* Posts by Vometia Munro

106 posts • joined 23 Mar 2016

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Geneticists throw hands in the air, change gene naming rules to finally stop Microsoft Excel eating their data

Vometia Munro

Re: I must be missing something...

I'd be more impressed if it autocorrected to PDP-10 or KL10.

Virgin Media CEO says Brit broadband biz 'performed well' in Q2, which is a weird way to say losses almost tripled

Vometia Munro

wat

"largely driven by the net effect of a change in realized and unrealized gains (losses) on derivative instruments... an increase in losses on debt modification and extinguishment... lower depreciation and amortization... a decrease in foreign currency transaction losses... higher related-party fees and allocations."

I have absolutely no idea what that's supposed to mean in English; something to do with tax, maybe?

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin. Hang on, the PDP 11/70 has dropped offline

Vometia Munro

Re: Front panels and security keys...

Keys are awesome things. Our minis didn't have reset buttons, you needed the key to do that. Which was always left dangling from the lock, right where some daft bumbling halfwit with a hangover could get it to full turn before realising that it's the wrong machine. In fact it's doubly the wrong machine because it's the one the CEO's PA is using. Was. Was using.

Still, not as bad as the time I left the comedy error routine lurking in the root profile to wind up one of our ops, promptly forgot about it, went home and left it to be triggered by the night shift who escalated it at about 2am to... well, it was bad. Worse than the reset incident because at least one of them wasn't deliberately being a halfwit, just the type that comes naturally.

Raytheon techie who took home radar secrets gets 18 months in the clink in surprise time fraud probe twist

Vometia Munro

Re: Secure Bag

I suspect a similar premise is why many years ago I found myself being used as a courier for tapes of sensitive, er, "things". I couldn't understand why they wanted to waste money on some programmer who hated driving to ferry this stuff around instead of a professional courier but I guess as I was somehow classed as trustworthy, some halfwit with a hangover in her "this really needs a wash" low-end company car was less conspicuous or something. It probably was indeed in a Tesco bag, which I managed to not lose, much to my surprise. Yay.

Heir-to-Concorde demo model to debut in October

Vometia Munro

Re: Lost Opportunities

"(and almost always to the Yanks)"

Who will then claim to have invented it.

University ordered to stop running women-only job ads

Vometia Munro

Re: "Would she want to work here?"

My experience is that the guys tend to tough it out longer, but it doesn't mean they like it. I'm no psychologist so at best I can speculate about the reasons, only my observation that, sooner or later, given the choice, people tend to move away from that sort of environment.

I dare say that there are still plenty of good places to work but IT does have something of an image problem with bad management and burn-out which hasn't exactly been enhanced by the offshoring frenzy of recent years. People who want a stable and supportive environment in which they can flourish will tend to look elsewhere.

Vometia Munro

"Would she want to work here?"

Maybe they would be better served asking that question. IM(admittedly somewhat limited)E the thing with trying to enforce more women in IT woefully misses the point. Always. The reason more women aren't working there is because it's shit: it's just a horrible place to be. During my career I saw the workplace become more and more toxic and the male:female ratio went from almost parity at my first IT gig to practically none by the time I eventually threw in the towel many years later. How about focussing on making the computing department a less fundamentally shitty place to be by not making every day crunch day and not having sociopathic management? It might just be what encourages more women back into the workplace. I just remember the whole experience as "I love my work but I hate my job": it shouldn't be like that, and as a counterpoint, the best, most productive time I had in my career is when our boss flounced off and it took them six months to replace him (they offered me the job; I told them to get lost and soon paid for that mistake when they hired The PHB From Hell).

Surely they must realise that if they're having to try too hard that they need to have a closer look at the fundamental problem. Though "they" is pretty much the entire industry so it's going to be a tough one to change.

Grav wave boffins are unsure if they just spotted the smallest black hole or the biggest neutron star seen yet

Vometia Munro

Re: I feel an overwhelming urge to quote Holly!

"Hawking radiation"

a.k.a. grit.

Vometia Munro

Re: So too small for a black hole and too big for a neutron star

Dark Star. The sudden disappearance of the world's entire supply of toilet roll confirms their existence.

