Zuck's own words.
In case any of us have forgotten, when asked by Senator Hatch as to how Facebook got its revenue, Mark Zuckerberg replied "we run ads".
I wonder if he will come to regret those words.
73 posts • joined 29 Apr 2014
The vast majority of my living comes from trouble-shooting legacy systems. It is a hoot, really is. You have to be prepared to search lots of error logs, be comfy with text editors, scour the book section of charity shops for old manuals etc. Generally though the technology is not the problem.
Most of the challenges come from finding documentation.
Anything pre-2000 did tend to be really well documented. Post 2000, CTOs seemed to have it in for technical authors so the quality of documentation goes downhill rather quickly.
Then the more recent trend away from shared NT drives to keeping everything in the cloud/sharepoint/orifice 365 means that even it there was documentation , it has long gone. The source code normally makes it through storage migrations, but the design docs rarely do.
Of course this is just based on my experience. Your mileage may vary.
I've worked on "legacy" systems and I've worked on modern shiny web stuff. Based on my experience, the thrust of your article that you're left with technology that few people understand can be applied equally well to modern stuff as well as "legacy".
For example, one client of mine spent two years putting in shiny new document databases for their web applications. They are now busy ripping it all out to go back to relational databases. Why ? Because they cannot get staff that can figure out the intermittent performance issues they got from time to time for the rate they want to pay for operations and development staff.
As some have already said it is not usually a technology problem, it is a management problem. Corner office dwellers want nice compliant offshore staff. There are plenty of UK based staff who know about old mainframes, legacy kit etc and so forth.
"For workers left without jobs, accepting lower-wage work presumably is easier than retraining to pursue a position that requires high-level skills."
The article makes it seem like people have a choice. "Easier" - yes it is easier to get a job, any job rather than starving to death and being made homeless.
So how many people here could afford to go back to school of some sort and retrain - could you afford to spend three months, six months, a year ? What financial help is available to cover the cost of training? Tax breaks ? National insurance credits (for the UK)? In the UK the government make a big deal out of apprenticeships, but what about for those in their thirties and older? And employers - what's their role in this - from what I've seen many employers would rather cut off their own leg than spend money on training, and they'd prefer to employ younger workers than older ones.
This is a massive societal problem that I believe is being ignored.
In my inbox today I received the following in a job ad from the Metropolitan Police. Admittedly not for the Army but for the Police instead, but I think you can see the core of the problem
National Digital Exploitation Service (NDES) Manager
SALARY: £43,298 to £48,494 plus £3,406 location allowance plus 12.5% shift allowance.
LOCATION: London, SW6
Today's criminals and terrorists are more technically advanced than ever. To combat the threats they represent, digital innovation is crucial. This pioneering work happens at the National Digital Exploitation Service (NDES). Here, our experts work on everything from analysis of cyber attacks to technology development. As a Manager, you'll be leading highly skilled professionals within a cutting-edge environment. It's your chance to inspire a team – and to protect the country.
So the list of responsibilities are pretty long (managing six staff etc),- important, possibly exciting , but piss poor salary for a skilled senior IT worker in London. I suppose with the army your bed and board are provided. When is this country going to get serious about what it pays its key workers ?
"And yet the UK politicians still approve the 4th largest budget in the world for military spending. I'm not sure how much more committed you would want them to be..."
The politicians do seem to spend this budget really really badly! Or is it down to civil servants? I have no idea. It has all gone a bit tricky at any rate!
With Brexit and with Trump, it seems to me that a sufficient minority of voters were fed up up with being regarded as mere interchangeable parts by big companies who were quite willing to screw them over through outsourcing, dodgy visas and all the other tactics many trans-national companies do to maintain their bottom line. And for many all over the world they have seen their costs of living rise and rise whilst what were good jobs become breadline jobs or the jobs are moved elsewhere, or they find themselves training a PFY from Chennai to do their job.
And they were also fed up that the politicians were always willing to bend the knee to big business but not to their own constituents. The signs have been there if you were willing to listen.
IMHO Brexit and Trump are not the solutions to these issues, but then the right questions have not been asked. And to quote Douglas Adams:
"It is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it... anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job."
