* Posts by SteyBrae

29 posts • joined 24 Apr 2008

Capita IT Services staff plan strike over pay this Friday


Re: Crucifixion? You lucky lucky bastard

Is there a trade union to represent you and your fellow workers in pay negotiations? And are you a member of that trade union? That is the best (only?) way to have any clout when it comes to deciding how little the company can get away with.

Health minister asks elderly patients what they think of data-sharing


Re: Brits to respond to those proposals?

Just the usual sloppy reporting ... sigh. Note that Wales has a separate NHS, and so does Northern Ireland.

It would help if they changed Hunt's job title to "Secretary of State for Health - England" and the name of the service to "English National Health Service".

NHS trust: Not buying through NHS IT saved us £7m


Re: Well

I agree with most of what you say. Having watched a sub-committee of MPs quiz the NPfIT CEO Richard Granger along with some ineffectual civil servants, I'm surprised NPfIT delivered as much as it did. It appeared that the MPs and civil servants were almost completely clueless.


Re: Not as good as it sounds.

Looked at the video clip - I see what you mean about the UI - it's terrible!

ALL NHS patient records online by 2015


Lazy journalism (take 2)

When will the buffoons who write about "The nation’s medical records" and "the NHS" and "Blighty's health service patients’ medical records" take on board the fact that all this applies only to England. As far as I am aware, the plans mentioned do not apply to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Amount of ice in Bering Sea reaches all-time record


Never mind the hippies ...

... what about the Lewis Page worshippers? How many of the poor deluded souls are there out there?

Listen guys, the clue is in the working title - GLOBAL Climate Change. See? It's about a rising trend in the AVERAGE temperature of the PLANET which is apparent if you compare decadal chunks of time; nothing to do with localised increases or decreases in one location in a few successive years. Stop slavering over month to month changes that appear to go the "wrong" way. Learn some basic statistics. Read the Feb 2012 edition of "significance", the journal of the American Statistical Association and the Royal Statistical Society.


1-in-3,200 chance* that a fiery satellite chunk will hit someone on Friday


It could be YOU

That is all.

UK Serious Fraud Office mulls News Corp probe


Tom "I'll speak to you later, James, I'm interrogating your Dad just Now" Watson MP

Has done, and is still doing, a great job.

BSkyB/News Corp merger: Wait for the cops, says Ofcom


Reply to the consultation, Luke.

Lots of justifiable outrage being expressed. Don't waste it - reply to the consultation on News Corp's takeover of BSkyB. Here's the link:


Closing date is 12pm 8 July 2011.

Chinese coal blamed for global warming er... cooling


"A team of two geographers and two economists ..."

Are you serious? I can't think of any reason to believe they know much more about global climate change than I do.

Boy George promises to cut employment rights


Re: I'll give you an opinion... #

"As an RBSer who's just about to be given the boot:"

So they're transferring your job to India? You have my sympathies.

Oz bank meltdown due to file corruption cock-up


Entropy tends to a maximum.

Now guys, remember the third law of Thermodynamics - "entropy tends to a maximum" or to put it another way - "Things get worse."

You can do all the testing that's practically possible, and run it in development and testing systems before putting it live, but it can still go bad. You need to be prepared for that to happen in spite of all your efforts, and to be able to back out to the state that last worked happily with minimum outage.


Would you travel as a passenger in a plane that was being flown by a cut price pilot who had never flown that kind of plane before? Just remember that pilot who crash landed with his passengers and crew on the Hudson River in New York.

"that's why we test the change & backout in as close to live as possible, the day before we do any changes." Good, you'll go far.


"they cannot have followed dev, test prod and therefore that's a FAIL, not an accident," Uh ohh, you need more experience of the real world. It just ain't as easy as you think it is.

My lost Cobol years: Integrating legacy management


Ah yes, Y2K

I still have fond memories of leaving work at 8pm on 31 Dec 1999, stone cold sober, and walking home through the drunken festivities while being paid £80 an hour to be on standby in case the next shift of guts needed help if / when the sh*t hit the fan.

Imitate Real Ale quaffers, save the economy, says biz prof


Sigh ...

The article talks about "UK economy", "England", "the country", "British culture", "Blighty", and "the UK". You don't really get the idea that the UK is different from Britain, is different from England, do you Lewis?

We have CAMRA in other parts of the UK as well as England, you know.

Sip a pint of quality ale and read this Wikipedia article - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom

BT boss brands Britain illiterate


Education, education, education

When T Blair spoke the words, I assumed he meant that education was a very important thing to help children learn, develop themselves, and lead fulfilling lives. And maybe he did.

