Monthly Archives: November 2005

Sirens, Liars and the Common Sense Private Sector

A side effect of living in New Cross is that you become immune to sirens. In fact, no music I ever play ever sounds right without them. In fact, in fact, I wonder if that’s how dub started.

Michele is a liar. She denies being a Daily Mail reader, despite the concrete evidence:

  • There’s frequently a copy of it in her bag after work.
  • Tonight, for the second time, we had a Mail photographer round to photograph her for the letters page.
  • She reads the Daily Mail

Why ? I’m buggered if I know. we don’t even own a house. In fact it’s a tad depressing. Maybe she’ll turn out to be in the Neo-con Republican KKK chapter too.

This evening I learned a great deal about the private sector and its natural in-built efficiency. As a practical example of why we should privatise everything read on:

The problem:

An application server we rely on for our every day work is broken.

The Public Sector Solution

  • I notice the problem.
  • I log into the affected server and try to work out what the problem is.
  • I sort the problem

How old fashioned is that ? Please don’t laugh! It’s what I used to think was correct!

The Solution

Here is the model answer, as provided by the private sector:

  • I notice the problem.
  • I send an IM to my boss.
  • My boss organises a group IM chat to discuss the issue.
  • The result of the chat is that the “SA team” need to be contacted as none of us are allowed to login to the server (for corporate reasons).
  • The boss asks someone to page the team and to setup a conference call.
  • A conference call is established with 7 people, all in different countries, and we spend a while waiting for the SA team to respond to the page.
  • Eventually the guy arrives and we try to diagnose the problem by telling the guy (who, despite being very well meaning and competent, doesn’t speak very good english or have a very good understanding of the systems involved at all.)
  • We realise that the only way we’re going to solve it is by getting a login into the affected server.
  • We try to describe the measures necessary to the SA guy to perform this and fail…
  • …loads more tedious crap until we all realise that unless we leave the call we will die there.

See how simple it looks now. How foolish I feel for thinking that the old way was better. Just because it would have achieved the goal for far less effort/time/money. But there would be no audit trial!
Don’t laugh at me because I’m a fool…

Passage of shite

BT got the ADSL back up up by half ten last night. Being a sad old git, I was tucked up in bed by then of course. No-one could complain that it was fixed out of hours on a Sunday…unless it was broken in the first place, 14 hours earlier, by sheer stupidity. Anyway, here’s a great tip I picked up from, you can guarantee talking to a human at BT by calling 020 7356 5000! I was so excited when I heard this that I called on a sunday evening…and a HUMAN answered! Woohooo! Even though she told me to ring back the next day, it was almost cathartic after so many frustrating hours talking to robots.

BTW – I’ve found an automated telephone service even more annoying than BT’s: Parcel Force! Not only is it arsingly irritating, it’s on an expensive 0870 number and it uses voice (un)recognition!

As the DSL was Donald yesterday, I went over to Eltham to do some work. The bus ride was your typical South East London experience, right down to the 60+ year old pissing all over the top deck, much to the dismay and annoyance of an African bloke there who really couldn’t conceal his consternation.

I also saw a lovely old Routemaster going in the other direction. What sort of lucky tourist party could get hold of one of those ancient bits of heritage? I wondered. As it got closer, the magic words “Railway Replacement” could be seen on the front and I too nearly wet myself. These 50 year old buses, apparently too old to be in service as buses, are now back in service to assist the wreckage of our once-proud, now privatised, rail system.

The papers and TV have been obsessed with the new extended opening hours. If you’ve ever wanted to see a better example of bad journalism then pick any channel, newspaper or news-site and look for the coverage. Hours of videos, pages of pictures and long lurid descriptions of the same thing: drunk people in town centres at 3am on a sunday morning getting their arses out whilst shouting “aaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrghhhhhh”. Now, I live within 15 minutes walk of the Old Kent Road. People getting pissed and violent early in the morning is not new! The reason why I don’t go out on saturday nights is because it’s full of drunk arseholes, and has been forever. The relaxation of the laws can only have a beneficial effect….but give it a chance. You can’t change culture overnight. Give it at least a year…please! Once people realise there’s no rush they will surely calm down. I hope.

Ready to kill somone

For the third time this month we have no Internet access! I’m in a state beyond normal anger.
Of course, we don’t know whose fault it is…the fact that it went down during scheduled engineering work at my local exchange and hasn’t come back up since is surely a co-incidence. Otherwise that would make BT the most incompetent, usless, bubmling, reckless cocks onf the whole of the fucking bastard planet.
So, I’m writing this using my mobile as a GPRS modem. 3 second ping times! I remember those! But oddly they don’t fill me with nostalgic joy.
In response to my ISP fulfilling their legal requirement by informing me that I may be charged if engineers are called out I mentioned that if BT tried to charge me there would be slayings of BT staff. He told me he could comment. He also asked me if I would video it and put a torrent on the net for him…I liked him.