But new jobs come along all the time.
For example, mobile phones were tools for yuppies thirty years ago, now they are integrated parts of our lives. Behind those phones are whole swathes of infrastructure and jobs. Meanwhile landlines are increasingly for broadband only.
The obligation on governments (and I'd argue companies too) is to support their citizens in ensuring they have access to get the skills needed to do the new jobs and that they have access to the jobs themselves.
The original ford ka is closer to the mark - simple engine barely updated since the fifties, manual everything,no power steering, simple maintenance schedule and no rev counter , no temperature gauge, heater but no air con, manually adjusted mirrors and a radio/cassette that had FM but no AM.. I ran an early Ka for many years, and by the standards of the time it was pretty reliable, when it did go wrong it was cheap to fix. A total rust bucket by the time I got rid of it, but still remembered more fondly than the p.o.s Mark IV Golf that replaced it.
"But isn't the required strength of character and disregard for one's own physical integrity half the fun of driving "classics"? :-)"
This was back in the nineties before they were classics i.e. when there was only the mini and you could have either the city or the mayfair, and they still had chokes!
The wife has a BMW Mini Cooper, and all her previous cars were all original minis. You'd prise it out of her cold dead hands.
Obviously there's no comparison with the original in terms of size, but I much prefer the BMW Mini. I think BMW did a pretty good job of giving you just enough of the fun of the original mini driving feel (which I think BMW did by recreating the low roof line and the bouncy ride) but without all the rubbish that came from driving a car barely upgraded from the 1950s.
The brakes on the original mini were scary in the extreme. You'd stop ....eventually.
The build quality is so much better on BMW minis- no rust on ours yet.
Driving on a motorway - much much better in a BMW mini. You have plenty of power to overtake.
In torrential rain I found original minis to be terrifying - the hair dryer of a heater struggled to keep the windows fog free, there was always the feeling that you were going to get runover by lorries, and whenever anything bigger than 7.5 tons went by, the wave of spray would swamp the engine ("Please don't stall , please don't stall...") . I love to see original minis on the road. I'm just glad my loved ones aren't in them.
" I was disgusted to read that she knew a rapist she defended was guilty and that it 'put her off the polygraph' (not that any honest lawyer or forensic psychologist should entertain anything but a sceptical opinion), and there is for me some sort of an irony in the current situation."
Isn't that what defence lawyers are supposed to do - to defend their client regardless of what their own opinion is of them? On that basis that rules out anyone who has been a defence lawyer standing for public office, because I guess most will have got scumbags acquitted.
I loved EVE aka EDT/TPU. Especially the learn functionality.
To be able to use an OS that doesn't care about what case you use, and that has consistent command arguments. And using task to task processing and proxies to do stuff on other machines. Sometimes tech in the olden days was better!
"What would happen if someone ran for PM on a platform of NOT invoking article 50?"
I don't think that's how our system works. You don't vote for a PM - you vote to choose your MP - or in the case of where I live - to quote the late great Alan Beresford B'Stard - the hat stand with a blue rosette. Then all sorts of stuff happens that results in someone in a shiny suit that you wouldn't trust to run a bath let alone run a country being put in charge...
But theoretically, say if you could run it that way - well isn't that what the referendum we just had was all about. David Cameron basically said that a vote for REMAIN was also a vote for him. And look where that got us.
", restrictions on land ownership and changes to land taxes could be introduced as well as changes to how income is taxed. "
Yeah,- it is a rather specific example this - but if you want to tempt US and Far Eastern Banks to move their operations from London to Paris, behaving in such a way to their UK employees relocating to France is not a good way to get them to go there instead of Frankfurt.
Really , everyone should step back , take a deep breath and stop running around like chicken licken saying the sky is going to fall. There's going to be a lot more trash talking from all sides before this is done.
