Re: And I thought my home bill was bad..
British Leyland? How old do you think I am???? :-P
118 posts • joined 28 Jul 2017
Back in the mid-90's (whilst living in the middle of nowhere in central England - mains gas had only arrived a few years earlier and the nearest road markings were about a mile away) we had dial-up which I generally used for the high-tech task of playing backgammon online. HWMNBO was working in a job with random shift patterns that frequently involved overnights. Neither of us quite realised that the use of modem meant that the landline phone didn't work (this is looooong before either of us had mobiles). We discovered otherwise when he ran out of petrol on a single track road several miles away on route to work. Having walked a mile or so to the nearest house and convinced them to let him to use the phone (he didn't *look* like an axe murderer....) all he got was a repeated engaged tone.
I was really surprised when he turned up on foot back at the house at nearly midnight...and somehwat less than sympathetic when it transpired that he'd known the car had no fuel and was hoping it would make it to the next town on fumes....
Certainly new constructon/repairs work that way, but the vast majority of the UK utility networks have been there for decades and they aren't exactly perfectly documented. Either in terms of depth, location or underground protection - sometimes ducts, sometimes a layer of tiles over the cables/pipes. So every digger of trenches in the UK knows to think carefully before they stick buckets or spades into the ground... this is what happens when they don't. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLTDVCeFFCo
I've had to watch a video of what happened when an operative wasn't wearing full hi-viz. I'm very glad that nobody has developed a method for recording smell.
UK legislation (which clearly doesn't apply here) allows for the claimant to raise their initial claim against any of the parties involved (telco or utility company wanting the work, main contractor, or any of the subcontractors in the chain) on the grounds that whilst there might be a sign up saying "we apologise on behalf of Cornwall Electric", there won't necessarily be anything public that declares it to be the work of Malley Engineering plc, Brown Brothers Groundworks Ltd or Fred Smith Diggers. Any of those can then rope the rest of the chain in as co-defendants under Section 20 (I think...it's been a while). Most commercial contracts pass the liability down the chain, but section 20 ensures that there should always be at least one solvent (aka insured) entity available to cough up if the claim is upheld.
I have seen a claim where the judge (it went that far) ruled that the main contractor had been entirely blameless but as the only extant party to the claim where the claimant had unarguably suffered serious injuries, became fully liable for the seven figure settlement. This is why anyone working anywhere near members of the public needs to hold good liability insurance.
The other one was a programme where the initial PD had a policy that travel was to be conducted out fo hours and he was happy to pay for peak rates flights/trains/overnight accommodation on the grounds that the additional cost was far outweighed by having the expertise available for full working days. Nobody took too much of the proverbial and mostly everyone was happy.
New PD comes in and decides to adopt the wider corporate policy of insisting on people travelling off-peak, lower cost which invariably meant during the day. So an afternoon meeting in London meant you then spent much of the morning travelling, a couple of hours in the meeting, then travelled back at 8pm having spent 5-8pm in the airport bar. Some people (mostly those with a vested interest in the speed of completion of the project) made up the hours on another day. Others (mostly those who were interested in extending their expensive assignment for as long as possible) did no such thing. Thursday afternoons you could tell who the employees were (as opposed to the contractors) by who was still in the office after lunch and not "travelling home". The programme was still running six years later and hadn't delivered fully. It might even still be going.
Where do I start....?
With the company that decided that domestic flights weren't going to be permitted? So when I tried to book my regular flight from middle England to central Scotland for a day trip (it was in the early days of budget airlines so flights were cheaper than getting to the airport), told me I had to go by train instead - which would have turned it into a 2.5 day trip involving spending at least one night on a station platform.
Or the same company that decided hire cars were prohibited also? So having finally won the argument about the flight, I asked for a hire car to get me from Edinburgh airport to the site in a very small very remote village, they suggested I get a train. Would you like to have a look at the rail network in Scotland? Ah yes, but you still can't have a hire car. Their solution? They could book a car with a driver to collect me from the airport and deliver me to and from the site... So I cant have a hire car but I can have a chauffeur?
Or the companies (several) that insist on a maximum rate for a hotel room? So I can't stay at *that* hotel which is across the road from the office but is £3 a night over rate, but I can stay at *that* hotel which is within rate but will involve a £10 cab fare each way between hotel and office?
Or the company (singular) that applied the above but decided there was no need to apply a London uplift. I might possibly have been able to find a room at the rate available, but it would probably have been renting rooms by the hour. Alternatively I could stay in the home counties and get a peak rate train into central London.
However the absolute prize has to go to the company that decided staff below director grade were not entitled to private accommodation when travelling and booked everyone else into twin rooms. The first time that happened (we'd been the shafted part of a "merger"), half my particular team refused to check in, walked out of the hotel and drove home. Our director (I was told later) was told to start disciplinary proceedings against the people concerned; whilst he no doubt used more than two words in his response, you can probably guess that nothing happened....
