Re: You can be too cheap as well
".chicken and chips for a pound"
That makes me feel old.
I can remember getting chicken and chips for a pound.
1384 posts • joined 28 Jan 2011
"Clearly somebody decided that they couldn't be assed with the hassle of getting a cheque made out, approved and signed for one penny, and so had disposed of some shrapnel in their pocket to get tick off the job."
Nope. Not allowed. It wouldn't get past the auditors.
Now someone might have filled out a chit for petty cash, got it signed, in triplicate, gone to Accounts (only open during the hours of 16:00 to 16:30 on Tuesdays) to swap the chit for the penny, but we can only speculate.
"I once worked at a German electronics store, and one customer had an open debt of 1 Pfennig (roughly half a cent). We sent out a letter (costing something like 70 Pfennig) to send the demand note."
It probably cost a lot more than 70 Pfennig in terms of staff time, depreciation on that IBM Golfball and other infrastructure costs.
I recall getting a refund cheque from my local authority for something like 30 pence and having to check that I hadn't gone overdrawn that quarter. "Free banking" in those days only applied as long as I didn't go overdrawn, and the charge for paying in a cheque was more than this one was worth.
"Just remembered the top of my list for phone system hell. Barnet council. ...
None of the phone options ever seem relevant to anything and which ever one you choose will still lead to another dead end."
Memories of a different Council back in the 1970s. This was an operator controlled telephone exchange. Even if you entered the system armed with an extension number, you'd get transferred around several extension before finding the person you wanted. The amazing thing was that you'd get transferred back to the first extension you reached and have to start again at least once in the process.
It was my theory that when an automated system came along, they did a full time and motion study of the manual system and sought to replicate that.
That seemed the most probable explanation at the time.
"However, because the SynXis CRS deletes reservation details 60 days after the hotel stay, we are not able to confirm the specific information associated with every affected reservation."
Granted, I've only worked with business-to-business accounting systems, but I would have expected some kind of audit trail to enable tracking this kind of information.
Women notice artificial fibres on men, and avoid it. Heck, somehow some women can tell the difference between cashmere and normal wool just by looking at it
The ability to spot a decent bit of cloth comes quite naturally to those of us brought up in a textile manufacturing environment.
I can unerringly pick out the most expensive suits from a rack without looking at the price tags. Thankfully suits are no longer mandatory at work.
"In any case, as CrazyOldCatMan observes, natural fabrics are more comfortable and breathable."
Better for outdoor activities too. It's not a coincidence that farmers in moorland areas wear woollens.
"Back in those days smoking in France was more or less compulsory..."
That statement, dear readers, is no exaggeration.
I bought some "Il est formellement interdit de fumer" (Smoking strictly forbidden) signs for a customer computer room. The thought never occurred to them, and this was a very large company who should have known better.
"An ICO investigation found that Boomerang Video failed to carry out regular penetration testing on its website that should have detected errors."
At last we have an official recommendation for regular penetration testing.
I don't think I've seen one of those before, except buried somewhere in a lengthy post mortem.
"Microsoft had their own anti-trust lawsuit from the EU years ago, where they had to give you a choice. However that's since expired, and now you're seeing a company ignoring the lessons it should've learnt the last time it pulled those tricks."
From July 2012, Microsoft "forgot" to offer browser choice
According to this El Reg article the browser choice was supposed to go live in March 2010, but neither version of Windows 7 I bought later that year actually contained that choice.
P.S. When the "browser ballot" finally arrived, the choices were well out of date.
"This is why it's critically important to ensure the answers don't vary (unknown user vs bad password) and the delay in answering doesn't vary. Padding out the fail delay helps a lot."
I saw an example of this several years ago.
Invalid username / invalid password : a delay of several seconds
valid username / invalid password: no delay
It doesn't matter which way around those are, that difference in delay was telling an attacker when they had found a valid username.
"If they at least cycled through the character set it might make sense. But random sequences of characters? Is this some clever hacking trick I have missed?"
The reason for an attack isn't always obvious.
But now they know that your server will blacklist the source IP address. If your server did it itself, they now have an idea of how long it took your server to respond to that attack.
Are you sure they haven't used that form of attack to divert your attention away from other attacks? Filling logs up with nonsense is one way of hiding a specific attack. Do you see failed logins for your accounts department in there, for example? Those could happen hours earlier or later of course, but if your attention has been diverted to the attack involving nonsense usernames, you might miss those events.
"introduce a Special Administration Regime to ensure the continuing operation of the national smart meter service if the provider becomes insolvent"
Doesn't seem to be a resounding vote of confidence in Crapita. Perhaps the government knows something we don't?
It describes how when industry perceives the risk for taking on a given project as too high, no suppliers come forward with a tender. The government then introduces carrots in the form of allowing the supplier to simply walk away if things don't turn out well financially. Summary: what appears to be a mediocre rate of return turns out to be quite stunning when the risk element is removed.
Lots of other interesting stuff in there as well, such as when councils outsource, and the only way the supplier can make a profit is to reduce wages, that in turn generates a larger welfare burden for the council.
Pages: 120 Publisher: Manchester University Press
Published Date: September 2015
Also available in digital format from a couple of places.
"My TIGASA list if different to my wifes. No problem, she worries about colours, I worry about the quality and usabilty."
I’d just taken delivery of my first proper long distance limo, which I'd bought to be able to do large distances around Europe and not be knackered by the time I got to where I was going.
I picked up the girlfriend and we set off for the weekend.
The car behaved immaculately, nice sound system, air con, heated leather seats, enough oomph to deal with the Autobahn etc etc.
When we got out of the car at our destination, gf pointed at a red Mondeo and said:
"Look, what a beautiful car!"
