* Posts by GreyWolf

203 publicly visible posts • joined 29 Jan 2007


Regulator says stranger entered hospital, treated a patient, took a document ... then vanished


This is not new

In the 1990s, I had a girlfriend who was a nurse. The health unit that employed her made all the nurses buy their own stethoscopes (not cheap, on a nurse's pay).

When I asked why, she said it was because they kept on being stolen, and management had decided to refuse to pay for replacements.

[DOGMA ALERT] Nor would management arrange proper security for the hospital, because "we have to be open to everybody".

And it wasn't just stethoscopes, lab equipment, emergency oxygen, absolutely everything, all costing hundreds or thousands to replace; it was ALL getting stolen. And the management were doing NOTHING about it.

Larry Ale-ison institute invests in Oxford pub linked to Tolkien, CS Lewis


Bring back the Aunt Sally!

There used to be an Aunt Sally (alley? course? track? lane?) in the back garden, the only only Aunt Sally I have ever seen (this was 1960s).

[In an Aunt Sally, there are painted heads perched on top of posts, and you throw hard balls the size of tennis balls at the heads to knock them off. I have no idea how scoring worked].

Some owner since vandalised the back garden, tiling it, and putting tables put there, in order to cram in more drinkers.

I would like to see heads painted as current politicians, for us to throw rocks at.

Sure, give the new kid and his MCSE power over the AS/400. What could possibly go wrong?


Correct me if I'm wrong ...

but wasn't the AS/400 a hot-pluggable system?

Or am I confusing it with the RS/6000, where you would find out about a fault by a spare part arriving in the post? It used to "phone home".

The number’s up for 999. And 911. And 000. And 111


This is something I am definitely worried about...

We live near "civilisation" (only 3 miles from BT Adastral Park and a major A-road), but we have little or no mobile phone signal in this village. We are totally dependent on landlines for emergency calls.

We also have regular power cuts.

VOIP is NOT a viable alternative.

Does someone have to die before BT gets a clue?

Boss put project on progress bar timeline: three months … four … actually NOW!


My experience of Vodafone

1. Can't find their arses with both hands and a map.

2. More than three months away? That's long-term planning, we don't do that.

3. Ready, willing and able to break the law (because don't know, don't care)

Raspberry Pi production rate rising to a million a month



"Wake up people, it's a business-to-business company"

Wake up yourself. It's NOT a commercial company; it is a Foundation.

The clue is in the name.

Forget the climate: Steep prices the biggest reason EV sales aren't higher


Re: Too expensive, too heavy, too range limited

"terrible environmental impact of the manufacture and replacement of the batteries"

EV batteries are 95% recyclable (the other 5% is plastic), and are already being recycled widely. In the future, old batteries will be a better source for the minerals than mining, thus cheaper than mining.


Re: The ICE will be with us for...

Thanks for the word from great granma. Nothing better than testimony from someone who was there.


Re: The ICE will be with us for...

Didn't go through France then. French charging stations are notorious for being out of action.


Re: The ICE will be with us for...

"sell them into the second-hand market"

What second-hand market? As soon as EVs become available at sensible prices and sensible volumes (hint: the Chinese, this year 2023; see also MG4 at half the price of a Tesla), loads of ICE cars will hit the second-hand market, the bottom will fall out. And will affect all the way up to "nearly new" - no-one will buy a new ICE car when the depreciation is much steeper than today's.

End game: "classic" ICE cars will survive. Boring mass-market cars will get crushed.


Re: Interesting EV conversions

Is that "interesting" in the British usage? Usually translated "completely crazy".

Openreach offers more wholesale fiber discounts, rivals call foul



City Fibre clearly think they have a right to a guaranteed profit, and want OfCom to make the arrangements. City Fibre, if you are not prepared to do the work to compete, don't expect the profit. [Nota bene: if Openreach and BT are so incompetent, how come it is so hard for City Fibre to beat them easily?]

In other news, City Fibre can't find their arse with both hands. They have laid fibre in our county town, but only in the centre. Half a mile from the Central Square, we have heard nothing but promises (and no action) for three years now. There's a golden harvest just waiting for someone who simply gets on with the job.

Furthermore, they are only interested in the part of UK where the population is densest. Beyond the edge of town, you'll be dead before anyone other than Openreach installs anything.

NASA's Lunar Orbiter spots comfortably warm 'pits' all over the Moon


Pre-owned Pits

...may still have "someone" living in them ...

...and the floor carpeted with "bones" ...

Engineers on the brink of extinction threaten entire tech ecosystems


"government is doing everything it can to kill off small business"


This is what IR35 is doing - making it impossible to start a company through consulting.

Nothing wrong with HMRC that wouldn't be fixed by nuking it and starting again.

Smart thermostat swarms are straining the US grid


False claims in the frigging article

Quote: "Electric cars create battery waste"

Not true.

Car batteries are 95% recyclable, and recovering the minerals from old batteries is much cheaper than mining them in the first place.

