* Posts by keithpeter

1349 posts • joined 14 Jul 2007

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'Oh sh..' – the moment an infosec bod realized he was tracking a cop car's movements by its leaky cellular gateway

keithpeter
Windows

Re: Why did they have to pull the terrorist card?

"...if I want to publicise my cause by violent means I will just attack the police station, the address of which I can get from the 1995 phone book."

Er, actually, near me in the UK, you'd be blowing up an Aldi, a car park, some new houses, and a large hole in the ground. And more stations are closing soon apparently. We see a patrol car about once a week, and the helicopter flies over when the football is on. Haven't seen an actual police officer walking a beat for five or six years or so.

I live one mile from the centre of a city of 1 million by the way.

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CADs and boffins get some ThinkPad love

keithpeter
Coat

Re: The laptop of my future

@Michael Wojcik

"1250g? I'd consider that "barely noticeable""

Good for you. My lower vertebrae are becoming somewhat more sensitive to weight these days.

Coat: distributing the devices and other impedimenta around copious pockets does seem to help.

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keithpeter
Coat

Re: The laptop of my future

@Greencat

Best start resistance training now! The X61s (Jan 2008) with ssd and 4 cell battery that I'm typing this on weighs 1250g according to my kitchen scales.

I'd pay quite a lot for an X60/X61 size-a-like with current technology.

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ZX Spectrum reboot scandal biz gets £35k legal costs delayed

keithpeter
Coat

"If you have difficulties you can apply back to the court for an extension of time. That’s not going to be looked on with great sympathy."

Sounds like FOAD to me. I kept hearing Rumpole type accents when reading the OA.

3
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Linux 4.18 arrives fashionably late while Zorin OS shines up its Windows

keithpeter
Coat

Re: Zorin OS

@AC: Nope, as they all have roughly equivalent functionality. Once stuff is free (as in beer and as in spirit) you can fork the base and get your own idea up and running very quickly.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Linux_Distribution_Timeline.svg

Above gives you the family tree so to speak. I'm on the Slackware trunk.

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keithpeter
Coat

Re: What they are for

@Ian Joyner

So where would you locate the *BSDs and illumos based operating systems?

Coat: mine's the one with the Slackware DVD in the pocket.

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Microsoft still longs to be a 'lifestyle' brand, but the cupboard looks bare

keithpeter
Coat

Re: Me neither

"If Microsoft wants to control my hardware, then it should give me a PC. If it's their hardware, then I accept their control over it."

@Pascal Monet: don't go giving them ideas. Given the reduction in cost of low end devices, I can imagine a relaunch of the 'free device pay monthly' model for internet/software for laptops/tablets. Works ok for phones after all.

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Declassified files reveal how pre-WW2 Brits smashed Russian crypto

keithpeter
Coat

Re: It always strikes me as strange...

@msknight

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

Use of minority languages was a thing when the need was for rapid communication of information that would be useless on a short time scale. Don't think people wanted to be fiddling with one time pads and doing mental arithmetic on battlefields.

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keithpeter
Coat

Re: Paranoia and hot pockets

My cheapo Android tablet gave me the choice of encrypting its storage when I set it up. Took a couple of minutes. I'm assuming the result is a 16Gb ssd filled with random numbers. Could a otp not just be made to look like an ssd with encrypted storage until the authorities started to compare a number of devices and realise the amazing coincidence of identical random numbers?

Coat: Copy of MR-1418-RC in the (large) inside pocket

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keithpeter
Coat

Re: The clue is in the name

OK, so if I write a couple of short messages as plain ascii (7 bit) and then use

xxd -b <message-files>

to dump the binary (1s and 0s), reformat to mimic a paper tape or something, and then XOR the result to get rid of the two-time key, it should be a reasonable simulation of the problem facing the chaps in the 1950s?

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Oldest swinger in town, Slackware, notches up a quarter of a century

keithpeter
Pint

Slackware live

Eric Hameleers (aka Alien Bob) provides Slackware Live isos and a set of scripts for customising your own live iso. might be of interest to those who have not yet tried Slackware and who don't want to spend an hour or so installing it onto a spare computer.

