andygates: (Default)
This is going to be a bit of a rant, following on from the building hand-wringing about getting all minced up on the roads.  Apologies for offence caused, but, fuckit.

The sides of lorries are FUCKING DEATH ZONES.  AVOID THEM.

That is all.


Does this need a "You wouldn't jump into a woodchipper?  You wouldn't dangle your legs in lava?" public service advert?  ARE PEOPLE REALLY SO FUCKING THICK?

Yes, I know they are, or in a hurry, and yes the road shouldn't be a mindless grinding machine lubricated with the blood of Our Tribe but by FUCK on a HOLY FUCKING FUCKDAY the stories I read are all - to my jaded eye - avoidable.  

I'd bet a fat pot that these are the same people who wear a fluo vest and a helmet on backwards and then jump red lights having ticked the boxes and thinking they're safe but with THE ROAD SENSE OF A BLOODY BADGER.


STOP DYING LIKE IDIOTS! You're making me look bad.  

"But how," I hear them ask, "How do we learn this, that you so-smug on your ivory seatpost claim to be Great Wisdom?  Evil Government doesn't train us!  Waily waily!"

You can just fuck off, you spineless whining pussies. I learned the way you bloody should: I acted like a dick and got scared by a near miss.  The difference is I PAID FUCKING ATTENTION.  Get out of your bubble of false safety, get that stupid plastic hat off SO YOU FEEL AS VULNERABLE AS YOU ARE and get a few scares.  That'll teach you. 

And if scares aren't your type, get the fucking bus or grow a pair.  (Ovaries will do fine; it's the weirdly prepubescent indolence of the permanent manchild that irks me here: just take control of your own bastarding safety)  There are some adult training courses and they are good, but this isn't rocket science. 

Victim blaming?  You fucking bet I am.  I'm fed up biting my tongue.
andygates: (Default)
Go on, visit your favourite train ticket site and book some tix with bike reservations*.  I'll give you a prize if you get anything better than a vexing user-interface fail ("you must reserve bike space at the same time as seats, and you already did that" it says after auto-reserving seats) or some platitudinous waffle about how green and lovely folding bikes are.

I don't care how lovely folding bikes are; I don't give a howling damn about your environmental credentials.  I want to buy a train ticket: You've made the sale already, stop waffling and frakking CLOSE THE DEAL.  Folding bikes are small enough to be luggage exactly to get around the staggering failgasm that is the British rail network's ability to handle a bicycle.  

Damned if I'm doing the Dumb Run on the Brompton, anyway.  I'm mad, but not that mad.  

I'll go and see the nice, helpful human again.  You'd think I would learn, but somehow my pattern-matchng fails at train tickets.  "Ooh, I'll just see if Trainline doesn't suck yet.... rargh! RARGHHULK SMASH!"  It's hell on crockery and shirts. 

* Smug euros need not apply.  

andygates: (Default)
Little Robin Red Vest?

Vest?  Vest!  It's BREAST, damn you milquetoast buffoons, it's the fronty chesty bit of most animals, it's the BREAST of chicken that you gnaw into and IT'S NOT A DIRTY WORD

*and breathe*
andygates: (Default)
It is the nature of science that one discovery stands upon another, and so on back to the simplest observations and most rudimentary hypotheses.  On the back on Euclid's space stands Newton's optics; on the back of Newton's gravity is Einstein's relativity; on the back of Einstein, Hawking, and so on.  And on the back of Newton's optics, Galileo's microscopes, Pasteur's bugs, and so on.

The names we remember are not the only ones.  There are many, many other researchers clambering onto those famous shoulders: we only remember the ones whose work moved the field forward.  The others were either wrong (which bears no shame), or beaten to it (which engenders deep sympathy) or charlatans who had no business being there (Fleischman, Pons, Hwang, I'm looking at you).  And, of course, this is an oversimplification of a human endeavour.  Still, the model serves: we clamber onto the shoulders of giants, and then we add out height to the pile, and one day maybe we'll reach high enough to see everything.

Detractors of science often take the route of pulling down one of the guys on the top of the pile, and then saying, "See?  Scientists!  They're all rubbish!"  Which is, needless to say, a logical fallacy and a serious misunderstanding of the whole nature of scientific enquiry.  We see this a lot right now in climate science.  For example, Hurricane Bertha's track took it south of most computer models.  "Pah!" say the detractors, "see how little these so-called scientists know!  You can't trust 'em about climate!"