Only true boffins will be able to grasp Blighty's new legal definitions of the humble metre and kilogram

Vometia Munro

Well done to me for both missing out perhaps the most important word (what I jumped off, i.e. the bus; admittedly it may be inferred, but nobody wants to do that much thinking to figure out what some fat halfwit is on about) and then wandering off to do something random during the perplexing 10 minute editing limit. It made sense in my head, anyway, and it may not have even managed that if not for the friendly yellow bin which was otherwise unused thanks to that "the entire world is your dustbin" ethos, but I digress.

Vometia Munro

I never wondered why there was a nice bouncy yellow plastic bin mounted at about 5' on a convenient lamp-post next to the local bus stop until I impatiently tried to jump off the still-moving and bounced off it. At which point I suddenly appreciated its cheerful yellow bounciness even if I did feel rather shame-faced in front of the seemingly unimpressed (though more likely "yeah, seem it all before") queue and driver.

What could possibly make a cranky crocodylomorph more terrifying? How about one that chases you on its hind legs?

Vometia Munro

Re: "consistent with terrestrial or semi-terrestrial adaptation"

You mean Keith Richards? I always thought Cliff's dad was looking a bit frayed but actually he's not doing too bad for 140 million.

Some Brits reckon broadband got worse after lockdown – but that's just what happens when you're online 12 hours straight

Vometia Munro

Re: Unfortunately

tbf, the standard "support" offered by various data flingers is to go through a checklist that involves blaming your PC, blaming your AV software, blaming you, blaming your router and when all else fails, blaming your ISP. Even though it's nearly always them. Thinking of certain games publishers and their "must surely be a Spectrum with a wobbly RamPak" approach to servers, but certainly not exclusive to them.

80-characters-per-line limits should be terminal, says Linux kernel chief Linus Torvalds

Vometia Munro

Re: not the terminal, the punch card

Over 30 years later I still remember it as The Best Keyboard I've Ever Used™, it really was wonderful even if the layout seemed somewhat perplexing (though more or less the same as the original PC) and it wasn't exactly, erm, silent.

But they weren't joking about the weight. I'm not sure how they made them so heavy. The very thick and not-very-bendy cables (a pair of twinax, as the terminals were daisychained, and a just-as-fat keyboard cable) just added to the fun if the thing ever needed to be moved.

Going back to a previous comment, I think the thing with the swivelly screen was most likely a 3178. From memory it looks identical. I was surprised as it isn't twinax but it seems that the computing contraption in question (and I'm definitely not sure what it was: *probably* a System/38) could deal with both types, so the 3174 terminals were those in its more immediate vicinity and the twinax terminals were located in the further reaches. I'd hazard a guess from the appearance and vintage that the 3174's keyboard was a Model F as it isn't enormous enough to be a beam-spring.

Vometia Munro

I remember having to do something with some code from a well-known vendor that was written in a similar style. It seemed to mostly consist of functions whose purpose was to call other functions. It was very leggy and tedious to follow, and probably hard to debug as it was so difficult to get an at-a-glance sense of what any part of it was doing.

I've learnt not to automatically blame the programmer, though, as this was the same time I started to get some absurd design impositions from above. Some were perhaps poorly explained, others were just fundamentally bad ideas and I quickly stopped cursing the poor chap whose project I had to take over. That's not to suggest I made no gaffes of my own as I have plenty of real horrors to my name but it seems that at least some of the more pervasive examples of unpleasantness are courtesy of a manager who didn't understand coding and/or project management.

Vometia Munro

Re: not the terminal, the punch card

I always wondered why 36 bits was so popular back in the day... until I looked it up and the explanation was pretty straightforward: because that's how many bits you need to store 10 decimal digits, which was decreed in order for them to compete with mechanical adding machines.

Apparently, anyway. There may be other explanations and I couldn't say which would be the most likely! Just that I have a soft spot for 36 bit machines which seem quite interesting and exotic compared to today's near uniformity.

Vometia Munro

I recall reading some study that had been done into this perhaps 30 years ago that concluded the most comfortable colour combination was actually yellow on blue

I wonder if that study was around the same time as the Amstrad CPC? The description of yellow-on-blue immediately reminded me of the presentation of Locomotive Basic using the CPC's chunky font and that colour scheme. Looked pretty space-age compared to my Dragon's rather Brutalist ALLCAPS font in washed-out greeny-black on washed-out green.