"Parties are fine, but some people would rather go home to their families."
I experienced this free overtime lark in the eighties, plus they'd created a culture where you were "being antisocial" if you didn't go to the pub and maybe on to a restaurant with them after work. All out of your own pocket of course.
I would have much preferred to be spending that money on doing up my house, holidays, or heavens, actually saving up for a rainy day.
"Sadly people started wising up to their business model of not only using taxpayer money to feed its workforce (food stamps) but to pay for their loss prevention as well (local police)."
Unfortunately, that also applies to Local Authority outsourcing. What they save by outsourcing will come back and bite them in the form of housing benefit claims from the very people they once employed.
Still, it's off that particular budget, so who cares, eh?
"Add in the UK governments obsession with "equalising" tax payments for those who have permanent jobs"
Which is a direct response to many companies severely taking the piss by making practically every employee a "contractor" to avoid having to pay holidays, sickness, pensions and in some cases, the minimum wage.
And many of the guilty companies are those offering outsourcing services to what were once in-house to local/central government and the NHS.
When NHS and education employees were being offered this kind of employment back in 1995, no wonder that the government was concerned about "Friday to Monday" changes in employment contracts, for government itself was going to be a driving force in that direction.
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
The problem comes when the rest of the world moves on, for example by retiring security cyphers that were in wide use at the time you implemented your software.
I don't like car analogies, but the demise of unleaded fuel meant you needed to apply some maintenance to older cars so that they'd continue to work in a post-leaded fuel world.
'Placebo effect - Better results from ingestion of two sugar pills compared to one, and an even better response after a saline injection - It seems that more "treatment" tends to give a better clinical response.'
And there, just maybe, is the real key to the placebo effect.
Somebody is responding to the patient's complaint and actively giving them something for it.
Since there aren't any active ingredients in a placebo, can the whole process of dragging yourself to a doctor's surgery, being listened to, then following instructions, be reduced to a set of social interactions which have a beneficial effect?
This could be an interesting area of study, all the more so as we are being told that AI might be the future of healthcare. Will removing the social interactions we currently participate in turn out to be much more dangerous to our well-being than we anticipate?
"quietly beat the crap out of it with a 3 pound lump hammer!"
I had a washing machine that had frustrated many an engineer while still under warranty, but they did manage to get it working for long enough that the warranty had well and truly expired.
The next time it broke down I had a plan ready.
It still looked immaculate, so there was the danger that some enterprising soul would try to resurrect it, if I tipped it in one piece, and then suffer the same way I had.
I stripped the thing down and spread the parts around various tips, to minimise the chances of someone doing that.
No rage, instead cool calculating satisfaction that I had rid the world of such a troublesome piece of kit.
"the geeky one will be... in some fashionable denim, pointy shoes and retro paisley shirt. And a beard - with a... 60% probability of a hair bun - because he's the edgy authentic woodsman type."
Swap the paisley for a checked lumberjack pattern (which goes with "authentic woodsman") and you have just described our Chief Windows Wallah.
Yes, he does have the hair bun.
I can just imagine him in the role described.
"Water, foam, CO2, yes; but not halon, we were told it was too expensive for a demo."
We had a halon system discharge at a place I worked, but by then its effect on the ozone layer was well understood, and it was illegal to refill the system with more halon.
So in addition to the cost of replacing the shorted out kit that triggered the halon dump in the first place, there was the cost of a brand new non-halon fire prevention system.
"Pfff... Many Y2K fixes just changed the window in which two digits were mapped onto four."
It's still there in spreadsheet programs if you enter years as 2 digits.
The default in the current version of LibreOffice is to treat 2 digit year inputs as values between 1930 and 2029. See Options/Preferences -> General for that setting.
(I don't have a copy of Excel handy at the moment, so sorry, I can't check that)
There are still a lot of systems which use 2 digit years in output logs or CSV equivalents. Guess what happens when you import them into spreadsheets?
"ust one rogue PM will disturb a lot of people because it's too easy to tune-in"
That reminds me of the phone system from hell. The phones were grouped according to team.
If one phone went unanswered for 6 or so rings, all the phones for that team started ringing in unison. If all those phones went unanswered, the call was diverted to a secretary, who was seemingly never at her desk.
At any given time, at least one team was off in a meeting room.
"So they can detect the script you would use to write down the the words you are speaking? That is amazing!"
It's quite easy according to the Microsoft world view.
Everyone is monolingual. Buy another device if you want another language.
Corollary: Unless you buy an Enterprise language, you are monolingual and will speak the language that we think you ought to, depending on geolocation.
"Have you ever heard of a politician... who wasn't technically illiterate
Ah, Thatcher. Chemist turned barrister turned politician.
The "scientist" who decreed that the price of a primary source of energy, gas, should be raised to make a secondary/tertiary form of energy, electricity, more competitive.
It only made sense once the privatisation of British Gas was announced.
"Hold up a mo, are you not an IT news site?
I somehow doubt the party's policies have changed in the last few days... https://web.archive.org/web/20170605100006/http://www.mydup.com/
As per title, I nominate this for Post of the Month.
"Ponzi scheme, Bubble also come to mind."
I also suspect that much of it is like squirrelling away useful looking answers from technical IT forums.
There comes a point when most of those answers cease to be of interest, simply because the products concerned have evolved, introducing a new set of questions, or even ceased to be.
You may be able to re-use that data for other research, say linguistic analysis (thinking of AI here), but there are plenty of other sources for that.
"My money ... is on the document having been written by a BOFH type of person."
My money is on a scenario such as the current sysadmin being asked to write the instructions for his successor.
Then at some point down the line someone else sees that document and asks for a copy to edit and redistribute for more general use, not realising that it contains production-specific information.
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