Work Stories – The Hills Have Pies?

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The fat family.

Two men and a woman,  all mid-50’s,  white hair,  podgy faces and bodies.

They moved up to my area recently,   currently seated directly facing me two banks of desks away.

I don’t know anything about these people, I’m sure they are lovely, intelligent,  hard-working,  all that good stuff.

But here’s what I noticed .. they all look exactly the same .. like some sort of clones who have been fed a strict diet of McDonalds.

Face,  body,  hair  … All very similar.

Demeanour?

Absolutely no idea .. apart from the fact that they talk non-stop and are constantly stuffing their already fat faces.

Do you think that they are good people are bad people?

Get real for fucks sakes!

How can you possibly make such a decision on so little information?

Of course they are good people,  holding down a job,  earning a living for their families.

Even if it is just the one family!    🙂

But don’t confuse being fat or old or grey with being incapable.

That would only say more about you than them.

 

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Alone With #ThePretenders?

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Chrissie Hynde surveyed the room before her,  a sell-out of 3000 souls all seated expectantly in the Glasgow Royal Concert hall.

“It’s not the Barralands,  is it?”   She quipped before bursting into her first song Alone,  the title track from her new album.

My brother Duncan and I smiled at each other and with a quick look at the mostly grey heads in front and all around us,  we had to agree. Continue reading “Alone With #ThePretenders?”

Musical Differences? … Change and Resentment.

Q – So why did you and the band split up Robbie?

A – Well .. I don’t know … musical differences I guess.

He was hardly going to say that he’s a bit of an arrogant selfish prick, tired of playing second fiddle to the more talented Gary and wanting more attention.

You could swap those names for Liam / Noel or even John / Paul.

But is it arrogant or selfish to want to move on to different things, to leave the old behind and try a new challenge?

If you’ve ever felt bored or unappreciated in a job or a relationship and wanted to move on because what you have isn’t working and you feel that you’d be more appreciated elsewhere, does that make you a bad person?

Of course it doesn’t.

The problem occurs because when you leave people behind they can feel hurt or let down in whatever context you’ve split.

How many times have you seen friends or family in a relationship that’s broken or stale and it goes on like that for a while because they care about what they had and have a lot of time invested in each other. But eventually something has to give.

Continue reading “Musical Differences? … Change and Resentment.”

I Hate Cyclists!

Cyclists

I hate cyclists.

No really,  I absolutely hate them.

Now you know that if you’ve read any of my gibbering’s that I don’t tend to hate people and it’s not a word that I used very often.

But cyclists?

They are a torn face bunch of moany bastards and always complaining about X, Y or Z.

Their latest offering is because of the number of cyclist killed on the roads because car drivers or passengers have opened their doors.

In the few cases that I’ve heard discussed,  notably on Radio 2,  it’s not the door opening that kills the driver,   it’s the collision with the door causing the cyclist to fall into the path of another vehicle which then causes the fatal injury.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-41219977

Now that’s obviously it’s a tragic accident. Continue reading “I Hate Cyclists!”

Supply, Demand, Fear And Loathing in the UK Software Industry

Fear And Loathing

John and I have worked together a few times over the years.

The first time was back in 1998 during the halcyon days of deregulation when the government was throwing money at the utility companies in an attempt to open the energy and telecom markets and make buying electricity, gas or telephone services more competitive.

That was the party-line anyway but the real reason was in making money for the people who already had the money to invest, i.e. the Tory Party demographic and the banks, pension companies and institutes which could make huge profits buying the UK infrastructure at bottom-dollar prices and their share prices doubling over night.

As individuals working in software development, there was lots of money to be made on that gravy train and even although John and I were comparative bottom-feeders, we still made a relative fortune on obscene hourly rates, but that’s supply and demand for you.

Deadlines were tight, the date at which the market was set to open was fixed in stone and our employer Scottish Power was desperate to be one of the first PES’s with its foot in the door and it’s grubby little hands in your wallet.