I'm posting this from a slackware --current base installation running Alien Bob's Plasma 5 compile - very slick and stable.

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Capita strikes again: Bug in UK-wide school info management system risks huge data breach

keithpeter
Coat

names...

"...some of the parents have double barreled names too, that dosent help"

Names can get tricky [1]. I always ask my adult students to write down what is on their passport/travel documents at enrollment so when they get their certificates at the end of the course there aren't any amusing issues when they go for jobs &c.

[1] https://www.kalzumeus.com/2010/06/17/falsehoods-programmers-believe-about-names/

I hope whoever dropped the date-of-birth match does not work on further education college systems as well... ten to fifteen times as many enrollments often...

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keithpeter
Coat

"...some of the parents have double barreled names too, that dosent help"

Names can get tricky [1]. I always ask my adult students to write down what is on their passport/travel documents at enrollment so when they get their certificates at the end of the course there aren't any amusing issues when they go for jobs &c.

[1] https://www.kalzumeus.com/2010/06/17/falsehoods-programmers-believe-about-names/

I hope whoever dropped the date-of-birth match does not work on further education college systems as well... ten to fifteen times as many enrollments often...

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Void Linux gave itself to the void, Korora needs a long siesta – life is hard for small distros

keithpeter
Coat

Re: Void can be forked

@Uncle_Slacky

Your username might remind others about Slackware. I thought that omitting Slackware from the OA was a bit of an oversight.

Slackware provides an example of a small distribution with what appears to be a sustainable business model (there is a small company that sells DVDs subscriptions and merchandise). I'm posting this from my desktop PC that runs Slackware 14.2 and it just chugs away in a totally reliable and dependable fashion. No major modifications of upstream, no complex configuration layers &c. Very consistent from version to version. At present Slackware does not use systemd, although Patrick Volkerding the Slackware BDFL has not ruled out the need to use it in the future.

Slackware went through its 'bus crash' moment some years ago when Mr Volkerding became quite ill so they have procedures in place &c.

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Date engraved onto net neutrality tombstone: June 11, 2018

keithpeter
Coat

Giggleswick church

Not my monkeys and not my circus, but is that not Giggleswick Churchyard (St Alkeida's) in the photo? Taken with the church at the back and pointing up the hill?

Coat: mine's the one with the really expensive UK mobile internet dongle in the pocket. What is this neutrality the cousins speak of?

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IBM bans all removable storage, for all staff, everywhere

keithpeter
Coat

Re: First, they came for the CD-R's

@TonyJ: I have learned. I never knew such a device existed.

Bought a cheaper make and will see if it is reliable.

One employer provides rdp access to desktop. Absolutely no reason for me (as end user) to have any portable storage at all. T'other employer not as well-provisioned in IT terms (Major UK city/Crapita) so need to carry some stuff. Security cross section is losing the damned thing.

Mines the one with the Trusted End Node Security USB in the pocket

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If you're a Fedora fanboi, this latest release might break your heart a little

keithpeter
Coat

Re: In Linux, "freedom" means you have no freedom but to bow to Stallman.

"Most Linux users don’t care about or listen to what Stallman says."

Android, ChromeOS, no-name teles and routers, data centres and embedded devices, HPC clusters and the supercollider. You are certain to be right on statistical grounds.

Not so sure about those making an active choice to install a Linux based OS on a laptop or desktop.

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keithpeter
Coat

Re: In Linux, "freedom" means you have no freedom but to bow to Stallman.

"In Linux, "freedom" means you have no freedom but to bow to Stallman."

Have a look at the *BSD based operating systems, permissive licence and nice design. My personal favourite is OpenBSD. No chance of nvidia though.

"That's why Linux as a desktop system is still below 5% of the market"

Nope. Most people just use what the device came with. And if it is a PC or laptop it probably came with Windows.

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keithpeter
Coat

"This kind of thing really annoys me. Distros' curation of packages is a kinda promise that it should all work, and it all gets messy when it doesn't."

Agree.

That is why I use Slackware. No promises, and no extensive modifications from upstream.