Vometia Munro

Re: not the terminal, the punch card

I'm pretty sure this was the beam-spring variety as it was very tactile, but ISTR there were a couple (or more) different types in the vicinity, so they may have varied. The one I'm thinking of looked a bit like a VT100 with a VIC-20 for a keyboard but both on steroids and made of cast iron. The other type I thought looked more space-age with a swivelly screen on a plinth and a less stocky keyboard: that might've been the non-beam-spring one, but I honestly don't remember.

What I certainly remember was the weight. D: I was asked to move one. Even over a short distance with someone else carrying the other end it nearly killed me. As much as I was a scrawny teenager I wasn't *that* weedy but those things were seriously very, very heavy indeed.

Vometia Munro

I think amber became popular with terminals for the same reason the green lighting on car dashboards was replaced with amber in that it was less tiring to look at. Or something like that, anyway.

I have a VT320 in the garage and without checking I *think* it's green on black, but amber seemed to be the more common option, with B&W coming a distant third, albeit just based on my own experiences. Most of the VT220 clones were green, though.

My personal choice for coding (and email and... etc) is still green-on-black. I find I'm more fussy about the way the font looks than the exact colour scheme, though. But evidently not fussy enough to remember offhand what's my current preference.

Vometia Munro

Re: not the terminal, the punch card

The beam-spring keyboards on the IBM terminals (my experience was some sort of twinax thing... 5250 rings a bell) had a clunker that did a nice emulation of the golfball. I think it was just a solenoid, but enough to make the desk vibrate with every keypress.

This'll make you feel old: Uni compsci favourite Pascal hits the big five-oh this year

Vometia Munro

Re: pascal was simply useless.

I suppose I tend to view Pascal as the Latin of programming languages in that it generates a certain amount of debate vis-a-vis its usefulness IRL (I mean as specified rather than as implemented) vs. its usefulness in teaching appropriate methodologies and habits.

I never got into it nor Modula 2, both of which were taught when I was at college in the '80s, but I did find myself gravitating towards Ada and quite liked it. Unfortunately, that was undermined by requiring a Vax running the enormous MAPSE subsystem, as well as me being the wayward creature that I was, I decided that C looked like something that was much more likely to do my head in and was therefore The Language For Me™. And so it was. It worked out in the end but I wonder how things might've panned out had I (and everyone else) stuck with Ada.

Microsoft drops a little surprise thank-you gift for sitting through Build: The source for GW-BASIC

Vometia Munro

Re: Only 45 years late?

Ah, I didn't know that about CP/M filenames: I've never used it so just sort of assumed it used the now-familiar 8.3 format. All I've seen of CP/M is that it looks like a sort of hybrid of CMS and Generic DEC OS, which seem reasonable enough choices as starting points!

Vometia Munro

Some of the O-level marking was surprising. My English lit paper was returned ungraded, which I thought only ever happened if you spelt your own name wrong or didn't turn up or something. Don't get me wrong, I was crap at English lit, but I did (and still do) remember the stuff we had to study reasonably well.

What was perhaps more surprising was getting a grade B for English language. I certainly wouldn't have awarded myself that.

Vometia Munro

Re: Only 45 years late?

I grew up with MS Basic, which made me a bit of a laughing stock amongst people with better computers: considering BBC Basic and Locomotive Basic were approximate contemporaries.

Then I went to college and saw DEC Basic: although it's not something I used (I was trying to learn C at the time, and as much as it's just what I use now, it was traumatic) it seemed instantly and oddly familiar, more than just being another Basic dialect. I have no idea if there was any connection, though I notice that the released source archive has TOPS-10 style 6.3 filename conventions.

Vometia Munro

Re: every byte mattered ...

I did very little assembly programming; in fact just some M68K on some programmable controller box thingy at college and that was it. Prior to that I was jealous of BBC Basic and its fancy-pants inline assembly and after that I was vaguely curious about Vax Macro and the System/3x0 assembler that the old beards at work used, but that's about it.

I only discovered the x86's weirdness (nomenclature because it was the 80286 by this time) as I was press-ganged into writing an email retrieval client for our salesentities' luggables. It was awful. I mean my code was awful: I've made many indiscretions in my time but I'd never programmed a PC before and the remit was vague, so I should've refused and said I'd rather eat my own shoes than get involved with it, but I was young and not sufficiently well-versed in being stroppy when it mattered. So yeah, someone else's remit was "we've been told we need to do this, all we need to do is find someone naïve or daft enough to blame. Preferably both." And there I was. In hindsight, though there's not a shortage of challengers, I'm fairly confident it's the worst code I've ever written.

