* Posts by Simon Ward

893 posts • joined 3 Apr 2007


Hungry? Please enjoy this delicious NaN, courtesy of British Gas and Sainsbury's

Simon Ward

Who knows what else have they rushed through testing like that?

What is this 'testing' of which you speak?

It's not fun, shiny and (fr)agile so why bother? That's what your customers are for.

Simon Ward

Its British Gas. I never expected less, and am surprised that there is not more.

Oh there is, soooo much more - you have no idea. Their website is a clusterfuck of epic precautions - the login process is painful enough and it just gets worse from there.

The British Gas website pretty much sums up everything that is wrong with modern software 'development', to whit: spaghetti coding: chuck stuff at the wall and keep the stuff that sticks, irrespective of whether it works or not[*].

Is $FRAMEWORK or $METHODOLOGY new and shiny? If so, crowbar it in there and fuck the consequences - form triumphs over function eleven times out of ten.

Why pay for QA/testing when your long-suffering customers will do all of that for free.

[*] - I would say that the Hive website was the Ur-example of this, but it seems to have settled down a bit of late, both in terms of 'style' and stability.

Reviewing and profiling your code is boring? Well, Amazon will now sell you an AI editor to do it for you

Simon Ward

So a 100,000-line code base processed in one go will set you back $750

Who knew that "Hello, world!" could be so costly ....

... still, if you write stuff in Java you're probably used to that.

'It's really hard to find maintainers...' Linus Torvalds ponders the future of Linux

Simon Ward

Re: I wonder why?

Toss in a genetic algorithm and you might find your solution before the heat death of the universe.

Or you'll re-invent Perl ...

Simon Ward

Re: I wonder why?

It's all just ones and zeroes. If it isn't a one then it's a zero. How hard can that be?

Getting the ones and zeroes is the easy bit ... it's putting them together in the right order that's the trick.

As the late, great Eric Morecambe once said: I'm playing all the right notes, just not necessarily in the right order ...


Simon Ward

Re: I wonder why?

Linus' potty mouth notwithstanding, let's not forget that some of this shit is hard - my last tussle with the kernel was way back in the 2.mumble days where I had to write a couple of drivers for some hardware in my lab - my C chops were a lot better back then but even so, hacking on the kernel was not for the faint of heart (one bit of hardware was sorta-kinda supported, which made life a bit easier, but the other wasn't so I had to work from datasheets and whatnot and write everything from scratch) - still gives me nightmares.

You want documentation? Well, there's the code itself ... other than that, good luck!

I probably wouldn't even know where to start now.

There's also the 'some of this stuff is boring' aspect - whilst you'll probably have no shortage of people queuing up to work on the latest shiny shiny or the $ARCHITECTURE_DU_JOUR, there's no escaping the fact that the 'boring' stuff in the kernel will need occasional care and feeding as well, and that's not as sexy by half and people will be less inclined to do anything once the current maintainers have moved on[*]

[*] - I'm one of those developers who actually enjoys working on the 'boring' stuff. It's a dirty job, but someone's gotta do it ...

Apple said to be removing charger, headphones from upcoming iPhone 12 series

Simon Ward

It's a bit of a running joke round here, but:

- The Audi logo is referred to as "The Olympic Rings Of Twattery",

- Audi itself is an acronym for "A Useless Driver Inside"

- BMW actually stands for "Bloody Minded Wanker" (or, as a German-speaking colleague of mine had it, "Bayerische MistWagen")

(and another wag pointed out that the Porsche Cayenne is proof that Germans do actually have a sense of humour)

White Audi TTs in particular are filed under "things to run away from very fast" since they always seem to be driven by hairdressers with the spatial awareness of a goldfish and the IQ of a can of soup.

BMW and Audi do make some very nice cars, but the image is tainted by some of the idiots who drive them. Much the same could be said about Apple products ...

Splunk to junk masters and slaves once a committee figures out replacements

Simon Ward

Enough ....

TBH, I'd rather have the folks working at $WHEREVER slaving[*] away developing code which works rather than sitting in healing circles wringing their hands about whether or not someone, somewhere will be offended by what has been written.

Y'know what? I don't give a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut whether your code uses 'master/slave', 'parent/child' or 'this/that' - as long as it works, I don't care. I really don't. If you must insist on this new-age, touchy-feely, snowflake bullshit then please, keep it to yourselves - or failing that, you can look through some of my code: the terminology used therein would probably make your fragile little heads explode.