Void linux is similar if you prefer the rolling distribution model (but their BDFL has gone awol so fork soon I guess).

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Leave it to Beaver: Unity is long gone and you're on your GNOME

keithpeter

Re: light-theme

OK sorted - despite the fact that the light themes are installed from the iso you have to install tweak-tool to be able to select the theme (rolleyes)

Works nice on the X220 with SSD. But apparently you can't get rid of the title bar of the window when window maximised (1366x768 laptop - this would be handy but no extensions available)

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keithpeter
Coat

light-theme

OK, so I'm booted off the live image. I have a dark theme with dark grey menus &c. I prefer light themes. The live image reports ubuntu-light-themes installed. How do I get to change the desktop theme?

Used to by right click and select Radience &c.

Mine's the one with the Slackware DVD in the pocket.

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New Galaxy un-smartphone can’t go online because Samsung's thought of the children

keithpeter
Coat

can you put video/sound/pdfs on the phone?

Teacher asking

You can get a lot of short revision videos in a gig of storage card space these days

Mine's the one with the 4-figure log tables in the pocket

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Taxpayers chuck burnt-out Bongs* millions of pounds to 'decelerate'

keithpeter
Coat

STEAMhouse

"...where is the funding to help startups in the rest of the country?"

Brum has had a little bit. Old car show room with actual machines in it. Chunky machines. That you could actually use to make things. Waiting to see how often it gets used.

http://www.bcu.ac.uk/business/steam/steamhouse

That leads onto a project to redevelop the old Typhoo factory (been empty for years)

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Carnegie Mellon makes network security guru Jahanian president

keithpeter
Coat

adjectives...

...seem somewhat overdone.

I'm sure that Dr Jahanian will make a good chief executive of a reasonably well known university.

But really...

Coat: mine is he one with Steven King's On Writing in the pocket.

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Hansa down, this is cool: How Dutch cops snatched the wheel of dark web charabanc

keithpeter
Windows

Re: Agent Provocateur

"Except we don't know that now - the cops had control of the site's database."

I was thinking that - did they run checksums with external witnesses every now and again to be able to demonstrate continuity of evidence &c?

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Microsoft says 'majority' of Windows 10 use will be 'streamlined S mode'

keithpeter
Coat

Re: Mess

@ J. R. Hartley and all

"It really is an utter UTTER mess. I dread the day I am forced to leave Windows 7. "

Is ReactOS likely to be able to run your required applications by 2020 Win7 cut off?

https://www.reactos.org/

Just wondering, not being sarky.

I find an old laptop running linux meets my personal needs fine. At work I use what employer gives me to use. Usually a managed Windows PC logged into a network.

11
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User stepped on mouse, complained pedal wasn’t making PC go faster

keithpeter
Windows

Re: Can I just leave this thought with you?

@Andy A

Ctrl-Z and Ctrl-Y next, then Ctrl-F [keyword] in a window displaying a long document?

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keithpeter
Coat

Re: Reminds me of a story

"On similar lines, lots of software interface people talk a lot about "intuitive use patterns", which, if you you have no similar past experience to draw on, are anything but intuitive."

Yup - computer training a couple of decades ago as well and I became aware that some of the participants did not have a clear idea of a window on the screen - the rectangle did not strike them as an entity that could be moved and that was a different region to the underlying desktop. A couple of minutes demonstrating sorted it fine.

1
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Of course Uber allegedly had a tool to remotely destroy evidence

keithpeter
Coat

Re: Sounds great

"Personally, I think that tool sounds great. If they could open source it, would make a lot of desktop and security ppl's jobs quite a bit easier..."

My agreement with your sentiment is cancelled out by my reaction to your use of 'ppl', hence no up-vote.

Coat: personally one hails taxis unless attending a social event in which case 'carriages at Midnight' is the rule.

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Linux Mint 18.3: A breath of fresh air? Well, it's a step into the unGNOME

keithpeter
Coat

Re: Eh?

"Have you been to the slackware website? It's 1991 in there."

But you can run -current with a mainline kernel quite easily. And compile development versions of applications should you wish to.

