hirez: (Armalite rifle)
After I posted a two-sentence rant on a friend's FB, I had to stop and think.

Thought one was that all of Rupert's actual friends (ie - not some mental ex-goth failing to make it as a SF writer because interesting computer things and uninteresting life things keep happening, that he last spoke to at least twenty years ago) will consider me a drive-by bell end. Which is how things work on FB because there's no actual sense of how people know each other. There's this amorphous blob of probably-human outside your house that keeps flinging pictures of cats through your window and anyone who stops by for a slice of tea and to parse the time around (Lennon) is going to have to get used to ducking regularly or get as good at gas-grenade tennis as recent French protesters.

I want to see English protesters hitting teargas canisters back over police lines with a good square cut.

The other thought was that my job is a permanent orbit around computers being entirely shite at everything they are called upon to do. Or rather that people are shit at working out what they want the computers for.

Devops, right? Automate all the things! Deploy fast! Fail faster! Devs and Ops (and Net types and DB-fondlers if you want any hope of making progress) working side-by-side on piano keyboards for make great benefit of great christ who writes this shit?

Hardware is by and large awful and will break in as entertaining a way as possible at the least appropriate time. For instance about a week before the warranty runs out. Then it will take $supplier two weeks to mend same, by which time oh dear well yer kit's not supported. So you can either have multiple boxes and load-balance the crap out of everything (or round-robin DNS or...) which increases the likelihood of failure because you've more things to go wrong. Or you can rent service on someone else's pile of computers. Which will expose you to exactly the same set of problems only this time you have to wait for someone else to fix it. Or have three of everything at three times the cost.

OSes wear out. You have got a plan for when your distro is no longer supported and yet another OpenSSL exploit arrives, right? What's that? There's no engineering budget for migrating off ShonkOS-7 to ShonkOS-9 because that would mean rewriting the front-end layer in Grollop since all the devs on the Spon framework left when it turned out the project owner was seen coming out of a Styx gig? Oh dear oh dear. It seems to me that projects exist in two states - either being maintained or being decommissioned. Which is it now, Ralph?

Frameworks. Oh god frameworks.

OS packages are a good idea, though. None of that rubbish with unpacking a tarball on a server and calling './configure && make && make install' a valid method of software distribution. Doing that now would be daft when even toy languages come with their own package management rig. I mean, all you have to do to ensure a repeatable experience is distribute a textfile with yr c0de that lists all the dependencies on third-party libraries and their versions and then run a one-liner to ensure that everything's up to date... You know, does that one-liner look suspiciously like a 'make install' with false nose and glasses? Because that what it looks like to me.

All of this is just papering over the cracks...

... Ah, stuff it.
hirez: (Armalite rifle)
Because I've been mostly doing internet things for the past oh god what really that long years, I have had the deep misfortune to come across alleged software written by annoying children seemingly in the grip of a three-week caffeine bender. Systemd, for example. The idea is not actually a bad one; have a thing that sits there and minds all the bits of yr Unix box, and make that thing aware of modern inconveniences like shonky networking, shonky batteries and shonky storage. The things that would make yr traditional Unix malarkey sulk in a corner and/or ask plaintively where the next nine-track tape was coming from.

However, as implemented and as installed on Bloody beardian it is an epic sack of pants and I look forward to the procession of r00t exploits.

The reason I was effing about w/systemd is some even worse software. The howling caffeinated children in this case seem to have found the keys to the poisons cupboard and have supplemented themselves by gobbling grey market psychoactives couriered direct from an anonymous Chinese lab.

Fucking docker and fucking nomad are not meant for grownups. The target market is clearly Valley or Roundabout startups peopled by useless bastards who consider Nathan Barley a quaint documentary and who are actually the sort of people who ask things like 'How do I get my coders to do 60-80 hour weeks?'

The answer being job-specs like 'We use cutting edge tools like docker, consul and nomad to ensure that our entirely facile social app works as swiftly as possible in hoovering your demographics, location and alleged taste in shitty media properties so we can sell you and your friends to the lowest bidder. Via some shit javascript secured with our own secret double-XOR encryption.' Which mean that for 50 of those 60-80 hours, one or more 'coders' (They're not fucking engineers. I'm not a fucking engineer. Fuck you.) will be looping round the stations of the crass 'documentation' until they doubt their own sanity.