A good few years back I was supposed to go to a meeting in Hampshire which got changed to a meeting in London which I couldn't then get to so agreed to dial into alongside a few other remote attendees, whilst everyone else sat round a table with the audio coming out of the ceiling speakers. I couldn't find a meeting room/quiet office where I was so dialled in on my Blackberry with wired earphones plugged in and listened.
About 30 minutes in, the PHB introduced the latest consultant who launched into his spiel about what a GENIUS he was and what changes he was going to make to how we managed comms (which was actually one of the few things that worked REALLY well on that programme, as we'd already hooked into all of the longstanding effective channels the company had and people looked at) and what BRILLIANT new tools he was going to introduce and how we would LEVERAGE these ASSETS to make a PARADIGM SHIFT (you get the idea, right? Dilbert would have had a field day).
No idea how this was being received in London but I had the Blackberry face down on my desk and my head in my hands, muttering "you ****ing idiot, what ****ing planet are you on?" or words to that effect.
The sounds from London stopped abruptly and a voice said "who said that? who's dialled into this call?"
At which point I spotted the microphone on the earphone cord which was still only a few inches away from my lips...
More recently I have typed a comment about a meeting attendee into the meeting chat window rather than the 1-2-1 chat window I had open with another attendee. Fortunately the offending person was so busy pontificating he wasn't looking at the chat. If he was, he's never mentioned it anyway.
KYB - Know Your Boss
As in, if you cough up, will they throw you under the bus, or will they protect your arse while you fix stuff?
As an occasional boss (although hopefully not a PHB variety) I work on the basis that if you tell me you messed up my job is to run interference for you, if someone else tells me I'll wring your bloody neck. This does occasionally include the following sort of conversation:
Them - we broke something, we're going to fix it
Me - what are you going to do?
Them - you don't want to know
Me - okay
I believe in politics its called plausible deniability.
Editing the autocorrect function is far more entertaining, although you do have to have access to an unlocked session to do it. The trick is to ensure that the replaecment word is vaguely similar and the human eye skips over it, eg leave becomes love, shrug becomes shag, etc
None of my colleagues have ever done such a thing.
Everywhere other than the US and China, you're dealing with Uber in the Netherlands (both as a driver and a user). Most probably because of the tax position that the corporate structure benefits from...
http://fortune.com/2015/10/22/uber-tax-shell/ (old but it won't have changed)
Two months to discover that the lost laptop had an entire payroll on it? Did they not ask the questions, or did the owner not tell them what they'd done?
It will all have been on the laptop because HR people are very important and have to have immediate access to all the data they need, which nobody else is allowed to go near of course. But they can be trusted with that kind of confidential important information!
@ledswinger A naked gardener isn't high on my list of interesting things - possibly because I live in a top floor apartment with no garden. A naked Chippendale doing the housework? Actually I'd settle for any body else doing the housework to be honest.
I met a couple who'd set up a naked butler service in Glasgow a few years ago (they offered to hire my mate's son). All their staff wore an appropriate butler's apron, which the hiring customer was *not* permitted to touch or move, it was actually a lot more appealing than the fully naked version.
@Olivier2553, if you're in the UK you can buy it mail order from Lindt
I also know you can buy it in Waitrose (and allegedly Sainsburys and Tesco but the butler doesn't shop at those establishments).
Data scripts...wonderful things! Some years ago I was working on a data migration for a corporate demerger (customer was an arse, objected to me doing terrible things like wanting to use encryption on files relating to HR and payroll records) and the functional techie came up with a script to do the extract. It looked good in theory but something I couldn't identify made my nose twitch so I ended up taking it to the lead Oracle DBA (who was the kind of BOFH that didn't believe anyone should be allowed near "his" systems: developers, support analysts and users alike) who read it through in silence and then explained in no uncertain terms exactly how much damage it would do to the platform if executed, followed by exactly how much damage he proposed doing to its author. We negotiated (he was okay if you asked him for things in the right way really) and I gave it back to the techie with the edited highlights.
While the techie was reconsidering his life choices, I decided to google the problem - only to discover the EXACT wording of the script (formatting and spelling mistakes included) in the very first returned site. Which is how I first discovered stackexchange.
Never been fortunate enough (although the last employer didn't tell HMRC that I'd left and they weren't paying me any longer, with the result that HMRC then changed my tax code to reflect that my salary had doubled....) but about 15 years ago, several employers ago, the Head of IT was let go (following a vile takeover for him to be replaced by a useless PHB). Nine months later, he turned up on site for a service - in his company car. Turns out that, although he'd been let go (and paid a settlement figure to avoid a tribunal) HR hadn't stopping paying his salary (and new PHB hadn't spotted the cost), providing medical cover or asked him to return the car, his laptop, his security pass, etc, etc He'd been putting all the money into a specific savings account so he could return it if asked.
