This is a collection of thoughts and statements about things that annoy me. I am a big, angry man. Hear me roar, or piss off and give me peace.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Buy, Buy, Bye!

What is with people in this country? You must own your own flat, or somehow you're not a worthy citizen? (He says, after buying a new flat himself).

The BBC have a report that tells us property prices in Edinburgh have risen 173% over the past 10 years.

Some guy from Shelter is quoted as saying:

"These figures show that the gulf between those who can afford to buy and those who can't is widening at an alarming rate."

Which begs the question - if you can't afford to buy a house / flat / whatever - why not rent one? Renting seems to work very well on the continent - it only seems to be us Brits who are bent on buying with vast mortgages. People need a decent house - they don't necessarily need to own it themselves!

Daiquiri is good for you

The BBC have lifted my spirits today by telling the world that a daiquiri is good for you.

"Strawberries are good for you but having them in a cocktail may make them even healthier, a study suggests.

The fruit contains compounds that can protect against cancer, heart disease and arthritis."

I wonder if it's still good for you after the 10th one? I hope so.

"Whilst this study suggests that consuming strawberries with alcohol increases the antioxidant capacity, there are clearly detrimental effects of consuming alcohol in terms of cell damage.

"So any potential antioxidant benefits may be cancelled out by the potential liver damage caused by too much alcohol."

Curses! I shall have to try this theory out, and find the sweet spot for anti-oxidant goodness, and avoiding cirrhosis.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Tell them lies, tell them sweet little lies

The Register has a wonderful piece on crap Technical Support, where they tell us that "Power Users" are frequently frustrated by scripted help-desk calls.

I can only agree...

I have been known to (occasionally) work (don't tell my boss) in IT. (I am not a techno-weenie, so don't do front line). (And if I did, I'd probably tell people to reboot and fuck-off).

The Reg tells us that there are a few common approaches to dealing with the typically fuckwitted people on the end of the phone.

  1. Direct Approach - just roll with the script

    • Fake the answers to their questions

  2. Evasive Approach - try to find a work-around

    • Don't you know who I am? (Tell them you're a techno-god, and they are not).

    • Intimidation / Surliness - (Yes, for the third time, I have already fucking well tried that, you incompetent techno-weenie)

    • Immediate escalation - proceed directly to level 2, do not pass go, do not tell level 1 anything else

Here's a run through of a call I made to *Enterprise Support* with a company who make a server or two. Let's call the company IQ. (People who have seen 2001, A Space Odyssey should be able to work that one out).

Me - I have a $server which has powered its self down, and refuses to power up for long enough to boot the OS, I should have 4 hour support on this.
Them - Can you log in to the system
Me - No, it doesn't stay on for long enough
Them - Can you access the BIOS
Me - No, it doesn't stay on for long enough
Them - can you tell me what happens when you press the power switch
Me - It tries to start up and then shuts down again
Them - Can you try booting off a CD
Me - No, it doesn't power on for long enough
Them - Try some other things
Me - None of this works
Them - more stupid ideas involving powering the machine up, spinning up all the disks with a production database on them, and letting the machine power off several times.
Me - I have 4 hour support on this machine, it is a critical system, send me the engineer I am paying for.
Them - mumble, but he might not have the right part
Me - Tell him to bring an entire machine then.
Them - He'll call you shortly.
Me (Under my breath) - Wankers.

This is the level of support I have come to expect from that company for almost all their systems - with the notable exception of their Enterprise Unix boxes, where the Engineer is on the way almost as soon as you're off the phone.

For normal desktop PCs, you seem to require a magic incantation to get them to send you replacement parts, with or without an "engineer" to fit them. Even for something as simple as a dead hard drive - the OS is reporting the disk is failing, a disk diagnostic tool I use reports bad sectors on the drive - but no, they need an error code from their own diagnostic tool. (I now have a list of diagnostic codes for all occasions).