Humphrey and Jeremiah

Humphrey has got used to me being at home and is slowly turning into a spoiled little bugger. OK, in fairness, a beautiful, innocent, sweet, spoiled, little bugger, but a bugger nonetheless. She’s got very clingy and yells as soon as one of us even approaches the door. On the few occasions that this doesn’t coincide with her being stuffed full of seeds, she will launch herself at your head so that she can accompany us to wherever we’re headed. In reality it’s probably to the bog, but in her simple, feathery, avian, little mind we are going out to the seeds and interesting object room. Poor little bird. But she has been very loving, and in a way it’s quite flattering. The down points are that she keeps trying to gain my attention while I’m working by eeking, squeaking, and trying to prise keys off the laptop keyboards. She’s very skilled at key removal. Cross platform too (iBook and ThinkPad equally).
Of course, the other problem with a clingy bird is the poo. I could happily go to a job interview with bird-shit all over my shoulders now. In fact, I probably wouldn’t even notice.
She’s on my head now as I type. This is as a result of Michele trying to put her to bed. It’s like having a toddler. She knows the grown-ups are still up and feels that she’s missing out. But, in return, she preens my hair and her claws make great scalp massagers.
You know, I had intended to write something totally different, but our dear bird has distracted me.

For my personal record:
Good night last night – met with some top union dudes, then Andy, Michele and I went to Nouvelle Spice for a top meal. Great to chat…

Miss you all!

Another tech BTW:
Fatsquirrel has now been moved to Jeremiah!
As denzil is currently down again this has cheered me up no end!
To celebrate the shift, I’ve recoded the diabolical bolog-engine to generate legit xhtml and cut out a load of crap from the display. Non geeks will notice nothing….sorry. Geeks should view-source and let me know what facets of Nu-Web(tm) I’ve fucked up on. I can then respond with an overly nasty “fuck you” email.

Good night.


As every Englishman knows, the high point of the calendar is the Lord Mayor’s Show. An ancient (783 years) ritual in the square-mile that mixes the bizarre, basic, feudal, unpleasantness of 13th century England with the bizarre, basic, unfair, unpleasantness of the modern-day world.

Our non-English friends may wonder at the spectacle of loads of corporate whores in horrible pastiches of Ole Englande constume, parading up and down in a joyless fashion, holding their corporate logos on banners, desperately trying to convince the TV cameras that they are having a great time dancing in the cold, grey drizzle.

The Lord Mayor in the mean-time looks every bit the part: jolly, red-faced and happy to watch the dreary procession of civil servants, proles and soldiers. Of course he does! This procession heralds the start of the best year of his life! For the next 12 months he will be off round the planet, getting celebrity treatment without a care in the world! And why ? Because he spent most of his life supporting previous Lord Mayors like a good civil servant.

It’s not only joyless corporate whores on the floats though! In between the advertising banners are the military, demonstrating how big and pointy their weapons of mass destruction really are. The whole display is to show off Britain’s pathetic “Military Industrial Complex”, as Eisenhower put it.

After the heady excitement of the Lord Mayor’s Show, the whole of the English population get together as one for the “solemn ceremony of remembrance”: a ceremony in which we remember the thousands of people we sent off to certain death in the name of keeping our rich, rich.

As one on the Sunday morning we all collectively sit in our baths and shout out “Oh fucking hell they’ve put the Archers back by an hour for this bastard ceremony”

Oh England, my Lionheart.

Viva Les Poulet

For the record, or rather for my personal diary of BT being useless bastards, they fucked up again yesterday. Zen (my ISP) sum it up rather nicely:

Customers experiencing this fault will not be able to connect via ADSL or SDSL to the Internet.

At present BT have not been able to provide us with details of this problem, and therefore we can provide no estimated time of repair.

Further details will be posted here when available.

Mid-hack yesterday afternoon it all went pair-shaped. The next half-hour was spent on the phone to Zen trying to work out what went wrong. After resetting my BellEnd(TM) router, doing some voodoo and generally swearing at everything I called Zen back and they confirmed that BT had bollocksed up the whole of London. Well done BT! Please see previous blogs for more examples of BT ruining the country.

So I gave Humphrey some apple and carrot and went into the office to finish off what I was doing. A pain because we’d planned to go to the Rosey after work (5 minutes from my front room, twenty from the office).
Anyway – a nice evening – met up with batly, Kate, Vic and Beck. All I remember about the night was laughing a lot.