Coat: Well, this page is actually about Mint so I'm off.

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First Allied submarine lost in World War One, found near New Guinea

keithpeter
Pint

Re: Cyril L. Baker

"In 1914 the sea-going equipment was still simple, but the system was practical, reliable, trusted and would soon be battle tested. Most of the equipment was still based around spark transmitters and crystal sets using the Low frequency and Medium frequency bands, but the Royal Navy already had 15 years experience and had developed tactics and operations based around it use."

Quote from

http://marconiheritage.org/ww1-sea.html

Spark transmitter = pulse of em energy with a wide frequency spread & so hard to coordinate among a fleet of ships (basically turns taking) or did they have tuned circuits in the antenna to filter out some of the energy? Raining tomorrow so I'll be researching.

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Ubuntu 17.10 pulled: Linux OS knackers laptop BIOSes, Intel kernel driver fingered

keithpeter
Pint

Re: If you want Ubuntu laptops there is System 76.

@ Tinslave_the_Barelegged

"In the UK, there is Entroware who sell Linux, especially, Ubuntu-based, laptops."

Thanks for the signposting.

What does herself think of the keyboard? Does it bend when typing?

I, too, will be thinking about a newer lighter machine in the new year.

Icon: toss up between the pint in thanks and the coat in regard to bare legs in December.

2
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Disk drive fired 'Frisbees of death' across data centre after storage admin crossed his wires

keithpeter
Coat

Boats

I used to commute on the Mersey ferry(*) some score of years ago.

They would tie one 4 inch thick rope round a bollard and then swing the ferry boat against the motors to align the stern with the Seacombe landing stage. The ropes complained loudly when the tide was running. I tended to stay back a little until the drawbridge went down.

(*) 1200 tonnes, four engines.

6
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Oracle rival chides UK councils for pricey database indulgence

keithpeter
Windows

Re: I'm not out to defend Oracle but...

"I had an Auditor in Oracle tell me I was a bastard and it was low down tricks I'd pulled after his "sale" fell through and I got the same licenses for half the price from another region."

@Hans Blick

Ever thought of doing a bit of consultancy/trouble-shooting on the side? Might get a few customers by the sound of it.

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US politicos wake up to danger of black-box algorithms shaping all corners of American life

keithpeter
Coat

Re: Not just credit scores...

https://www.theguardian.com/law/2011/apr/11/judges-lenient-break

Human judges can have their foibles as well apparently.

I take the larger point and I am in favour of a simplification of things if possible. Remove some of the turtle layers.

Coat: Battered copies of Naomi Klein's books and a couple of Ruskoff's in the pocket

1
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A certain millennial turned 30 recently: Welcome to middle age, Microsoft Excel v2

keithpeter
Pint

Spreadsheet errors (literature)

http://www.eusprig.org/

The people who collate and promote research on errors in spreadsheets (Panko is yer man)

https://www.ft.com/content/0fdc6e62-2f23-11e5-91ac-a5e17d9b4cff

Popular article on the phenomenon

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22223190

The old sum(A1:thingy) joke

https://www.joelonsoftware.com/2006/06/16/my-first-billg-review/

Joel Spolsky's recollection of a meeting with Billy G

Icon: happy weekend all

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keithpeter
Windows

Re: Good Article

Quote from OA

"(One of my well-known City clients took their analysts' spreadsheet creations for tradeable indexes, and turned them into C++ for production speed and manageability.)"

@ Christopher Reeve's Horse and all

Just wondering if some kind of automated ingestion of a spreadsheet and excretion of code is in principle possible. Subject to reasonable rules about circularity of references &c.

Some of my perhaps unorthodox spreadsheet uses....

http://sohcahtoa.org.uk/oldblog/maths/spreadsheets-to-talk-about/index.html

oldie but goodie.

http://sohcahtoa.org.uk/pages/maths_montecarlo.html

Core Maths idea.

2
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Apache OpenOffice: We're OK with not being super cool... PS: Watch out for that Mac bug

keithpeter
Pint

The old bugs are the best bugs

"Our research shows that a 'basic,' functional office suite, which is streamlined with a 'simple' and uncluttered, uncomplicated UI, serves an incredib[ly] under-represented community."