Both Tesla and VW already have recycling factories, and more are on the way.

Also: there are at least two other potential uses for car batteries. They will definitely have a second-hand value, so will not be dumped.


Re: No choice

When can we all come round for a tasting?

How one techie ended up paying the tab on an Apple Macintosh Plus


Re: Manual page numbering

Master documents + sub-documents is still there in LibreOffice https://help.libreoffice.org/4.1/Writer/Working_with_Master_Documents_and_Subdocuments

Twitter shareholders to vote on Elon Musk's acquisition


Re: "In an attempt to break the stalemate, Twitter has agreed to share ever more"

Oh no, not "golden payday".

The Twitter board is desperate to avoid jail time for lying to the SEC all these many years. Because that is an obvious move for Musk, if the Twitter board don't get their house in order.

Moreover, if the advertisers agree that Twitter is not 95% real people, they will start demanding cuts in the advertising rates. And Twitter's (already dismal) income vanishes.

So either they release the data, or go to jail while Twitter itself dries up and blows away, leaving Mush free to build whatever he wants instead. [and maybe he has already built something .... ]

IBM ends funding for employee retirement clubs



IBM pensions do not come from the company, and there fore do not affect the pay of present employees. They come from prior contributions to the IBM Pension Fund(s) which is a completely separate entity.

Legacy IT to blame for UK's inflexible benefits system


Re: My BS-o-meter just shot off the scale

Your very sensible suggestion has one major flaw.

It assumes that there is anyone at the government department that understands the basics of IT.

No. They got rid of all those more than 20 years ago. And have been spreading their legs and dropping their knickers for the suppliers ever since.

Sealed, confidential IBM files in age-discrimination case now public to all


Re: I joined IBM as an experienced hire in 2000 and left in 2013

I left in a much earlier clear out.

I had been telling my favourite customer what I expected my daily rate to be - about one-third of what IBM had been billing for me.

He replied "How the hell does IBM think they will be able to do business in future?".

Only 29% of techies truly want to stay in current job


Re: I'm thinking about a lot more than this

In my experience, becoming a self-employed consultant transformed the experience to the point where I no longer needed to leave the industry.

1. I earned much more

2. That gave me a six-month money buffer, so I could just walk if it got intolerable. That made it all easier to bear. And there ARE good customers out there; no need to tolerate the crappy ones.

3. I had a built-in excuse for not tolerating bullshit ("it's costing you £X per day, are you sure it's value for money?". Nobody expected me at team meetings (unless there were doughnuts).

4. I'm in charge. I chose how many days a year I worked. I could and did take a lot more time off for fun stuff.

Yes, I realise that HMRC has completely changed the deal since my time (I retired when it got oppressive). But I suspect there are cracks to wriggle through, if you and your customer are creative.

Your app deleted all my files. And my wallpaper too!


Re: Concepts are hard to understand

Rorke's Drift, friend, that's where you are.

Meanwhile, up on the ridge overlooking your position, Windows has ten thousand warriors with spears, just longing for a chance to wipe you out.


Re: Concepts are hard to understand

"but I don't think it's quite as bad as you make out."

Oh yes it is.

Users complain of missing data in UK wills search service


Can you say outsourcing?

Perhaps written by new graduates from a non-Western university where the teaching materials have not been updated in two decades.

Plus: I have to mention my personal hobby horse. Usability.

Too many developers think usability is a matter of taste and style, which only they can possibly comprehend.

Nope; usability can be measured (time to complete a task; number of errors/restarts over a series of tasks).

Beware the big bang in the network room


Re: Maintenence window, gosh how quaint

Public executions of the staff who sold it with lies also work quite well.

Software guy smashes through the Somebody Else's Problem field to save the day


Re: I recognise the story

Contractor Response to mandatory courses is: KA-CHING.

Less than PEACH-y: UK's plant export IT system only works with Internet Explorer


Re: Not fit for purpose

"technology roadmap" for DEFRA.

Nice long project with juicy fees - I like how you think.


Re: Sounds like a job for ...... !!!???

Contractors could do that, but will want their contracts to be deemed outside of IR35 (reasonable, considering the personal risk taken when getting involved with DEFRA, the known most toxic department in the government).

Yule goat's five-year flame-free streak ends ignominiously


The Point of November 5th

The whole point is to remind our elected representatives that if they don't behave themselves...


[And if you think our elected representatives currently seem to have forgotten the message, it is your responsibility as a voter to REMIND THEM]

Sheffield Uni cooks up classic IT disaster in £30m student project: Shifting scope, leadership changes, sunk cost fallacy


Been there, done that....

I have seen this happen so many times in building societies, banks, insurance companies, etc etc etc.

You face an impossible dilemma - do you (1) rewrite it all simultaneously (boil the ocean) or (2) write something new and feed it from the old (where none of the data is compatible*) or (3) buy a software solution from USA? All routes lead to disaster.