Unfortunately what happened in the following years was that education continued as a political football and also suffered from the introduction of inappropriate managerial techniques, in particular the unholy regime of pupil testing that was introduced in England.

While the stated reason for this was to allow teachers to monitor the progress of children, it was quickly seized on to provide spreadsheet fodder so that schools could be measured and league tables could be constructed to "prove" that usually kids from rich and leafy suburbs did better than kids from poor inner city estates.

This led to the idea of "failing schools", and threats to sack headteachers, so of course heads made sure that their school did well enough in the league tables to avoid that danger, and Ofsted seemed to be blind to the erosion of real education i.e. learning how to think, and its replacement by cramming for the next test. Teachers even began to "teach to the test" - spend a large part of the school year preparing kids to sit the next test, doing practics tests, etc. No wonder kids learned to hate going to school and hate the boring narrowness of what they experienced there.

What do we see now? Gove, the new Minister for Education, wants to divert money away from state schooling and give it to local interest groups who want to set up their own schools, based on a model from Sweden that the Swedish education minister has already stated has not improved education there.

Demand better - much better - from your politicians. Contact your MP and tell him/her how you want the education system to change.

Internet 1 - England goalkeeper 0


So it's not just Scottish 'keepers then !

I knew it , I knew it. Jim Leighton must feel a whole lot better every time he replays that clip.

Lack of government won't slow gov IT spending


They're all users.

"... a coalition of losers ..."

Nobody won an overall majority, so we have a hung, or balanced, parliament.

Lab + Lib (15M) represent more voters than Con (10M).

The parties have to negotiate and agree a workable deal.

Doctors aim to have Chief Medical Officer struck off


MTAS was a disaster

MMC - Modernising Medical Careers - is the programme for postgraduate medical training in the UK, introduced in 2005. It aimed to provide a fairer system for medics to apply for specialty training, and to enable the best of them to become consultants quicker than the previous system.

MTAS was the computer system set up for doctors who had (a) completed their medical degrees, and (b) done 2 post-graduate years of training, to apply for further training posts where they would develop their medical skills in a particular specialty while working as doctors.

At the time they were applying the training for each doctor had cost the taxpayer approx £250K - a quarter of a million pounds.

From the start MTAS ran into difficulties. As the deadline date for submitting applications approached, the website failed due to the high numbers of applications being prepared and submitted.

Incredibly, the online application form consisted of shortlisting questions with space for 150-word answers. One of the changes promoted by the new system was that little (25%) importance was given to past experience, achievements, or examinations passed in the specialties, while the majority of the weighting for selection was based on the 150-word answers in the electronic application form (75% weighting). This was in sharp contrast to the previous CV-led process where past experience, achievements and examinations passed in the specialties were used to shortlist candidates for interview.

So you, dear taxpayer, are likely to have ended up with the applicants who were best able to spin, brag and boast rather than those who had the best experience, achievements or exam passes. Is that what you want?

On the basis of these sometimes fatuous questions - e.g. "Describe a situation where you displayed empathy" - doctors were shortlisted or not for interview for the training posts available.

Shortlisting was widely regarded as uneven and unfair, with the Tooke Report noting: "Some excellent candidates not shortlisted. Many very poor candidates were shortlisted."

And remember, many of the excellent candidates not shortlisted left the UK and went to posts in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere, taking their UK taxpayer funded training with them, costing you £250K each time.

Read more about this sorry tale on Wikipedia, under MMC and MTAS.

Global warming dirt-carbon peril models are wrong, say boffins


I know zip but I deny it !

I see we have the usual share of folks who don't know much about the science but who are sure that climate change is a hoax / a conspiracy / another excuse for a tax.

Have a read of this news item from Reuters: http://bit.ly/bjdVIM

Tories may scrap IR35 tax rules for contractors


Blowin' in the wind

Tories to electorate: "What policy would you like us to have?"

Electorate who are contractors: "Scrap IR35 rules for contractors."

Tories: "If elected, we'll scrap IR35 ..."

Electorate: "Yeh, right."

Outlook bleak for NHS IT


Baby and bath water

It sounds from the 2 posts at 23rd March 15:42 and 23rd March 23:11 as if there are some "good things" coming out now from the investment made.

It would be madness to scrap it all now for political or short term economic reasons. By all means ditch the dirty bath water but please keep the babies - they took a long and expensive time to conceive.