I use oOo on my stable Slackware 14.2 install. Just works, and I know where the bugs are. I can get stuff done.

I know and appreciate LO on my test machine - some whizzy stuff and some changes to UI and the detailed behaviour of some of the functions (e.g. drawing tools). This is inevitable when you refactor code that is decades old I suppose.

I seriously hope the compatibility of files between the two versions is maintained.

As others have said, pints to all involved.

6
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Boss put chocolate cake on aircon controller, to stop people using it

keithpeter
Coat

Re: Heating / Aircon

"I don't know what the solution is to prevent air con wars in offices, but dismissing people who genuinely can't cope with the air temperature being cold is not it."

This might sound daft but it is not meant to be: some form of localised heating?

Other countries may have this sorted a bit... but not for hands...

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

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

Gamers...

http://www.odditycentral.com/news/this-infrared-heat-lamp-keeps-your-hands-warm-as-you-type.html

Coat: I always have a fleece in my bag in case of aggressive aircon

3
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New phishing campaign uses 30-year-old Microsoft mess as bait

keithpeter
Windows

@Anonymous South African Coward

"Even more fun if it encrypts the financial database on-the-fly and hundreds of users lose a day's work*..."

At least no delay then - didn't get into the backups.

1
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Tell the public how much our tram tickets cost? Are you mad?

keithpeter

Re: Unless..

"...or a Heisenberg ticket, where you can know your destination, or the price, but not both."

Flann O'Brien touch there, very nice. And bicycles.

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keithpeter
Coat

One pass to rule them all

"The few multi-mode passes available are too expensive to be worthwhile for most people, and some of them are only available from travelshops (of which there are a grand total of 2 in Manchester)"

Birmingham and West Midlands: network card (all zones) costs £109/month from many newsagents and travel-shops with discount for 12 months direct debit. That gets you on most buses (only the small number of Arriva services coming in from Warwickshire won't accept the network card), local trains and our tiny but growing tramline.

What is your definition of 'too expensive' for multi-mode tickets in Manchester by comparison?

PS: we have partial oyster type thingies in several forms. Buses only at present. Depending on how they decide to add the trains onto the swift cards it might be better for me.

Coat: timetables.

0
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Ubuntu 17.10: We're coming GNOME! Plenty that's Artful in Aardvark, with a few Wayland wails

keithpeter
Coat

Re: Looks tempting

"About that... let me describe some of my experiences with low-level X11 coding..."

Any code out there at all Bombastic Bob? Sounds interesting.

(I could imagine a live iso demo of your work - would need a loud hailer icon. And a *really* loud welcome sound...)

Coat: off out now

5
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Lenovo spits out retro ThinkPads for iconic laptop's 25th birthday

keithpeter
Coat

Re: +1 for X220 mention

"I have a very similar X220, except with Xubuntu, and I swear that it boots in well under 45 seconds"

Probably does. Slackware does an old school boot and for some reason the 'kernel test' takes 10 seconds. But I mostly suspend and reboot once a week or so or when kernel updates arrive.

Coat: mine's the one with the Slackware DVD in the pocket

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keithpeter
Coat

Re: +1 for X220 mention

"Your humble hack's old X220 is one of the last units with the old-style keyboard, which is why it's in service six years later despite being so slow to boot you can make a cup of tea and be back before it's ready to use."

X220 + SSD + no-name battery = boot in 45 sec (cos Slackware) seriously snappy and fully functional.

Time for a reinstall?

Comment on OA: 4:3 ratio and same form factor as X60 but with bright non-reflective screen and 12 hour battery life and I'll buy two.

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1

We went to Nadella's launch of Hit Refresh so you didn't have to

keithpeter
Coat

Precise questions

"The culture at Microsoft was, we used to go to a class about precision questions. The idea was to destroy anyone's [argument] in the first five minutes by asking highly precise questions... but it was being used as an instrument of offence,"

Isn't this discourse in this style called science?