[*] - yeah, I used 'slaving'. Downvote away ...

Contact-tracing app may become a permanent fixture in major Chinese city

Simon Ward

Re: So

Oh, I reckon that Priti Vacant is already taking notes ...

Berlin's renowned nightclub scene is showing signs of life. Just one problem: No dancing

Simon Ward

I personally would settle for 'just another beer garden' at this point.......

I'll settle for 'another beer' - I don't give a rat's ass about the surroundings, although on balance I think I'd rather be in Berlin rather than this pathetic excuse for a country.

Simon Ward

The Goodies predicted this in 1979 ...

(RIP, Tim ...)

As Amazon's stock price soars and Bezos adds to his billions, affiliates face massive cuts in their commissions

Simon Ward

Re: I Would be grateful if You could find a New Photo of the Ineffable Bezos

Sorted ...


(of course, it should be BEEEEELLLLION dollars, but you get the general idea)

From Brit telly presenter Eamonn Holmes to burning 5G towers in the Netherlands: Stupid week turns into stupid fortnight for radio standard

Simon Ward

Giving credence to such ideas merely reinforces them, and contributes to an atmosphere where gullible rubes set fire to 4G antennas, because they're too fucking stupid to know the difference.

And therein lies the nub of the problem (emphasis mine) ... these are the same fools who are lauding Spaffer and Hancockup as saviours of the NHS despite plenty of evidence to the contrary.

George Carlin was right ... if my code scaled as well as stupidity appears to then I'd be happy indeed.

Upstart Americans brandish alligators at the almighty Reg Standards Soviet

Simon Ward

Re: I err on the side of caution.

"I keep 1 TrumpEgo away from everyone else to limit the ability of anyone to infect me."

How many Beeblebroxes[1] is that?

[1] - because, as any fule kno, Zaphod Beeblebrox's ego is the largest thing in the universe.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, health secretary Matt Hancock both test positive for COVID-19 coronavirus

Simon Ward

Re: Thought for the day

In these trying times, when we are all advised to cough or sneeze into the crook of our arm, please spare a thought for those poor unfortunates who can't tell their arse from their elbow.

Oh come now, that's easy ... the arse is the bit they speak out of.

Simon Ward

Re: Lets hope

I hope he's OK, because if he isn't we'll end up with Dominic fucking Raab running the show.

You know, the foreign secretary who didn't even know that Dover was a port ...

Our 'solution is killing us in a number of areas' IBM said about doomed £175m Co-Op Insurance project

Simon Ward

Re: Oh look, another failed megaproject

Brilliant at ditching people.

Services, not so much.

Are we having fund yet, npm? CTO calls for patience after devs complain promised donations platform has stalled

Simon Ward

Re: This is some serious stupid

And he didn't think of this from the beginning... why?

Because bandwagons wait for no man?

Linux in 2020: 27.8 million lines of code in the kernel, 1.3 million in systemd

Simon Ward

Re: I've had .....

I think he really is an Employee of MicroSoft in disguise ... or a total asshat .....

The former would be difficult to prove.

The latter .... not so much.

He's the new millennium's answer to Joerg Schilling (if you don't know who he is then look him up - Poettering clearly took asshattery lessons from him)

And yeah, PulseAudio is an absolute fucking abomination.

Smart speaker maker Sonos takes heat for deliberately bricking older kit with 'Trade Up' plan

Simon Ward

Re: another 'Google is Evil' example

Didn't Lewis pass away?


Maybe you're confusing Lewis with Lester? (Gawd rest his soul)

Exploring AWS CodeGuru: New automated code review has smart features – but Java-only

Simon Ward

Re: IP

Won't stop the imbeciles in the C-suite crawling all over it like a rash, though, and the people who actually do the work will have to use it whether they want to or not.

(until they receive their first invoice, that is ...)

Behuld – zee-a internet ouff tuilet tissuoe at Meecrusufft Sveden. Bork bork bork!

Simon Ward

Oh, sweet Zarquon ...

Looks like someone gave manglement a copy of 'Snow Crash'[1] to read and they took it a bit too literally ...

[1] - see here ...