* Incompatibility: what you mortgage is not what you insure, and ne'er the twain shall meet. None of the data fields match.

The companies I saw trying to solve this riddle screwed themselves up, are now merely brand names, and no longer exist in any form.

Except for one, which is going to solve the problem by getting rid of not just the software, but also the entire product range and all the customers, 26 million of us here in UK are going to be just dumped. And left without an emergency service.


Not so fast, my young poadawan

"here's me thinking that munging data from one form to another was what programmers did."

That only works when the item represented is the same thing in both cases.

There are lots of instances where it's only the Hoomans that use the same word for two different data objects.

I worked for a building society where the "house" that you had a mortgage on was not the same object as the "house" you had an insurance on.

Got enterprise workstations and hope to run Windows 11? Survey says: You lose. Over half the gear's not fit for it


Re: Environmental homicide

"This gets surprisingly little exposure" ... because that is not what's happening.


Re: Environmental homicide

"Trucking millions of machines to landfill"

No, I suspect lots of those will go into the refurb market.

The OEMs will squeal when they realise that those refurbs are eating their consumer-bling products because they are (a) half the price (b) far more robust.


Re: On the other hand

"Yes, but only good until Oct 2025 unless you are going to run another OS."

Why yes, yes we are.

Linux will run just fine on second-hand business hardware.

And this is at HALF the price of new flimsy consumer blingy shiney.

Down here in the weeds, we are looking forward to the flood of cheap goodies...


Re: market position


I think you are probably right.

Navigating without GPS is one thing – so let's jam it and see what happens to our warship


Re: Not as easy as it used to be

An instrument to detect the sun through clouds? The Vikings had that over 1000 years ago - it's called a sun stone



Re: I guess I'm too much of a navigation geek...

Same experience, but in Sweden. At home in UK I couldn't get lost; I had some kind of built-in awareness of direction and time.

But in Sweden the sun was in the wrong place in the sky, and I was always disoriented, until a few years in when I got used to it.

Then I moved back home, and was disoriented all over again.

We're all at sea: Navigation Royal Navy style – with plenty of IT but no GPS


Re: "two main reasons why the Royal Navy no longer uses [paper charts]"

Charts need updating, because the land masses are not the only things on the chart. Lighthouses come and go (mostly go), wind farms get built, Traffic Separation Schemes get altered, sandbanks move, sea marks (buoys and beacons) get new light characteristics (important at night), and many more things.

With manual updating, these changes are written onto the actual physical chart, and number and date of the change are written in the bottom left margin.

A warship with physical charts would have thousands of charts on board, all of which need updating by an officer (usually junior). If the captain wants to get any other work out of that officer .... some of the updating will get delayed ... which causes a panic when the ship gets redeployed to another theatre.


Re: Welcome to the 21sa Century

Subtle point - yachts are far more likely to suffer electrical failure than either commercial vessels or the Navy.

So a yacht skipper MUST have (legally required) an alternative means of navigating.


Re: "We once played for two hours to decide who'd wash three plates,"

No, not "dead in the water".

You simply turn towards deeper water, away from known hazards. Takes 10 seconds to select a safe course.

-Werror pain persists as Linus Torvalds issues Linux 5.15rc2


Re: House-cleaning exercise

Last time we moved the sofa, we found a live mouse underneath it.

Hilarity ensued.

Electron-to-joule conversion formulae? Cute. Welcome to the school of hard knocks


Re: You cannot convert an electron to joules.

"Throw a positron at it. :-)"

And step back smartly.

RIP Sir Clive Sinclair: British home computer trailblazer dies aged 81


Re: Wobbley rampacks

Smartphone and laptop cannot do what an R-Pi can do. The whole physical computing thing is enormously important, and from the viewpoint of teaching kids, much more fun.

The magic TUPE roundabout: Council, Wipro, Northgate all deny employing Unix admins in outsourcing muddle


I blame HMRC

... For being such religious fundamentalists about IR35...

This case may seem to be about TUPE, but it is also so that these three organisations are shit-scared of getting caught with contractors.

And that fear is HMRC's foul creation.

Lost in IKEA? So, it seems, is Windows



Nope. It is pronounced ee-kay-ah.

"Fluent Swedish speaker"


Lost in IKEA? Don't be so f**ing feeble.

IKEA has maps, which tell you where you are and where the shortcuts are.

Use the f***ing maps, Luke.

Those who do not pay attention are doomed to repeat their wandering until they dry up and blow away like tumbleweed.

We who have been IKEA customers since 1972 (when there were only two IKEA stores in the world) remember a time when there were no f***ing maps in IKEA. No feebleness permitted then, I can tell you.

Hacking the computer with wirewraps and soldering irons: Just fix the issues as they come up, right?



"Programming is thinking, not typing".

Quote from a wiser man than me.

Boffins find an 'actionable clock' hiding in your blood, ticking away to your death



"My life is so flat I can see my gravestone at the other end".

No thanks.