have limited bandwidth, and if I need to retry and install 3 or 4 times (yes, it happens) - then why the f*ck would I want to waste time and money pulling a large automagic update?

Oh, I should mention my shiny 27" iMac lost bluetooth after the last update. Revert to USB antiques and an eventual reset of the SMC fixed it.

A sysadmin's top ten tales of woe

scott 30

On Error Resume Panic

During my stint managing the desktop park for a household name (around 60k XP boxes in Europe, 200k worldwide...) me and my team managed to shoot down a fair few kamikaze runs. Nothing was allowed to be distributed without going through us first, and we did a pretty good job.

One minor Achilles Heel was that the high gods in the Engineering team could (but shouldn't) change the login script unannounced. Sure enough, one morning I came into a sea of white faces. The incident management team were getting hundreds of calls a minute. Everyone had a VBS error on their screen, which couldn't be cancelled and blocked the login dialog.

4 simple little words had been commented out on part of the script "ON ERROR RESUME NEXT". A bad reference to a share had caused the untrapped script to throw it's toys out the pram, and meant millions of dollars of downtime.

More recently, a heavyweight banking client of mine had an unplanned data center swap during trading hours - causing billions of dollars of transactions to be frozen (~2 hours from event to complete restore of service in another DC) . The CEO was called to the Regulators to explain how such a thing happened, and what was put in place to prevent it ever happening again. Old Murphy was on fine form that day when he got one of the SAN guys to dismount the live storage rather than redundant at exactly the time the CEO was giving his presentation. Queue automated failover, and all the local bars suddenly getting a rush of mid-afternoon customers.

Funnily enough, we'd all voiced our concerns to the fancy suit wearing US IT Consultant (Mc something...) that reducing overtime costs by doing infra maintenance during business hours was a baaaad idea. Who ever listens to the people doing the job though. McSomething and the CEO are still here, but the poor tech who thought he was working on X when he was actually on Y didn't fare so well...

scott 30


Tales from the Crypt of 15 years in the IT world.

1. A certain global company had 3 operations centres. I worked in the EMEA one. The server room had lovely UPS rated for a couple of hours and was hooked up to an external generator.

When the local utility company sawed through the mains for a laugh, everything went A-OK. When it became obvious the generator would be needed, it was spooled up, but it required someone to be physically in the server room to let the juice from the generator in (a security feature apparently). Except, the only way into the server room was via a badge reader. Yup, the lock was electric and not hooked to the UPS. The only key holder for the physical lock was 10 hours flight away..with the key. Queue panic and IT managers running for the fire axes.

2. Same global company later outsourced half the ops work to a famous Indian outsource brigade. The lovely IT campus on the East coast of the subcontinent had survived the tsunami a few months earlier, but the whole area was regularly flooded. I was there during one such flood. The servers were safely tucked away at least 5m above the highest theoretical tsunami/flood mark. Except the emergency generators were....in the basement! Queue a small army of locals shifting sandbags and running bilge pumps/chucking buckets by hand.

3.Same company had operations in just about every landmass with more than a couple of thousand inhabitants. The SAP rollout required as much data as could be sucked in - meaning IT infra in places served by meagre comms - and lacking in anyone vaguely qualified in IT. The best they could be expected to do was wire a plug. One local expert did well to physically build the server and attach the storage. It had been shipped imaged - already in the domain etc - then stripped down for the journey. The build process required a testing of the RAID array, which is where it all went horribly wrong. Queue 3 day journey for the 3rd level support guru by train/plane/boat to discover the poor local had thought that testing the hot-swap meant taking out all the disks sequentially (at the same time) and putting them back.

4. A certain behemoth of an IT company I worked for. We needed to move an NT server that had become mission critical from an office space to the nuke-proof data centre at the end of the corridor, it genuinely did have real 1960s blast doors, sprung floors, faraday cage etc). Months of planning, contingencies coming out our @rses. One thing we didn't think of was that the machine hadn't been cold booted in about 4 years. Click, click, click. Oh dear....processor dead. In those days you couldn't just whack the disks in another box, it had to be exactly the same hardware.

I could go on and on....

Psychology graduates remain poor for life, study shows

scott 30

try and keep up...

*sigh* it was a joint degree - which were 2 degrees done at the same time (not sure if it's still possible). I knew before starting the Psychology degree I wouldn't be pursuing that career path due to a lack of filthy lucre filled opportunities. It was actually fun doing a course I was interested in, and also offered a 75/25 female/male ratio in first year....compare that to Engineering or IT course shall we??

Don't get me wrong - lots of mates did Engineering, CompSci, Physics etc - some to Doctorate levels, mostly all academically smarter than me. With the exception of the one who did Law, none are doing what they graduated in - and income levels vary massively. One very bright mate who studied bio sciences is happy getting paid peanuts to be a sysadmin for his old college (now Uni). Zero stress, long holidays etc. Money isn't everything - and it doesn't take a degree in Psychology to figure that one out!

scott 30

Why are so many IT commentators so blatantly ignorant?

I did joint degrees - one in Psychology and the other in Management 15 years ago.

Here I've been grossing 6 figures (euros) for 10 years now (doing neither I must add)....I guess I must be one of those outlier wotzits.

Psychology, like "CompSci", has a wide range of quality in the courses. Then,as now I'm sure, there are very few pure 100% Psychologist jobs out there. The postgrads who end up in the job market tend to do it less for the money than for the fascination of their particular area of expertise, ditto for the lecturers. Same could be said for just about any social science, even "harder" subjects like Economics.

Tis 100% true that a large proportion of the 1st year students on my course were unsuspecting introspective types "looking for answers" - and more fool them for signing up to a degree they didn't actually know. They'd have been much better served with a year in Philosophy to be honest. Supply and demand though - the undergrads wanted the courses, the Uni supplied them. Less than 10% made it to the final year, and of those I know none who didn't follow onto post-grad got jobs "doing Psychology".

15 years on, I still appreciate the rigor of 4 years of hard statistical analysis. Neurophysiology still fascinates me. Child development has come in very handy with the kids. Freud bored me to tears, but learning the history of the subject was crucial - it certainly helped whilst watching Lost (hats off to Milgram!). It's just a shame there wasn't a course on dealing with sad arrogant IT tw@ts who as usual don't know what they're talking about.


Heathrow security man cops perv scanner eyeful

scott 30


As a naturist, I'm all for clothing-free flights. Nothing to hide (alas) so nothing to fear!

And if anyone thinks the flights would turn into some Mile High Roman bang-fest, just remember the majority of the population are fat and ugly (I include myself in that catogery just to be clear!)


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