I left relatively early and it turned out to be good timing. They all went to a crap local eatery and not only got kicked out for laughing(!), the restaurant called the old bill! Admittedly plod was also laughing as he told them that, legally, the owner was perfectly within his right to chuck them out, but still – in my opinion it would be a shit idea to go to Viva Zapata’s, Lewisham Way because, in my opinion, the food is average and overpriced. Also, in my opinion, the staff clearly don’t understand that laughing is a good thing. Also, perhaps plod should have realised that this was all totally fucking stupid and not got involved. Hmm.Note to self:

  • The book group
  • the showreel
  • the mental kids
  • Humph is preening me 🙂

Enjoy yourselves (it’s later than you think)

Ere I am J.H.

Jeremiah Ohh – I almost forgot! Dear denzil ( the web server that currently hosts this site and many others) is soon getting replaced with a shiney new 1U rack job: Jeremiah. He’s currently propped up against the edge of the desk in this room but he’ll move to his new home next week. Welcome Jeremiah!

Friday Night, Saturday Morning

Over the past few weeks I’ve spent some considerable time in the Docklands and I’m beginning to like it. It’s like being in the future..or rather like being in the 70s view of the future, right down to the scenic monorail, the digital signage and mobile phones. When it first opened for business in the 80’s it was plain weird. Mainly because the landscape was there but the people weren’t. These huge opulent buildings with glass, chrome and marble everywhere you looked…but no bugger there. Now the place is packed and there are bars, restaurants and all the bollocks. Everywhere you look is a waterfront bar full of young pissed up IT workers, “relaxing” after work and gazing at the shimmering reflections of the capitalist organs in the once busy docks as the DLR glides past.

And you know what ? After the first batch of terrorist attacks it’s going to look absolutely perfect for the set of every post-apocalyptic dystopian fantasy film you could ever want to make.

Anyway, work is progressing at a uniform rate. This week was the first time I’ve had any of my changes put onto one of the production servers…ok only 1 production server but still. However, despite being a newby and quite enjoying the whole deal it looks like I may be leaving: I’ve been offered another, better paid job. And the MegaCorp pay isn’t too shabby let me tell you…Funny old world.

Apart from that nothing much has changed. Still seeing the Goldsmiths people now and again and things seem good. Last night was particularly good Lisa is back from her far east trip, Llynos sent us an some pictures of her feeding a baby roo in the Aussie outback and we had a nice friday evening in the Hobgoblin . It was like old times. In fact, for old times sake I went home via cummin’ up and had some jerk chicken washed down with peanut punch. OK, not exactly the healthy option but the perfect after pub fayre.

One thing that really cheered me up…well a bit anyway..was the crushing defeat of that bastard Blair and his obsequious colleages. For those of you out of touch with the state of the marionette theatre that is contemporary British politics, Blair was trying to push through yet more ultra-right fascistic restrictions on freedom in the name of protecting us from terrorism. They wanted to extend the length of time someone could be held without charge to 90 days (that’s 3 months, or the equivalent of a 6 month prison sentence). But don’t worry, it’s only for suspected terrorists. Suspected terrorists like, for example, the French computer programmer who got a nice Section 44 stop and search at Borough station which, on the discovery of some doodles on his notepad, lead to an arrest (presumably under the terrorist act), a raid on his house, and a month long seizure of his computer equipment. He was released without charge.

Now, there are lots of objections to the 90 day rule, not least of which is why ’90 days’ is the magic number. But one thing I genuinely want to know is why the police would need to arrest someone if it was going to take them 90 days to get any evidence together. OK, if you catch him with a load of C-4 in a backpack then by all means nick him – but you won’t need 90 days to charge him. So what ‘suspicion’ could possibly justify arresting someone if there’s no evidence immediately to hand ? It’s like the old NTNOCN sketch with constable savage arresting the same man for “looking at me in a funny way, possesion of an offensive wife, walking on the cracks on the pavement and possesion of curly black hair and thick lips”….

The police, the government and seemingly every other dimwit in the world seem to think that you can solve any problem with more legislation. Take the recent riots (currently in France). If only the government would introduce legislation to make rioting, causing explosions and shootings illegal then it would solve all of the problems….oh wait a minute…

Malcolm’s dead – Long Live Malcolm!

He died a while ago, and I didn’t know him personally or anything, but what a bloke. If he was on stage you could guarantee a load of really shit jokes, stupid anecdotes and to see his tiny nob. That was Malcolm’s main joke: getting his cock out. You may think that wasn’t a very funny idea, which it wasn’t. But the fact it was such a crap thing to do made it genuinely funny.

But it you grew up in South East London in the 80s/90s you will almost certainly love Malcolm as the rude, drunk uncle that he could have been – especially if you watched The Comic Strip.

This Wikipedia Article includes the excellent quote:

To say that he has no shame, is to drastically exaggerate the amount of shame that he has

although my favourite quote is from Simon Day (Fast Show/Tommy Cockles etc):

after intensive questioning [by the police] they decided that he was not a threat to national security only social security.

More details on his website, especially under the anecdotes.
RIP Malcolm.