Perhaps without the agression but am I the only one who thinks that some of Microsoft's recent products could have benefitted from a little more precise questionning before release?

Coat: Popper's Logic of Scientific Discovery in one pocket and Lakatos' Proofs and Refutations in the other.

35
1

Nadella says senior management pay now linked to improving gender diversity

keithpeter
Windows

Re: Symptom of bullshit job

@AC

"teaching is a a notoriously sexist profession"

I'd accept that there is an institutional gender bias. Teaching in primary schools offers mandatory hours and a calendar that fits well with having children, so attractive to people who are the main carers in a family, and that I accept is still predominantly women. I accept the point about the scarcity of men in primary sector - but teacher gender ratios closer (but not equal to) parity in secondary, the figures I can find are in the 60% to 65% women range. College sector (where I teach) is in my experience closer to parity.

"This certainly was my experience at school with a number of women teachers being quite openly sexist and making disparaging comments about boys in general."

I used to hear that kind of stuff in 90s/00s but not so much recently at College level. There is an awareness that boys/men are underperforming and there are attempts to counter that.

My team/group whatever is 5 chaps and 4 chapesses

Opinions vary. Most Colleges and adult education settings will welcome volunteers subject to dbs if you have time to spare. Many have found the experience illuminating.

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keithpeter
Windows

Symptom of bullshit job

"40% does 60%, and the rest is dead weight between meetings and long bathroom breaks."

I'm a teacher. In teaching, there is, I can assure you, no dead weight. You sink or swim. Your colleagues will know which within a couple of weeks. In the UK, teaching jobs have a one year 'probationary period' - which is HR speak for 'if you are crap we can get rid of you quickly'. My posse is diverse, to the extent of being like a Benneton poster. We can all deliver. Students find familiar faces and body shapes reassuring. Teaching is not a bullshit job.

What I'm sneaking up to here is a 'challenging question' (as we say in teaching)

Are most IT jobs actually bullshit jobs where the performance in the role actually has little impact on the org?

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5
keithpeter
Windows

Numbers

The magic of numbers.

Numerical targets lead to strange phenomena in my experience.

What the computeration business needs to do is just be grown up and accept people on the basis of what they can produce.

And, sure, outreach programs to your local community, code clubs &c to give people a chance to find out what computeration is all about.

9
0

It's a real FAQ to ex-EDS staffers: You'll do what with our pensions, DXC?

keithpeter
Coat

Redundo within averaging period

"As long as I don't have to worry about putting food on the table, and can take the occasional trip somewhere in the country to enjoy a bit of a change of four walls, watch a film in the cinema, etc. I'm happy."

@msknight: Likewise. My aspirations are not excessive. I'd add a bit of engagement with people - family, volunteering and in my case some part time adult education teaching.

Teaching pension for my age cohort had a 10 year averaging period before retirement. The highest three years contiguous salary was taken as the 'final salary'. This was to stop people getting shoved up grades to boost the pension.

It was financially beneficial to me to take my pension a year early so as to gain the maximum benefit of my highest salary years having been made redundo in the dying days of the Gordon Brown government. You may remember they sort of lost track of how much they were spending on new Further Education colleges, coupled with the prime mortgages meltdown. This lead to a sudden unplanned budget reduction in already agreed funding for FE Colleges, hence my departure along with many colleagues.

I've been working (from choice by the way) fractional posts since then, so huge salary drop, hence taking a 4% actuarial reduction for one year as opposed to a ~20% cut.

I'm a Maths teacher. There is an artificially produced chronic shortage of Maths teachers in FE Colleges. I could have worked a couple of more years easily. Tough Bananas Bub.

Actionable content: get pensions advice early on. Make some kind of plan to preserve basics as well said by msknight.

Political thought: what happened to the social contract? Work hard for 30 to 40 years then we will sort you out with the basics? Not hard is it. Thatcher and her dodgy economists really screwed things up. Younger ones finally waking up to that... interesting times ahead

Coat: Das Capital in left pocket and Der Weg zur Knechtschaft in the right pocket thus covering all bases.

Good luck to the floggers-of-computers in original article.

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