Health records riddled with errors


Dodgy data, not a dodgy database

AC - My Experience - Friday 19th March 2010 14:09 GMT

I'm sure you're right. If the data being uploaded to the NPfIT database from GPs' surgery systems is poor quality, it's not going to improve in quality just by being uploaded.

AC - crap medical databases - Friday 19th March 2010 14:33 GMT

"... little room for additional explanation, clarification or subtlety that might exist in the paper records." An important point - the database is apparently removing the ability to include notes to explain / modify / temper the bald facts recorded.

When we in Scotland had our (minimal) personal data uploaded to the equivalent database, we were given the option to ask our GP surgery to provide a printout of the data being uploaded from their system. I asked for mine on my next visit but my GP couldn't figure out how to print it off and offered to show me it on her screen instead! Shucks.

It's foolish to rant and blame every fault on the government, or the computer project. No record system, whether held on paper or on computer system, is ever going to be 100% accurate.

Microsoft releases Vista virtualization

Thumb Up


MED-V-Dev. Nice one John! - gotta new motor?

Health minister promises Rate-My-Doc! service


Which NHS?

Luckily, it just applies to England, not the whole of the NHS.

UK ramps up health über-database


Data security

I was also invited to take part, and asked for more information about the project's data security before committing myself. I didn't get any reply to my request so didn't take part. Shame - I would have liked to help.

Brown gov will make 'big commitment' to carbon capture



Good morning to you too, Lee.

First, apologies if you feel treated like a nutter / shill / idiot / troll. Of course, these do exist but so do rational, sensible people like yourself. Oh, and Gore hasn't done a perfect job of trying to alert people to climate change - his film was too sensationalist and not completely accurate.

The evidence is strong, but you have to look for it and separate it out from the misguided or deliberately misleading stuff that exists too. That's why I posed he question "how do you decide who and what to believe on this issue?"

For my part, I have done my best over the past 10 years or so to look at the evidence put forward by people who I think are objective and can be trusted. These are mainly scientists, including David King, the former chief scientific adviser to the Government, Chris Rapley, Director of the Science Museum and formerly Director the British Antarctic Survey, and many other less well known scientists who work in various disciplines associated with climate science and research. All those I have spoken with are in no doubt that big changes are happening, now.

You rightly point out that the earth's climate has changed a great deal in the past and ask why it's different this time round. The short answer is, I understand, that the world population is much larger now than before, humans now exploit the planet's resources on a much greater scale than ever before, and release much more greenhouse gas - CO2, methane, etc - than before. The temperature is shooting up at an unprecedented rate, and it's accelerating.

Oh, and it's not MY cause, it's OUR cause i.e. all of us on earth.


Summary of deniers' arguments so far

Goodness, some people are determined not to see what's happening around them.

The Arctic is melting, Greenland is melting, there has been a drought in Australia for years, spring is starting earlier, the world population is growing exponentially, the price of food - wheat, rice, etc - has increased dramatically.

Climate change has not been proven to be the cause of all of these events, but they are the sorts of happenings that are predicted to take place because of climate change. It's not looking good.

Here is a summary of the arguments deployed so far to ridicule the idea of climate change, and the monikers of the posters who put them, or similar arguments, forward. Please think again people, don't be blinded by cynicism, and look for good quality information.


It's all a plot by UK Gov / Oil Companies / Climate Change Fanatics

Nev, Sillyfellow, Chris, "lol", Vladimir Plouzhnikov -- (sorry Vlad - most of your post was good)

Climate Change is not happening -- "so lets get this right", Jamtits

Carbon Capture wont work -- "Carbon capture is ...", Andy Pryke

Scientists using Climate Change as an excuse to get more money -- "peer reviewed papers", Robert Harrison, @ "to 'climate skeptics'",

Environmentalists want to live in mud huts -- @ "to 'climate skeptics'"


@ LoL

Oh dear, another (d) who seems to think I'm a climate change fanatic. However, I'm genuinely interested to know your opinion. Do you think:

(1) the climate is not changing but just varying within the usual ice age bounds.

(2) the climate is changing, but the change is not caused by human activity.

(3) the climate is changing, but we can do nothing to avoid the consequences.

Also, do you have the same views as "peer reviewed papers" above who seems to think we can't believe the body of scientific evidence and there is nothing worth believing in the IPCC reports?

Last question - how do you decide who and what to believe on this issue?


@ "peer reviewed papers"

You appear to be one of the (d)'s.


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