Of course the reason that deadlines were tight was because the early days of analysis and design had been undertaken by some of the major consultancies of the time, IBM,. Logica, Cap Gemini and they were too busy lining their own pockets with the freely available money directed from the public purse to actually give a t0ss about getting the job done.

They talked a good game, as they always do, the project managers and analysts were the kind of guys who were good at drawing boxes to represent systems or data sources and then drawing the lines between them to represent processes and data flows.

You know the type, all talk, all confidence and delivered nothing.

I hear on the grape-vine that these guys are still out there now, 20 years later working in banking and the privatisation of Scottish Water, the latest gravy train to come along offering free money to those who talk a good game.

It’s not really strange to find that these guys all know each other, a cabal of frauds masquerading as leaders when all they are good at is leading any unsuspecting PLC up the proverbial garden path.

Of course by that time, budgets have been agreed and half spent, lots of documents have been produced with diagrams of boxes and lines but not a lot of actual detail and no infrastructure or software architecture which will implement the new business requirements.

That’s when they call us bottom-feeders in, the mercenaries who drift from contract to contract getting the work done on a decent daily rate extending the contract as long as we can to keep the dosh rolling in as long as possible or until someone else makes us a better offer.

1998 and Scottish Power went live with half-@rsed systems that didn’t work, that had been badly designed and sparsely data-populated.

Let me elaborate, some @rsehole who will remain nameless had been so focused on the data flows to communicate customer comings and goings with other market participants that he had completely missed any changes to the customer service screen to deal with the new data flows and the changes.

Another @rsehole in charge of data population decided that half the customers weren’t in scope for initial population. So on day-1 when these customers decided to get their electricity elsewhere, their data content fell down the cracks between the systems never to be seen again.

Yeah, of course it caused a stushie, there were customer complaints, OFGEN were involved, but the consultancies didn’t care, the @rseholes didn’t care and the bottom-feeders like John and I aren’t weren’t paid enough to care.

If the truth be told, what John and I did, with most of the development team was party hard on the money we earned on the gravy train that seemed that it was never going to end.

Every time our contract was renewed there was another £200 per week thrown on the deal, a sweetener to keep us motived and interested, sticking with the project to get it over the finish line even although we knew that it was fecked. We were paid to fix the bad software, write the missing parts and cleanse the data, all of which should have been complete before the system went live.

Here’s a unobvious truth, a software developer will earn more money from a bad project than a good one and I can assure that we made a fortune.

There were quite a few marriages ended in that period. But that’s another story for another day.

That was then, this is now.

But back to John, he’s a good guy for a hun. ( Rangers Supporter )

Continue reading “Supply, Demand, Fear And Loathing in the UK Software Industry”

We Hate Catholics?


Did you see the fitba last week?

What a doing that was .. 5-1 to the famous Glasgow Celtic over that team in blue that play out of Ibrox.   

A complete humiliation and even better that it was at their own stadium in front of 48000 home fans. Many of whom had left with 25 minutes to go. 

Nothing like supporting your team! 🙂

Actually nothing like supporting your team, These people aren’t football fans. They are an outdated sectarian underclass who gather to sing their songs of hatred and bigotry with impunity. 

Their latest charming ditty “We hate Catholics” passes without comment in the compliant Scottish media indicating where their loyalties lie. 

Imagine swapping Catholics for Jews or Moslems and there would be an outcry in the presss. 

They are indeed a stupid, contemptible group of Neanderthals. 

But worse ….  as the Rangers quarters of the stadium emptied while the game was still in play and the Celtic fans were in full voice joyfully singing about winning 10 leagues in a row,   This poor kid above was standing dejected with his fingers in his ears. 

I’m sure he’s a lovely boy,  he reminds me of my own son when I started taking him to see the Celtic  20 years ago.  

He is the future of the Rangers support and more than likely follows the team that his dad and grandfather supported. 

I wonder if he had his fingers in his ears while his own support were singing “We hate Catholics” or did he gleefully join in?

That kid is their future and he has a choice between right and wrong,  football songs or religious bigotry.  