Medic! Uncle Sam warns hospitals not to use outdated IPnet freely on their networks

Simon Ward

Re: Get decent IT staff and make the insurance companies pay for it.

"You'd think with the amount Americans are overcharged for their healthcare that they would have the best IT that money could buy."

Nope, just the best lawyers money can buy ...

Dropbox Paper: Handy for collaborating... oh and harvesting email addresses, too

Simon Ward

Time to resurrect my ownCloud (or whatever it happens to be calling itself this week) setup.

Or maybe treat myself to a NAS box.

I've cancelled my Dropbox Business service largely because of the 20%+ price increase they tried to slip under the radar but also because even if I did use all of the space on offer I'd undoubtedly run into problems with backups/rehoming of data should everything go wahoonie-shaped. Whilst it was highly unlikely that I'd ever use Dropbox Paper, the fact that it hoovers data up doesn't surprise me in the least.

In the immortal words of The Exploited: "Fuck 'em".

Google age discrimination case: Supervisor called me 'grandpa', engineer claims

Simon Ward

Re: very old to be in IT but not management

but then, 'not a good fit' or 'not exactly what we were looking for' could mean 'too old, grandad'

Or 'too expensive' (you want experience? Well that don't come cheap ...)

Or 'you're more experienced than any of us and that scares us shitless'.

"Not a good fit" I can understand - it's something I get a lot because I have this annoying tendency to think for myself, but the "not exactly what we're looking for" always makes me laugh - if you put a list of $TECH_DU_JOUR on your job requirements then that's never going to happen, particularly if you're asking for x years of experience in a technology that has been around for y years (where x << y - yes, I've had this and yes, it makes your hiring manager look like a complete idiot)

Finally, even if they can't deduce my age from my experience (finished my first degree in 1992, PhD in 1996 - work it out) it's always fun telling the slave traders that I'm quite happy doing what I'm doing, thank you so very much. They seem to have a hard time with this.

I can't really call myself a 'greyhair' 'cos to do that I'd need, y'know, actual hair.

Ditto for 'greybeard' - having more hair on my chin than the top of my head is just plain embarrassing ;-)

I really should compile all the bullshit excuses I've had into a book - never mind a sabbatical, I could probably afford to retire on the proceeds.

Simon Ward

Re: This nothing new, other companies done that in the last 20 years or more.

Having recently turned 50 I'm painfully aware that I'm very, very old to be in IT but not management -- to the extent that I've started teaching myself some basic carpentry and DiY skillz in the hopes of having some sort of income when the inevitable happens and I stop getting invited to interview for a new job. (Current place is a hellmouth, I'm only hanging on because it's in the City, Brexit's frozen the jobs market, and I've been here long enough to get paltry but non-zero payoff if they want to make me redundant when the business ups and moves to Paris.)

Been there, done that, got the T-shirt .... and I'm not 50 (yet)

I've parlayed my knowledge of electronics and love of all things noisy into a nice little business building synthesisers. I still keep my hand in doing some development work for an old colleague and friend who I actually trust (and, better, trusts _me_) and I'm doing pretty well for myself so far.

Having gone through a year of unemployment and the inevitable round of interiews, broken promises and bullshit excuses for not getting the job despite having all the experience and then some I've decided that the recruitment companies and their ilk can go fuck themselves - I'm finally in a position where I can work on my terms, not those of some complete asshat in middle management.

And y'know what? Not only am I much better off financially (obviously YMMV a lot with this) but I'm a lot happier as well. SWMBO went through a similar palaver, although her field is museums rather than IT, and I'm trying to get her to put her crafting skills to a similar use. If you've got a skill, why not try and make some money with it?

My only regret is that I didn't do this 20 years ago ...

Just what we all needed, lactose-free 'beer' from northern hipsters – it's the Vegan Sorbet Sour

Simon Ward

Re: Waste of a bullet

I have a Chocolate beer in the Fridge (A gift from a friend) I just can't face the utter disappointment that I know it will be.

Depends what it is.

One of the best chocolate beers out there, IMO, is Sam Smith's Chocolate Stout .... better still, the brewery is about 6 miles down the road from me. The Brooklyn Brewery did (still do?) a pretty decent chocolate stout too.

Simon Ward

My fortnightly trip to Leeds for comics and coffee is next week, so I may well swing by the brewery tap and give this a go.