A kind of industrialised psyops/gaslighting, if you will. The KGB used to beat a man for weeks. In the C21st you can sit on your arse in a not-aeron and have your brainwashing outsourced to some hateful mob of fuckers with a view of Fisherman's Wharf and artisanal bogpaper. You steam (virtually, this is the internet) from fuckyou.io site to github to a gist (so more github) like a plaid rat in a shit maze, wondering why something clearly so simple and obvious eludes you. All your 'friends' are making it work. You can see them talking about it on the Twitters. There they are at #twattyconf, slurping double-hopped IPA in a free t-shirt with another fucking .io domain on the front.

(Are there .oi domains yet? Geezah.oi.oi etc.)

Here are some slides from #twattyconf. Here is a picture of a person in a cube at a jaunty angle. These slides will be wacky no doubt. But not sexist or ableist. No. There is a code of conduct which has made everything better. Three slides in there is some commandline malarkey rendered in green-on-black by someone who has never seen a VT100 (which was wonky white-on-black because the video boards on those things were shite) but wishes you to know they are l33t haxx0r. You peer at the green-on-black and wonder if this is worth yet another migraine and yet another day of self-hatred, because the commandline malarkey allegedly makes the industrialised psyops software written by horrible children do the things you want.

You type it out longhand, because the presentation software has rendered everything as pictures, which is the way that modern young people communicate. Text being for the old and the poor. The industrialised psyops software pauses for slightly longer than usual. Perhaps it will work. Perhaps this undocumented switch...

No. Of course not.

Back in your Skinner box, admin-boy. The hateful children have not finished taunting you today.
hirez: (Challenger)
Thus far, most of the daylight hours of the weekend have involved motorways.

Thursday contained a not actively unpleasant blat up to That London, wherein I began to remember how much I hated the left-hand lane of the north circular pretty much as we arrived that the lights next to the Ikea at wem-ber-lee.

Because I am rock&roll, I consumed a lake of pho and then passed out in the hotel (Hox, obvs.) where I dreamed ruby code.

Friday's trip back was equally not-unpleasant, exactly until we got to Chiswick. Apparently there was a competition which involved getting a Guinness-world-record number of dickheads into wanker cars and making them drive as slowly as possibly towards Cornwall.

After a number of hours we got as far as Reading, and the pot of tea I'd inhaled at breakfast had passed fully south and was becoming impatient about an exit visa.

Reading services was full. Properly, fully, queueing out onto the M4 full.

We meandered onwards. After all, the traffic map alleged that the worst of the nose-to-tail ceased at Reading and it was only 14 miles to the A34 junction and the next set of services.

Which was full.

After more plodding along and admiring all the plant parked up by the bomb-store exit, we found Membury. It was the middle-class apocalypse. The carpark was awash in projectile-vomiting children, badly parked Audis and shellshocked people from the Boden catalogue holding their iPhones to the sky and cursing Messrs. Google.

We made our excuses and left before it all kicked off in Waitrose - a pitched battle over the last of the organic polenta.

I understand the M5 was worse.

Today we steamed off to Cheltenham. Again, the trip out was non-horrible.

On the way back, I was passing a selection of wagons and approaching the newer of the Gloucester exits in the middle lane when some hateful hateful fucking moron in an I-don-'t-know-what-but-I'm-betting-Audi realises that passing the scruffy-looking 9K was perhaps a mistake because she wants to leave the motorway right now.

Normal people would have known where the fuck they were and been in the left-hand lane. Boy racery twats would have jumped on the brakes, and swung in behind aiming to miss my rear corner by a few cm.

Homicidal fucking cowbag decided to swing in front, then jump on the brakes. While making complicated hand-signals that may or may not have been sign language for 'I have the last of the organic polenta from Waitrose and the NW3 posse(e) are on my tail in an AMG SUV OMG.'

We joined in with the hand signals. Ours were much simpler to understand.

Much later on, drawing to a halt on the roundabout where the M4 meets the M32, I am in the left-hand lane because I want to peel off onto the ring-road and beetle down through Frenchay where the junctions are less annoying. In the far right lane is a black X5 that had come charging up from I-don't-care-where.

The next time I see that X5 it is because the alleged 'driver' has decided that it didn't really want to go to Bristol at all and is cutting across three lanes of traffic for the exit back onto the M4 through the gap between the 9k's bonnet and the back of the Transit in front.

I hope the fucker buys a bag of septic coke and his cock, toes, nose and fingers rot off in as disturbing a way as possible.
hirez: (Armalite rifle)
I am generally in favour of people with disabilities having adapted cars and getting on with their lives.