Another company, let's call them "Dull", seem to have pretty reasonable support, even for the desktop machines we have. Shame we don't have many (any?) of their servers. I can't think of any serious issues with their support people, who seem to be quite amenable to me saying "I do this for a living, here's what I think is wrong, can you just send me some parts?"

I work with computers because I hate working with people. Dealing with tech support lines, which are invariably outsourced to Ireland (so they can knee cap you if you become disagreeable) or India (so you get so fed up with not understanding a word they are saying you hang up). What I want, is some sort of password that would tell these people I do this for a living, so we both can then pitch our conversation at the right level, and have a laugh about out users being stupid, and get on with our lives. Until then, there's always whisky.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Not raising a glass to a proposed rise in the drinking age.

Apparently, the do-gooders in the IPPR are seriously wanting to increase the age for buying booze from 18 to 21, to curb "under-age and binge drinking".

Well, hello? McFly? Are you really fucking dumb? By increasing the drinking age, all you're going to do is increase the number of under-agers drinking.

The BBC reports -

By raising the age threshold, he claims: "It is at least possible that those in their early and mid teens will not see drink as something they will soon be allowed to do so therefore they might as well start doing it surreptitiously now."

And it's utter bollocks. They'll see it as even more of a laugh to drink, since it's even more not allowed by the nanny state. What's even better is that he goes on to concede that this will not actually solve the problem, but in true "something must be done" and "won't somebody think of the children" fashion, he's prepared to fuck it all up.

Some kids are still going to get shit-faced on Buckfast, MD 20/20, Merrydown, and other such delightful beverages. Some are not. No amount of fannying around from a new labour think tank is going to change that.

My legacy will last, Muahahahahahaa

Apparently Tony Blair's legacy will last...

Would that be the legacy of Education, Education, Education?
Would that be the legacy of wars the people didn't want?
Would that be the legacy of sleaze?
Would that be the legacy of cash for honours?

Blair's legacy will last, but not for the reasons he wants them to. All he needs is an evil laugh to cap it all off.

I can't help but wonder if people will remember all of these things in a similar manner as they vilify Margaret Thatcher as the milk snatcher, and other such neat rhymes...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Blogs need content warnings? Tim O'Reilly needs a reality check.

According to the busybodies of the world, "Weblogs need content warnings".
Blogs which are open and uncensored should post an "anything goes" logo to the site to warn readers, the code suggests.

Readers of these blogs would be warned: "We are not responsible for the comments of any poster, and when discussions get heated, crude language, insults and other "off colour" comments may be encountered. Participate in this site at your own risk."

You come in to my electronic home, and tell me how to live?
Fuck off!

You've come to this site to read my rants. MY RANTS, dammit.
You can agree, disagree, fuck off, I don't care. But you came here of your own free will.
"You don't have to insult people to be frank."
But sometimes it's just funny.
I find myself agreeing with Jeff Jarvis, who is quoted as saying -
"I don't need anyone lecturing me and telling me not to be disagreeable."
Fuckin' A.

Monday, April 02, 2007


I read this twice, given the proximity to 1st April.

The BBC report that locals are protesting about the protesters who block the roads, and generally piss the locals off on a daily basis.
"There's not a problem with the peace camp but over the last six months we've had the roads blocked, kids not getting to school, doctors not getting to surgeries, carers not getting to the elderly."

The hippies respond with...
"We feel that if these horrible, immoral weapons are here we have to come and put our bodies in the road and do what we can personally to try to stop them."

The simple answer is, run the fuckers over.

If they block the public highway so that locals can't get to and from shops, schools, houses, hospitals and so on... Run the fuckers over - that'll soon let us know how true they are to their cause. Loitering in the middle of the road seems to be having more effect on the people who live in the area, rather than those at the base. Does that not tell you that perhaps they are missing the point, and blocking the road is a waste of time? How to really get your voice heard. Wankers.