If he was my son,  I wouldn’t expose him to such bile.   It’s a game if football for heavens sake and the team in green has never cared about anyone’s religious allegiances so singing about Catholics is not about Celtic,  but rather about the Rangers supports twisted hateful mind-set. 

But I fear that the kid probably doesn’t even understand the significance of their hatred and joins in because that’s what he’s learned at home where there has been generations of religious intolerance. 

Poor kid,  born into hatred,  I can only hope he sees how unacceptable it is. 

For the record,  I’m a well lapsed Catholic.  Many of my friends are Rangers fans  but I’ve lost a few over the years when they’ve made derogatory remarks about Catholics, Taigs or Fenians. 

It’s the equivalent of calling a black guy a Nigger,   Completely unacceptable. 

The Ignorance Of Being #English?


First off,  this isn’t an anti-English rant.  

I’m Scottish but a proud citizen of the UK and I have many English friends. 

People are people and in my experience there are good and bad everywhere and it’s not wise to generalise. 

But there’s always a few who let the side down and spoil it for everyone else who then gets tarred with the same brush. 

Take these idiotic Leceister City fans in Madrid last night,  singing about Gibraltar being theirs and not part of Spain. 

Legally they are correct, morally Gibraltar is part of mainland Spain.  

But why mention this when you are over to support your team play a game of football?     

No wonder people prejudge and don’t like the English as a nation. 

As I said, I have no problem with English people.   These football hooligans are arse holes who should be locked up and banned.   

They do not represent England as a nation where most people are welcoming and civilised in my experience. 
My only gripe about the ignorance of English is that as an English speaker we have a presumption that everyone else can speak our language. 

Right now,  tucked away in a remote island of Spain surrounded by Spanish, German, French and many other nationalities,   I’m amazed by how many of these people can converse almost fluently in English but I have no ability to speak in their language except for the basic pleasantries of Hello, Goodbye, Please, Thank You etc

It’s a failing   Not just personally but on our education system. 

It’s not as if the Givernment haven’t tried.  French or a similar language is mandatory in primary schools and in the first two years of secondary until pupils choose their subjects.  

The schools even try to arrange it so that you have no option but to take one language or other in your subject choices. 

As a kid,  I did French and like most others I hated it and didn’t see the need for it.     .When choosing my subjects it was French or German and having already did French for a few years and no German whatsoever it was a moot choice. 

Add in to the bargain that aged 14 i had a crush on JoanB and took the class so that I could be near her,  not that anything ever happened apart from scoring an average C in the final exam.    

My heart just wasn’t in it. 

That’s the thing,  as a nation we can try and force other languages down our kids throats but children are resistant unless they see a tangible benefit. 

For most Scottish kids, French is a complete waste of time.   Hardly anyone goes there on holiday as there are so many alternatives that offer better value. 

However a fortnight in a Spanish resort every year where you don’t have to speak Spanish except the pleasantries is not conducive to learning the language. 

What’s the solution?  

With limited resources it’s about making the best of what we have. 

I’d cut mandatory language education for the kids who aren’t interested.  But offer better education with trips abroad where only the chosen language is spoken to the kids who are interested can immerse themselves in their language of choice. 
What about the football hooligans?

The ignorance of only speaking English and the attitude of the football hooligan are related in my opinion. 

Being an English speaker does not make you a football hooligan. 

But if you’re a British football hooligan it’s a safe bet that you don’t speak any other languages or have experienced other cultures. 
It doesn’t really matter what team they support Leicester, Chelsea, England, Rangers or even my team Celtic. 

Arseholes will continue being arseholes until they realise there is a consequence for their actions. 

Last night the Spanish police went in heavy and made a few arrests.  Not really enough to deter the problem.  

For me,  if you cross the line and are arrested,   it’s an immediate 30 days in prison, maybe let you out after a fortnight if you behave yourself and promise to be a good boy. 

A bit Draconian,  but that’s the only language these people understand. 

Try explaining that to the wife or your boss on your one phone call.