Obviously going back to having only 64K to play with was a bit of a culture shock: I mean I grew up in the 8-bit world but that was then and I never had to do anything especially challenging with it. I know I could've designed it to use some sort of HDD-based indexing malarky but when you have a "by the end of the week, how hard can it be?" requirement etc.

So I looked into how to work around it. I was also very interested in operating systems design at the time and absorbed all sorts of stuff about virtual memory systems and so on, inasmuch as a laysloth's knowledge can suddenly be expanded, anyway.

With that as my context, I read about the 80286's memory addressing.

Argh.

Forget tabs – the new war is commas versus spaces: Web heads urged by browser devs to embrace modern CSS

Vometia Munro

Re: What's wrong with CGA?

Ugh, now I have memories of the 6847. Those memories may be nearly 40 years old but remembering the slightly muddier green or orange in place of black and all that aliasing still gives me a headache. And white that was definitely not the "bluey whiteness" that Bold advertised but some sort of mush they had to describe as "buff".

And also the regional spellings. If the BBC Micro could find room for both COLOUR and COLOR... but all things considered, I think that's the least of our problems.

The part of me that was occasionally required to wrestle with MVS (yeah I know, I have no grounds for complaint due to being the then new girl who knew Unix and was therefore highly suspect) thinks other people should share the joy and maybe CSS would be much more functional if it shared JCL's syntax. I suppose JCL was at least its own sort of consistent.

Zoom vows to spend next 90 days thinking hard about its security and privacy after rough week, meeting ID war-dialing tool emerges

Vometia Munro

Re: Anyone else...

I do now. D:

Going Dutch: The Bakker Elkhuizen UltraBoard 950 Wireless... because looks aren't everything

Vometia Munro

Re: I get an early 1980s home-computer vibe from the picture.

And then there was the random nerd who was blinded by an interest in computing so ended up with a Dragon and spent her subsequently disaffected youth bemoaning the lack of decent sound of graphics, and that none of those interesting computing things could be done using cassette tape anyway.

Vometia Munro

Re: Here you go

Absent-mindedly reading that URL in my not even half-awake state I thought I was seeing "Bakelite". That's what we need. Bakelite keyboards.

Vometia Munro

Re: Not cheap

Admittedly it's a really subjective issue so me saying I'm a fan of neither MX Blues nor Browns isn't at all relevant, but speaking as someone who's been a long-time fangirl of the clattery Model M (the clatter in question being the reason for looking for alternatives... not so much for the sake of cow-orkers but waking up my other half during my random hours gaming sessions) I was surprised to find myself quite at home with an MX Red based keyboard. It's a Vortex, so on the plus side it's small and very solidly made; on the minus, the keycaps are a notoriously tight fit and I managed to yank the stem out with one of them. Fortunately brute force saved the day but I'd recommend a bit more care and attention than I managed!

Rockstar dev debate reopens: Hero programmers do exist, do all the work, do chat a lot – and do need love and attention from project leaders

Vometia Munro

Re: Too vague

"IMHO; a "hero" developer is not the "lone wolf" or "rockstar" type."

Absolutely. I'm glad to have not worked with many "rockstar" programmers (by which I mean the attitude: I've worked with a lot of really awesome IT people) but those I did encounter potentially did more harm than good. Memories of the "I'm too important to talk to you" quickly followed by "why did you do that without checking with me?!" Er, because I needed to do my job some time this week and you were too busy being a rockstar.

CityFibre relieves TalkTalk of its FTTP sister biz for £200m – after Boris win blows away Labour's nationalisation vow

Vometia Munro

Re: FTFY

Via Entanet, where I get a whopping 13 Mbits over my "fibre" connection.

You're not Boeing to believe this: Yet another show-stopping software bug found in ill-fated 737 Max airplanes

Vometia Munro

Re: Isn't THIS why we've got to teach 2nd-graders how to "code", rather than how to think?

"When one of them came to me with a question I analysed the information needed to answer it and if they had that information. If so I would try and guide them into joining those together to arrive at the answer themselves."

I really wish I'd had more tutors like this. Far too many took the approach "I've already explained how it works, just do it" even though I would be trying to explain to them that I lacked sufficient understanding of how and why "it" is supposed to work and was therefore unable to proceed. I don't know if they just impatiently assumed I was trying to get the answer out of them or if they themselves didn't understand the hows and whys.