War used to happen because one bunch of rich people wanted another bunch of rich people's treasure. Once the technology got so good that you broke the treasure when you tried to steal it, all the rich people got together and realized it was easier to take all the money off the proles instead. And hey presto I give you the EU. ( I'll be voting remain but I'll be holding my nose whilst doing it)
Many of the large multi-nationals (e.g. IBM, HPE to name the most obvious candidates ) are already dead. They just haven't stopped twitching yet.
Despite (or perhaps because of) redundancies, restructuring, mass offshoring and selling the family silver, many haven't grown their revenue in years. What you are seeing are the death throes of dinosaur organisations, and the creative destruction that leads to new growth elsewhere. Of course, that doesn't help the poor bastards on the shop floor who have done their jobs impeccably.
There are plenty of IT jobs in smaller companies.
" if they can fix the downstairs loo"
Unless you are physically unable to do so , if you cannot fix something as simple as your own toilet then you shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a computer in any kind of professional capacity. It's down there with wiring a plug or a patch cable in terms of difficulty. I've built ikea bookcases that were more difficult than changing the syphon on our bog.
"More than ever, large companies need what IBM pre -1994 did - a steady, full service IT company that delivered.
What companies have is IBM and other outsources who try and write clever SLA which extract as much money in as short amount of time, blowing any chance for repeat business."
You are right. The problem is that the customer is the IT director and the Board. They're only going be there two to four years before moving onto their next victim. They aren't looking for the best value, they want the best price, and they want that price to go down year on year. Who cares if the service gets worse and worse. And then in a few years , the client will renew and will play you off against the even cheaper service companies. There is very little in the way of repeat business. The "good" IBM is gone and wouldn't get the business in the modern world with its race to the absolute bottom. It is a shitty situation.
Yep, you've nailed it. I'd go as far as to say that (IMHO) what you have said also applies to private sector outsourcing deals. The only difference is the government tends to air its dirty laundry. Often in the private sector the CIO just moves on to repeat the mess elsewhere before the full "benefits" of outsourcing are realised, and the real cost of outsourcing is hidden.
I'd hazard a guess that the reason some companies are having trouble recruiting is that they go to their favourite outsource partner such as IBM, HPE or Accenture and find that they don't have any offshore staff that can write for mainframes.
There are plenty of FORTAN and COBOL programmers out there with plenty of years of work left in them and we also know how to write lots of new whizzy stuff like c++, python , java and whatever other languages are flavour of the month. I just tend to keep quiet about the older stuff because employers don't seem to be recruiting for the older languages.
And I expect that the outsource partners have plenty of UK based people that can code for mainframes but keep quiet about it because they have had "to move up the value chain" and take PM, scrum master and other similar salary preserving roles as coding jobs have been shipped offshore.
They have to keep doing stuff to make it seem like there is a point to their existence.
The BBC works, leave it alone. It isn't perfect but it's a lot better than Sky. I've got relatives in the States and Australia who pay for VPNs just so they can get the iPlayer which seems to me a good measure of the alternatives.
"Play/pause/skip/volume are all on most peoples headphone cords."
Nope, not on mine, nor those of the tech savvy teenagers in my house. Not on my cheap earbuds nor on my high end cans. It's not that I'm a luddite, it is just that my headphones need to be able to work with many different devices such as TVs, the household stereos, my personal DAB radio, my old cassette walkman , android devices , several different laptops of different vintages and OSes and I don't want to spend money on several sets of almost identical things... sheesh, I'm begining to feel like Mel Smith in a hifi shop asking about his old 78s.
Apple, you want to sell me another iDevice, bring back a proper tactile interface - you know - one with buttons or similar that I can operate by touch in the dark or when I'm wearing gloves , or when the device is in my pocket. Of course the cynic in my thinks that the main reason you dumped the classic is because it might mean you sell less apps or Apple music subscriptions.
"When I went to buy my Honda CRV the salesman said there was an option that would allow control of the accelerator where it would gauge the distance to the car in front and control the cars speed appropriately...he said it was a complete waste of time and money! "
So were you employing the salesman as your chauffeur ? Seriously though, I've got a CRV with exactly that feature and it is brilliant, especially on decent bits of motorway or autoroute. It makes cruise control worth using rather than some annoying buttons on the steering wheel.YMMV
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