Not IT related in any way but, like many people, I spent some of my early adult life working behind a bar. A good number of the other staff were students taking their first job to supplement their university grant, and therefore deemed ripe for practical jokes by the regular clientele. Added to the usual funnies about telephone calls for Mike Hunt (pre-mobile era....), the local speciality on a first shift was asking for a pint of Guinness shandy. Ignoring the fact of this being a criminal waste of the black stuff, the first introduction of Guinness to a glass half full of lemonade resulting in a volcanic explosion of froth, embarrassed barman, next attempt, more waste, more embarrassment, another attempt, etc until another member of staff intervened and the customers placed their real order.
All fine until they tried it on a young home counties lad, not realising that he'd spent his entire life living in a pub and been pulling pints since he was in primary school. One "perfect" pint of Guinness shandy and an out-stretched hand for the payment later, and that particular joke was permanently retired...
What you may not realise is that for half the population, having "pockets" in clothes isn't an option. There is a whole tranche of feminist writings on the topic....https://mic.com/articles/133948/the-weird-complicated-sexist-history-of-pockets#.IMpjS0q4C
And while I'm reasonably sure nobody else is going to appreciate my enthusiasm, I LOVE my handbag (with or without a phone in it). But it is most definitely a physics-defying space inside, I will never need a Tardis...
A former (thank god!) colleague of mine had his message ringtone set to an audio clip of his toddler daughter saying "daddy, daddy, a message!" complete with Violet-Elizabeth Bott lisp, at high volume.
I hate open plan offices. And HR rules that prevent me bringing a sledgehammer into the office.
Clearly not - and be grateful. It involves spending a lump of time (usually in the idle of the night) talking to generic managers who don't know or understand what your specific area of technology is about, never mind your change so that they can make the decision to do the thing you knew about several hours ago.
As a (former) gun owner in the UK, I never figured out why the US pro-firearms-legislation didn't take the pitch of managing licensing. Take the approach of "all right thinking Americans can have a licence and own a weapon, it's only the criminals and lunatics and foreigners that can't". Definition of "right thinking American" to obviously match your own prejudices and social values....
I can piss off my colleagues but I don't think I've ever done it to the extent that any of them would want to murder me. :-(
So if you've got a vacancy for a taxi driver in Seattle, you target your advertising at the following categories:
current or former job as "driver"
interest in "cars"
you don't target
What's the problem?
It would be illegal in most countries of the world for me to go to an agency and ask them to recruit me a male developer for a role, why would it be acceptable for me to ask for an advert to be targetted only to men? It *is* the 21st century....
I made the mistake of reading this whilst dialled into a very dull conference call, sat in a very quiet but populated office (I know it's beer o'clock but it ain't happening today!). I now have two sets of people trying to work out why I've fallen off my chair, with my legs crossed, tears rolling down my cheeks and a hand pressed over my mouth to stop the inarticulate squeaks and random noises escaping...
An entirely non-technical tactic - I use a second credit card (issued by a provider I have no other financial ties with) for every single online transaction I do, and check its transactions frequently. My main card - which has a higher credit limit - never goes near a website, and nothing on earth would induce me to put bank account card details into a website (except within my own bank's website). It's not going to stop someone getting the details, but it will reduce the inconvenience to me if it happens.
It also made it really easy for the main card provider to spot a fraudulent transaction when the offline card appeared to be used on an online transaction, as it was completely out of pattern.
Only for the user community surely as there would be no "IT function" in the company any more? And no IT system would mean no finance system and no means of tracking or paying anyone....?
It probably depends on the size of the respective parties but outsourcing companies are probably more likely to tolerate delayed/lack of payments than an employee would.
Some years ago I was working on a programme to implement a new HR system for a large UK-based multinational group and during testing spotted that the access wasn't segregated so that any user then had access to all employee records, up to and including the board. The programme team (who were already several million overspent and a year behind schedule) refused to accept this as an issue and insisted that the product was "working as intended". So I took a screen shot of part of the HR Director's record, blocked out some parts of it, and emailed it to him, with the words "I don't believe I should be able to see this..." and surprise surprise, there was suddenly a defect being fixed. I never did win the argument about not using production personal data for testing though.
The previous owner of my flat was rather prone to doing random bits of DIY that really should have been done by a professional, so I have multiple plug sockets in rooms in random places, and mixes of wall and ceiling lights running off multiple circuits. When I first moved in, my dad was up helping me replace a nearly-antique fluorescent tube in the kitchen with something more modern that I could actually still but bulbs for. We worked out that there were two separate circuits in the main fuse box and switched off all the fuses to cut the entire power supply into the property, and dad picked up the drill. At which point the penny dropped that the mains-powered radio in the kitchen was still active....I've never yet worked out where that circuit comes into the property or how to turn it off. I've also never put a drill into any wall myself and warn any tradesman coming in - they've never solved it either but they've all survived.
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