Fortunately for me, I encountered some wonderful people who were very patient and clearly found genuine enjoyment in passing on their knowledge.

Vometia Munro

Re: Isn't THIS why we've got to teach 2nd-graders how to "code", rather than how to think?

I think a lot of the problem lies not with the programmer (though I'm not denying there's a lot of chancers out there... some knowingly, some not) but with the environment. I mean that particular landscape that features a lot of silhouetted pointy hair.

Casting my mind back to the early '90s, there was a serious problem where training courses were used by managers who wanted to keep their headcount up without having the amount of work to justify it so it gave idle hands something to do. Of course if they were better at managing then they might realise that maybe if they shared the training with the staff who were actually on chargeable account codes they may end up with more staff on chargeable account codes and fewer staff at the extremes of being either burnt out or bored shitless. But that's not how they think.

The culmination of this was the horror called Rapid Application Development, which meant dragging some unwary, unwitting and unwilling programmer into an ill-defined project involving systems they'd absolutely no experience of, knew nothing about, often never heard of and certainly weren't going to receive any training for. The specification would be verbal, imprecise and would change every time it was discussed typically in that ubiquitous meeting place better known as the corridor, and requests for clarification typically resulted in being signposted to somebody else who predictably knew nothing about it and/or was so pissed off with the whole thing that they didn't want to discuss it either way.

Oh, and of course there was absolutely no sort of planning, design nor version control of any sort. Better project managers liked version control for the usual reasons but it seemed to be viewed as an obstacle to the rapidity of RAD.

Even as a fairly green programmer who ended up having to learn a lot of stuff the hard way I realised this absolutely stank to high heaven. To this day I feel pretty awkward about anybody encountering any of the stuff I wrote back then, whether or not it has my name on it. Though to be honest, prior to RAD there were my own inept attempts to find my feet in a team of pretty much one, so they were... well, hopefully not as bad, but still quite random. I'm also reminded of the poor chap who worked on one such project before I did: how I swore about him at the beginning of my tenure, but after not very much time spent working in that environment I quickly realised he'd made the best of a bad job and subsequently and sensibly made his excuses and left.

The ethos was pretty much "make it work any way you can. I don't care how, just do it quickly", the obvious undertone being "make it look like it works, I'm expecting a botch job that's good enough to get a sale". Not nice. I wonder if whoever was intended to be in receipt of this wondrousness knew what was the deal; or likewise if they even cared. Which seemed to be the problem: a lot of bonuses and promotions for both producer and customer were riding on being seen to have something delivered and nobody really gave a toss about whether it worked or would even be used. Nobody who was making decisions, that is: the people at the ugly end tended to grumble until sooner or later it was time to call it quits.

Hey kids! Ditch that LCD and get ready for the retro CRT world of Windows Terminal

Vometia Munro

Re: I've got the real thing

Oh yeah, the original PET's "electronic till" keyboard was not awesome. Ours were more conventional, somewhat similar to the VIC-20/C64 though with different symbols and profile compared to what I recall of their smaller siblings.

I think most BBC Micros used the Futaba keys. They're the ones I prefer, anyway; nice linear clacky action. Actually I preferred the Electron's keys (same as the Master IIRC) but they apparently have some issues with longevity. That said, my Electron died before its keyboard did. I recall there was a great deal of snobbery about keyboard types back in the day with the Dragon's being lambasted in comparison, but having tried out both more recently I honestly can't tell much difference at all between the BBC's Futabas and the Dragon's Hi-Teks. The BBC had a nicer key profile (which nobody mentioned; and is a very subjective matter anyway, both having good quality keys especially compared to most of today's offerings) and a more comprehensive layout, which again (almost) nobody mentioned, curiously...

I find that the contemporary Cherry MX Red switches have a not entirely dissimilar feel and sound but I prefer them with "retro" key-caps: the old-style spherical (i.e. bowl-shaped) keys are nicer IMHO than the cylindrical profile which has been pretty much the standard since the IBM PC happened. I'm slightly loath to make glowing comments about Cherry MX keys which is entirely based on my hatred of their tactile switches, which seems a bit unfair and probably slightly silly.

Vometia Munro

Re: I've got the real thing

"awful 1980 tv sets with the tuner missing"

Wasn't that Tandy's approach to a computer monitor?