However, I'm a bit leery of any collabs that North Brewing undertake these days, especially after the utter catastrophe that was 'Sour Bru', the beer they did with Brewdog for the 2016(?) Collabfest. Jesus H. Tittyfucking Christ, that stuff tasted like vinegar (and I _like_ sours, gueuze in particular)

Also, as several people have pointed out already, if a beer is unfined or doesn't using isinglass finings then there's a better than even chance that it is vegan anyway.

COBOL: Five little letters that if put on a CV would ensure stable income for many a greybeard coder

Simon Ward

Re: IF Year > 50

"The days when software security meant getting a strong enough elastic band."

Or a cardboard box, if you were really pushing the boat out.

I remember during the first week after I started my PhD I was going through some of the assorted gubbins in the lab which included, amongst other things, a hole punch and a virgin roll of matching paper tape (as an aside, the punch was a thing of beauty - built like a tank, so I suspect that it might have been something put together by the guys in the mechanical workshop).

There was also a shoebox containing a bunch of punched cards, each _very_ clearly numbered. Knowing that I was a computer wonk by the standards of pretty much everyone else in the physics department, my supervisor pointed out that it was 'how we did things in the dark ages' - the content of the cards? The code that went with _his_ PhD thesis, ca. 1975. Written in FORTRAN, rather than COBOL though.

And who knows, in 60 years time people will be saying the same thing about the CD that contained the code and whatnot for my thesis (the less said about the code the better - FORTRAN as written by someone who's first language at the time was C)

Looming US immigration crackdown aims to weed out pre-crime of poverty. And that may be bad news for techie families

Simon Ward

Re: Lack of English proficiency.

To remove racial bias, have Jacob Rees-Mogg set the test.

Then the test would be in Latin, and someone would have to tell the Tangerine Fucktrumpet that "Latin" =/= "Latin America" ...

(for those fortunate enough not to know about Rees-Mogg, let's just say he's a swivel-eyed loon who seems to live in the 18th century and would gladly bring workhouses and compulsory Latin lessons if he thought he could get away with it. One newspaper described him as "a thoroughly modern bigot", which is all you really need to know)

Simon Ward

Re: "immigration officials determined $1m would be necessary"

And you still call yourself a democracy ?

It's the best democracy that money can buy.

It's the American way. Or something.

Fantastic Mr Fox? Not when he sh*ts on your lawn, kids' trampoline and your soul

Simon Ward

Mind you, one of those automatic airsoft guns pumping out a stream of plastic BBs might do the trick. Could be a Reg project - can we build a replica Phalanx CIWS using a Raspberry Pi, an airsoft gun and some open source AI/ML pattern recognition sw so it doesn't blast holes through Tiddles and Rover?

Wherever Lester is now, Gawd bless 'im, I'm sure he's smiling and nodding agreement. Just needs an appropriately pithy name and acronym and half the battle is won.

Make it so!

Elon Musk's new idea is to hook your noggin up to an AI – but is he just insane about the brain?

Simon Ward

Re: some of Charlie Stross' work is in a similar vein

Agreed - The Hydrogen Sonata is very good, and well worth a read. It follows on from Excession pretty neatly. My introduction to the Culture was 'Consider Phlebas' when a guy staying in our flat at Uni said 'you like sci-fi, give this a whirl ...'. I didn't get into his non-SF stuff until quite a bit later, probably after having heard "Espedair Street" on the radio now that I think about it.

I may be misremembering but I think "The Crow Road" might have got the R4 Book at Bedtime treatment at some point as well.

Re-reading "The Steep Approach To Garbadale" at the moment - for someone who claimed to have had a happy childhood and stable family, Banks wrote the 'dysfunctional Scottish family' amazingly well (see also "The Crow Road" and "Whit")

Simon Ward

Re: some of Charlie Stross' work is in a similar vein

Although it isn't sci-fi, I can recommend the BBC Scotland production of "The Crow Road" - pretty much a who's who of Scottish actors of the time (including a younger Peter Capaldi) and it actually does the book justice.

In fact, if you're not familiar with Banks' non-SF work then "The Crow Road" and "Espedair Street"[*] (made into a radio series on, I believe, Radio 4, a few years ago) are good places to start.

[*] - unusual for a Banks book in that it has a happy ending. Sort of.

Simon Ward

Re: Sci-Fi References

Ian M Banks' Culture series isn't a blueprint. It's self indulgent transhumanism.

