* Posts by Mark 153

12 posts • joined 8 Jan 2013

ZX Spectrum reboot promising – steady now – 28MHz of sizzling Speccy speed now boasts improved Wi-Fi

Mark 153

I just finished reading Jasper Fforde's latest novel, The Constant Rabbit. So when I read "The Event" I assumed there'd suddenly be a lot of spontaneously anthropomorphised rabbits. Then I felt sad.

Really liked those rabbits.

Ofcom waves DAB radio licences under local broadcasters' noses as FM switchoff debate smoulders again

Mark 153

Re: Great timing...

Hey, I remember commuting, in them big metal boxes with the windows. Got one somewhere.

Ah... outside. We'll tell our grandchildren about outside

Computer says: Stop using MacWrite II, human!

Mark 153

Re: Customer support, not Computer Support

Don't you have corporate procurement where you live? The IT support guys don't insists on you using a crappy app just out of their own perverse pleasure. Someone, somewhere got a licensing deal with Microsoft at that's that.

There's not a desktop support guy in the history of the world that thinks you should be forced to use Lotus Notes, for example, but if that's where the cheque went, they're stuck with it.

In my early days doing desktop support (the only time, run away) the high ups (IT and business) were obsessed about users installing solitaire on their, supposedly locked down, windows 3.11 PCs. The supposed loss of productivity for the users was nothing to the efforts we had to put it.

Hey British coders: DevOps – you're doing it wrong

Mark 153

Ah... same old

The Reg is having a fine old time with Dev Ops. Do you know what I've noticed?

"We implemented dev ops for our new start up"

"Try DevOps first on a mobile app"

"Don't get dragged down by the old legacy systems"

DevOps is great, it seems, if you're starting from scratch. If a good number of your staff weren't outsource in the last bout of IT bait & switch, if you can turn off the 30 year old mess of COBOL running on a mainframe for some reason lazy system admins haven't moved over to, er, what's cool now? Ruby or something, running on AWS

Virtualised networking is hard when you've got a 10 year contract to outsource your network support. Virtual storage is hard when you've just shifted all your storage SAs to Uganda.

Not to mention the fact that your devs are earning $5 a day in Manila and are barely able to code, let alone be trusted with admin access to production.

The reason we're all "doing it wrong" is because unless you work in an office with a soft play area, it's impossible to do right on all but the smallest project.

The reason the separation between Ops and Dev exists is Devs are too gung-ho to be trusted with actual live environments and Ops have spent the last 20 years being centralised and centralised so that they can't really know what everything does because there's so much of it, doing so much disparate things

Apple's OS X App Store downloads knackered by expired security cert

Mark 153

Re: Billion dollar company

Actually, they've probably got a whole team who do that sort of stuff. I'd imagine in India

It's actually harder to keep track of this stuff if you're massive though because it's probably a pain to get a new cert from central certificate management, so devs do it on the sly and forget to tell anyone.

Then it goes live to millions of people

IT contractors raise alarm over HMRC mulling 'one-month' nudge onto payrolls

Mark 153

I'm sure I'm missing something but...

You wouldn't end up being employed by the end client. Your not contracted to them now (mostly), you're contract is with your agent

So, rather than have a B2B relationship with your agent, you're employed by them. They take a percentage of your rate, now referred to as your "salary", to pay for holiday pay, sick pay, etc. When your contract terminates they takes some of that retained money and give it to you as statutory redundancy. The rest they keep for the end of year party.

After that they're effectively a payroll company. They charge you tax and NI at source.

Megacorp(tm) doesn't need to give a crap. You are a resource provided by a third party. That's what you are now to them.

Bring back big gov, right? If only the economics, STUPID, could tell us more

Mark 153

That's rather the flaw though, isn't it.

It's the darwinism of companies. At the board level, year after year it's not in the board's interest to spend on big capital projects to replace "working" core plant.

Until they're so out of date that you can't compete with younger companies with more ambition and less desire to "protect shareholder value" by spending as little money as possible.

Then, the shareholders lose their shareholder value when the companies go bust. The eventual product kept Fred Dibner in work for years.

There's an analogue with today. All those thousands of lines of COBOL, hacked again and again rather than spend the money on migrating to a more flexible hardware platform and a programming language people under 50 know how to use.

Eventually, I'll either fail massively, with all inherent "reputational risk" or the world will change so far away from how it worked in 1979, until smaller, more dynamic companies will no them.

Unless you're a bank, in which case 1960s nationisation kicks in.

Online music world on iRadio: Apple, imagine our concern

Mark 153

Don't want a "radio station"

What I want is, when I select an artist in my library, not to just show the albums I've already got, it also show everything else they've done. Preferably with an automatic playlist of their most popular songs.

I've got spotify, which (in a manual way) allows me to do that. I find myself going, "what was that other song <insert band here> did?" and it's normally near the top of the list.

Just build it in and give me an infinity music library. If I want to listen to the radio, I'll listen to 6 Music on tunein.

Continued lack of women in tech bemoaned by ex-techie lady MP

Mark 153

Re: ICT is not attractive to women

"IT is seen as the opposite of that with its introverted geeky men, slavishly staring at the screen for hours on end, with little or no regard to human contact or personal hygene."

I'm properly sick of that. So, in order to improve take up from one group we must remove the employment opportunities from one of the mostly maligned minorities: The introvert.

A group of people who are instinctively detail focused and are able to focus on a problem without the constant need for other people to define your self worth. This, you'd thought, would be a necessary talent in a field where thinking hard about something until you make sense of it is the primary skill.

Also, the personal hygiene thing is just offensive.

You know how your energy bills are so much worse than they were?

Mark 153

Re: Nuclear, nuclear, nuclear, nuclear....

The trouble is nuclear is, in the end, really expensive.

They're expensive to build. New nuclear plants in France(1) and Finland(2) are both late and massively over budget. They need actual, armed police men (3), rather than security guards. Which the power companies have to pay for.

The power companies then need to guarantee prices before then can continue (4) and are bizarrely expensive to decommission (5).

I'm not against nuclear, it's a highly efficient form of energy generation and if Fukashima showed us anything, it's really safe. Destroyed power station, virtually no impact.

Just to think it's the cheap option is absurd.

(1) http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/jul/20/edf-french-nuclear-reactor-delays

(2) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/power-failure-what-britain-should-learn-from-finlands-nuclear-saga-770474.html




Vietnamese high school kids can pass Google interview

Mark 153

Re: UK schools ...

I'd start by not calling it "ICT". That gets right on my nerves. It's IT. Or, I don't know, Computing.

It's symbolic of not teaching computing as an actual area of engineering and mathematics. Just an evolution of secretarial skills.

Which qualifications are worthwhile?

Mark 153


I'm assuming (possibly incorrectly) that you work for the NHS. It's a bit organisation.

Is the IT outsourced? Even if it is, the outsourcing contract will suck and there'll be a man who does all your local IT on the side.

Talk to your manager, tell him your aspiration and see if you can get a secondment. See if you can make it a end-of-year deliverable.

Even if you can only get a day a week shadowing the local techie. It won't cost him anything (not his personnel budget) and he'll appreciate the help.

It'll all add up and you'll get plenty of experience working with users working in a high pressure environment.

Best foot on the ladder there is. After all a year, one day a week, is still a year. After that, you can blag it.


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