I remember a similar rush to get access to The Big PET at school: in hindsight I have no idea if it was a higher-spec than the others but it had a bigger screen which though still monochrome was more desirable. Because it was bigger.

We didn't have much in the way of computers, just three PETs and a 380Z that used to roam around the science labs on a trolley with the huge* colour telly that was usually already preoccupied showing videos. Some of the latter were relevant, others were Michael Jackson's Thriller, for some reason.

* Probably 24" or something: insanely gigantic, anyway, we've never seen its like since.

Vometia Munro

Re: I've got the real thing

I still have a VT320 terminal and a 19" Trinitron for a Vax-based workstation (SPX graphics, so 1280x1024 super-high-res!) though neither have been powered on for some time, in fact quite a few years for the latter as it's such a heavy bugger to move. The Vax also has a couple of expansion cabs with full-height 5¼" hard drives in them just to add to the general "weighty" vibe of the whole thing.

Would've loved something like your setup back in the day but as a teen the idea of either a BBC Micro *or* floppy drives was utterly pie-in-the-sky! Which is why I ended up with a Dragon (also lurking in the garage with the Vaxes and a couple of BBC Micros purchased many years later) connected to a B&W portable with a tuning knob. It wasn't quite the same.

Lynch lied about Autonomy's accounts, rages HPE to the High Court

Vometia Munro

Re: Fraud

They had VMS too. Just no idea what to do with it.

Vometia Munro

Re: Didn't that used to be.......

It'd be hilarious if the judge summed up the entire case as such.

Vometia Munro

Re: Double negative

"Corn" does seem rather ambiguous depending on the audience; I still think of it as being synonymous with wheat (and to some extent barley etc) so I still find myself scratching my head for a moment when I realise someone might be talking about sweetcorn instead. In this case I can imagine it being a genuine misunderstanding, though part of me also wonders if it might've been contrived to appear so.

Valuable personal info leaks from Facebook – not Zuck selling it, unencrypted hard drives of staff data stolen

Vometia Munro

Re: Stolen from a car??

Not quite as bad, but I remember being ordered to drive a DAT (so yeah, it's was a few years ago) containing all sorts of interesting bank details across the country because apparently some hungover programmer was more trustworthy than an actual courier. Happily, I managed to not lose it (or myself) on the way.

Second time lucky: Sweden drops Julian Assange rape investigation

Vometia Munro

Re: Stating the obvious

Upvote for the proper spelling of gaol. Well, and the other bits too, but I'm trying to stay out of all that.

Call-center scammer loses $9m appeal in stunning moment of poetic justice

Vometia Munro

Re: Revenge and justice are very closely related. You'll learn that as you get older.

"Prison should be for the protection of society and if there's a way for the accused to be out without undue risk then that should be the norm."

It's interesting to see how many people are given custodial sentences in spite of their pre-sentencing report indicating that they are not at risk of re-offending and/or that they are not a risk to the public.

Vometia Munro

Re: Revenge and justice are very closely related. You'll learn that as you get older.

I'm somewhat reminded of Albert Pierrepoint, the UK's last hangman and a very prolific one, commenting that he didn't think the results of his job served as any sort of deterrent. I'm not sure how political a point he was making, he seemed very proud of the professionalism with which he went about his duty after all, but just that it didn't really accomplish the goal its proponents tend to highlight. I'm also mindful of other court judgements that seem to be Making A Point: which they do, but they're often insufficiently clear about which point they're making, with the resulting risk that onlookers may simply conclude that some of the people presiding over their deliberations are loose cannons with insufficient accountability.

Stallman's final interview as FSF president: Last week we quizzed him over Microsoft visit. Now he quits top roles amid rape remarks outcry

Vometia Munro

Re: @AC He should have stuck to what he knows

"Is it possible being on the Autistic spectrum, and being a psychopath, aren't mutually exclusive?

As in, it's possible for some people to be both?"

I don't know: I'm by no means an expert on the subject but AFAICT one doesn't preclude the other, and it's something I have periodically wondered about. My personal issue with it is that I've seen people stating with authority that all autistic people are psychopathic because their understanding of what it means to be autistic is evidently rather flawed, but I've noticed particular cases where autism alone doesn't seem to adequately explain a given individual's lack of caring and seemingly dysfunctional conscience. But maybe it does, and perhaps I'm making the same mistake of applying "would I do that?" to someone else and drawing the wrong conclusions.

Vometia Munro

Re: @AC He should have stuck to what he knows

"I think the term you're looking for is high functioning Aspergers.