It's bloody good, self-indulgent transhumanism though ...

(some of Charlie Stross' work is in a similar vein - I live in hope that he and/or Ken McLeod will reach an agreement with Banksy's estate and write a new Culture novel)

Former UK PM Tony Blair urges governments to sort out online ID

Simon Ward

Dear Tony ...

... please fuck off.

Love, hugs and strawberry jam.

cPanel unleashes price hikes on its most dense customers

Simon Ward

It also refers to its employees as "cpeeps".

For this alone, they deserve to be bombed from orbit.


Buckminsterfullerene sounds like the next UK Prime Minister but trust us, it's in fact the largest molecule yet found in interstellar space

Simon Ward

Re: Disappointing

No mention of 'space balls' either ...

The one with the Schwartz in the pocket, thank you ...

DXC Technology warns techies that all travel MUST now be authorised

Simon Ward

Re: "Badass-cum-cloud-wannabe"

Kind of appropriate though, given that their C-suite sound like a complete bunch of wankers ...

(I've had slave-traders try to tempt me with contracts at DXC and HPE ... they got laughed at)

Cyber-IOU notes. Voucher hell on wheels. However you want to define Facebook's Libra, the most ridiculous part is its privacy promise

Simon Ward

There isn't enough 'FUCK, NO' in the world, or indeed the universe, for this.

Do you want a Kool-Aid with that, Huawei? You'll need one after watching boss chat to US mavens

Simon Ward

Re: Says it all, really

Given the shite that tumbles out of Don Cheeto's pie hole on a depressingly regular basis, I suspect a lot of people came to that particular conclusion right at the outset.

Get this: Mad King Leo wanted HP to slurp two other firms alongside ill-fated Autonomy buyout

Simon Ward

This makes me sad, that the company behind the HP-35 has become this weird, Netflix drama of a company.

There are those, myself included, who would say that that particular incarnation of HP died a long, long time ago.

Uncle Sam wants to read your tweets, check out your Instagram, log your email addresses before you enter the Land of the Free on a visa

Simon Ward

Re: No passwords are requested -- Of course not!

It's '1234'

Same as my luggage, in fact.

Sunday seems really quiet. Hmm, thinks Google, let's have a four-hour Gmail, YouTube, G Suite, Cloud outage

Simon Ward

"Put it in the cloud", they said.

"Everything will be grand", they said.

Clouds are great ... until it starts raining.

We are Google, we are proud, English football is moving to our cloud

Simon Ward

Jesus saves, but Buddha scores on the rebound ...

Oracle co-honcho Mark Hurd can't wait to turn your $1 of IT support spend into $4 of pay-as-you-go cloud revenue

Simon Ward

Well they will ... up to the point that something goes wrong.

And it will, despite what the salesdroids and marketurds will tell you.

Then he'll get shaken down so hard his eyeballs will fall out.

Surprising absolutely no one at all, Samsung's folding-screen phones knackered within days

Simon Ward

"You're folding it wrong ..."

Too soon?

Let 15 July forever be known as P-Day: When UK's smut fans started being asked for their age

Simon Ward

I'll give it 24hrs, _absolute_ tops, after implementation before someone finds a way around it which doesn't involve Tor or a VPN.

Also, given how many tits and arses seem to inhabit the place, I wonder if Parliamentary websites will be age-gated ...

Brit prisoners to be kept on the straight and narrow with JavaScript and CSS

Simon Ward

I thought there were laws against 'cruel and unusual' punishment.

Guess I was misinformed.

Hipster whines at tech mag for using his pic to imply hipsters look the same, discovers pic was of an entirely different hipster

Simon Ward

I tried growing a beard once - the 'itchy phase' was absolute hell, but once through that it wasn't actually too bad, and relatively low maintenance too.

Then I realised that having more hair on my chin than on top of my head was bloody embarrassing - being a slaphead and looking like you've swallowed a bear and left its arse hanging out are not a good combo. I've not had a 'close' shave for a while (sensitive skin, and all that) so a going over with the clippers every so often does the trick for me.

Much as the bearded, man-bun'd set make me want to reach for the Clue-by-Four[tm], I won't deny that their appetite for moustache wax, beard oil and other accoutrements does a very good job at keeping my employer in business and, by extension, paying my wages.



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