One model got it pretty close, but the detractor doesn't mention that.  Which is a pity, because that model's authors are the ones most likely to stay on top of the shoulders of their predecessors.  The ones he derides are not so good, but that "less than perfect" value gets shouted down to zero in the antiscience argument. 

An argument often made on the internet by well-fed disease-free long-lived people in comfort in a world which is well-known.  Ah, the irony: a philosophical position that science "ain't all dat", posted on bleeding-edge technology by a person doubtless treated for many previously-nasty diseases and injuries, fed on technological agriculture flown around the world, in a world of mostly-predictable weather and up-to-the-minute news.  Science is all dat.  Everything else is subsistence farming and shamanism.


Jan. 21st, 2008 10:55 pm
andygates: (Default)
Which of these did I actually send tonight at 10pm after checking in on my server migration (after a great night-school session: vertical down outside corner welds, you are my bitches)?

1: "Dear users, the migration of your data to the new, spacious and high-performance server cluster will not go ahead tonight as planned due to technical issues which we'll investigate as soon as we can.  In the meantime, please continue to work on the current server as before."

2: "Dear users, the migration of your data from the creaky old fossil box to the preposterously over-spec server cluster will not go ahead tonight as planned because you've chosen to use such staggeringly long filenames that they crashed my migration routine.  I mean, come on, I'm all for lucid file structures but whole sentences as folder names?  You've saved every webpage you've ever found interesting with its full name, then given a "that huge name - comments" subfolder with more inside that, ad infinitum?  Easy, tiger.  We gave you a namespace but you eated it.  Your linguistic legerdemain did things that Windows, in its deep stupidity, permits but cannot handle, which I shall try to cheat my way around as soon as I can face it.  In the meantime, please continue to create novella-size file structures on the current server as before."
andygates: (Default)
I work second-line support.  I rely on the Helpdesk to log calls, deal with the chaff, and send me reasonably intelligble problems which are within my remit to fix. 

andygates: (Default)
Our town is being menaced by the faceless horror of Tesco.  That's what the local small businesses would like you to think ,at least - big business putting the plucky small trader out of work unfairly.

In the last few days I've turned up with a fistful of shinies to two of these local shops and had my money turned away.  At the phone shop, I was turned away because I was dealing with the other salesman, and he's not in today - and the rural simpleton behind the desk presumably couldn't split the commission so he'd rather turn away a sale.  And I've been told by the electrical goods shop that they will give me a price for a storage heater if I give them a product number.  I'll just go to another shop and get it then, shall I?

Straw-chewing knuckle-dragging subprime gibbons, the lot of them.  Using "we're small businesses, love us!" to defend this sort of feeble service is weak, weak, weak. 

Small businesses can be great.  The personal service, working relationship and deep knowledge from years in the trade are well worth the modest premium you may pay over big-box retailers.  But "small" is not and never should be an excuse for "lazy".  Lazy businesses deserve to go under.

At least there'll be room for a Starbuck's.
andygates: (Default)
After the big floods a few days ago, a goodly chunk of Gloucestershire citizens don't have clean tapwater.  The flood knocked out a main water processing plant; the water company are providing bowsers of clean water.

Just for the record: people complaining that the supplied bowsers are empty, while standing in pouring rain, and declaring that they need the water to wash with - these people are nucking fumpties.  Rainwater is potable.  You catch it in a clean bucket, and voila, water.  Stop gabbing about how mean it is that your equally-thick neighbour has taken all the bowser water to wash their ASBO brat, and sort yourselves out!

andygates: (Default)
Well now, there's a thing.  Next week I'm the mail guy.  The other two main mail guys are off, and so is the demi-mail girl.  The team-leader go-to guy is off for half the week too.  We have a gazillion mail users local and remote, and I'm the new guy.  Real "So X, just how is our mail set up?" and "Hey Y, what are the sending limits again?" levels of newness. 

I don't actually mind carrying the thing.  Baptism-by-fire is a kinky sort of geek adrenaline sport and nothing trains a chap up better than some long hard days in the saddle.  But I'm appalled that such an important service, with so many things to go wrong and so many quirks and wrinkles, is being left to the new guy alone.  That's unprofessional to our users, and that does piss me off.
andygates: (surf)
Pop!  My passenger side headlamp bulb goes.  No problem, think I, pop to the shop, get a bulb, and swap it out.


andygates: (Default)

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