I don't know if that would apply. Its possible but it would take a board certified psychiatrist to make said diagnosis.

Its one thing to miss the social cues and norms, its another to ignore them."

Speaking as someone actually diagnosed with "an autistic spectrum disorder" (the clinicians prefer to not pigeonhole their patients so are reluctant to be more specific than that: in my case I eventually accumulated an Asperger's diagnosis on the basis that there's a tendency to misdiagnose autistic women as being borderline, which indeed happened, and this should theoretically be mutually exclusive, though whether or not it works in practice remains to be seen. I am not optimistic. "High functioning" is a controversial qualifier for an already controversial term on the basis of the also controversial interpretation of a person's IQ, but probably causes more misunderstanding than it avoids).

Er, where was I? Oh yeah, it's practically impossible to say if a person has missed social cues or wilfully ignored them. That seems to be up there with the assertion that autistic people are the same as psychopaths because of a perceived lack of empathy; AFAICT autistic people tend to miss the communication of empathy but once they get it they often have an enormous amount of it, whereas psychopathic people are often expert observers of the communication of empathy but simply don't care. There's some irony in that psychopaths tend to be much more adept at fitting in socially and are often described as being charming until it's too late, whereas the generally harmless autistic person is seen as being a threat as without any pretence they'll state things as they see them according to their understanding at that moment.

The sad thing is that the autistic person is generally harmless and open to reappraising their views whereas the psychopathic person can be much more malevolent and will talk a good talk about having changed their views. The irony being particularly noted in courts of both law and social media where the autistic person will be found guilty thanks to having left a trail of careless comments everywhere and the psychopath having been more circumspect and typically having more flair at talking their way out of a tight corner will be more adept at getting away with it.

Stallman? I can't say I've ever warmed to the guy, autistic or not, and the subject matter is something that makes me uncomfortable, but in this instance I'm concerned about the way things are going because I've seen how these things can go very badly wrong.

Bomb-hoaxing DoSer who targeted police in revenge was caught after Twitter taunts

Vometia Munro

Having followed a couple of interesting (to me) court cases I have to wonder if there was conclusive evidence that he was the culprit or simply that he was careless/daft/naïve enough for them to be able to make mud stick. I'm certainly not going to stick up for someone who actually and knowingly did something wrong, but the courts do seem to have a bit of a problem with going after easy targets rather than actual culprits, since the latter tend to be too much like hard work.

Vometia Munro

Re: How does 19 equal "young offender"?

AFAIK many/most/all "young offenders institutions" are just a regular prison anyway, not even with a designated wing. But it sounds better in press releases.

Alexa, can you tell me how many Chinese kids were forced into working nights to build this unit?

Vometia Munro

Re: Children?

"Your contract may stipulate your hours, but it also says as a salaried employee you put in the hours necessary to do your contracted job in order to draw that salary [and not a penny more]": I've heard words to that effect more times than I care to remember. In other words, they expect free on-call, and that "you do overtime as required, it balances out" means overtime every week, and I get to shut up and be grateful for... something. Oh yeah, unnecessary commuting, that makes it all worthwhile. Because, "that thing where we nodded about home-working, well we kinda changed our minds because we decided being in the office fosters that sweaty smell of team spirit. Not our problem if you don't like it, sucks to be you that it's such a long drive lol."

Also the wonder of that 48 hour opt-out. "We've re-drafted your contract which you are required to accept and sign otherwise you are free to not work here. Oh btw we've thoughtfully stapled the 48 hours voluntary opt-out over the page where we both sign it. You'll notice we haven't actually signed it yet because, haha, we were too busy. So just sign the opt-opt and contract but especially the opt-out and then we'll countersign the new contract we've obliged you to sign and return to us. lol. Also fuck you. lol."

What drives me nuts is that so much of this extra hours stuff is about nothing more than putting in an appearance, thinking of jobs like the one where my idiot PHB couldn't even think of stuff to fill a quarter of my regular hours and decided I should be his secretary instead of the sysadmin job I was hired to do.

But complain as I do, at least when I was at school I got to do, y'know, school. Without working down pit every night etc.

Here's to beer, without which we'd never have the audacity to Google an error message at 3am

Vometia Munro

Oh, absolutely. Some days the degree of filtering just makes my head hurt way too much; and particular subjects can make pretty much every day "some days".

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