However, I am seriously not in favour of oh, anyone, deciding that even though I've taken primary position, a width-restriction is the ideal place to overtake that tiresome cyclist. Away and fuck yerself you gormless bastard.

Meanwhile, on the way home I discover two learny-learny cars being directed to 'overtake' cyclists in the teeth of oncoming traffic. Well, I say 'overtake'. I mean 'meander towards the crown of the road and push that uppity lycra-botherer into the ditch. Ha-ha it will serve him right he is probably a socialist.'


I would still like an EMP cannon for use as a panic button for urban cyclists. Or some other ECM rig that can 0wn the engine-management computers within (say) Bluetooth radius and thus bring traffic to a lurching halt should some bollix in a skip-wagon decide on a careless left turn. Or some bollix in a white van (an important white van because he is delivering your Precious Things from AmazonBay-a-Porter) ditto. Or some send-em-'ome-it's-the-only-lingo-vey-unnerstan merchant in a cab spot a fare going up west.
hirez: (muddy)
When I mentioned that 'The vitamin murders' was the wrong sort of book, I didn't actually mean 'Starts off well enough but then wanders into total bollocks and doesn't come back'. However, that is where we find ourselves. It's a shame, because yer man does take care to point out that the alleged mass poisoning of the countryside (and the sudden mechanisation of agriculture in general) had its roots (haw!) in efforts to keep the populace from starving to death in the forties.

There's a throwaway line in the book in re. the effect of Schradan, which was an early insecticide, and the amount of wildlife it killed in fields near Charlton Abbots.

Charlton Abbots is the village, and by extension the estate (in the agricultural rather than housing sense), where I grew up.

I poked at the internet for a bit, because that was self-evidently a bit close to home, and discovered that it had been hauled from one of the Zuckerman reports to (what was) MAFF.

Unfortunately I can't go and ask the chap who was there and had some experience with agrochemicals. And who I suspect suffered from OP-related nerve damage as a result.

Further internet poking reveals this fine website which is filled with quality Goldacreing.

In short, 'Shut up, Rik. No-one's on fire.'
hirez: (Armalite rifle)
You know those weeks where you get to Thursday and say 'Well, at least nothing else can break', and then something else breaks? Very much like that.

It turns out that the last time I felt this consumed by, er, more or less everything was some time in 1993. I'd point to the 2003 post where I re-discovered the thing and posted it for 'a laugh', but it's locked and the contents are juvenile enough for Goth Poetry. Indeed I used them as Goth Poetry on my first visit to Chicago. So, um, sorry about that goths of Chicago.

Hm. So. Every ten years or so? I'd say 'could be worse' but that's just digging a pit.
hirez: (Armalite rifle)
Let's get the shit things out of the way before thinking about anything interesting.

So, it seems to be random-cyclist-abuse week in Bath.

Arsehole one - some middle-aged fuck in a matching Transit advised me to piss off when I waved at him. Perhaps it was because he'd parked his shitbox on the pavement where the bike-path goes.
Arsehole two - some other middle-aged fuck in an eighties skirt with matching dog-jumper on a matching dog advised me that she wasn't going to let me pass (on the canal path). Since she didn't have the manners or sense to actually face in my direction while saying same, I assumed she was talking to either the dog or the dog-and-bone and roundly ignored her.

Honestly, if you don't want to be treated like a complete cock-end, don't fucking act like one.
hirez: (Object)
It's a big planet out there, filled with a range of odd things.

Via the magic of the internets, I am pointed at a news report from Oklahoma City, OK (I think it's one of the flat, square ones in the middle. Maybe near the one with the pointy mountain that was in Close Encounters), in which some poor kid doesn't get her ticket out of 'high school' (I think that's something to do with Buffy or John Hughes. I don't bloody know. Apparently we all troll around going 'SIX-A-BONG') for saying 'hell'.

A quick look at the other headlines to the right of that article reveals the following:

Mother accused of allowing uncle to impregnate her daughter.
GRAPHIC - Elderly man arrested violating pig at school barn.
Daughter fights to keep father on sex offender registry.

I don't think I'm too far off base in thinking that they appear to have slightly bigger problems than alleged naughty words.
hirez: (Armalite rifle)
Yesterday was mostly spent pottering about Chepstow with some unusual suspects and it all turned out utterly splendid. I wonder if the one-way-system pub crawl is a thing, and if not it should be.


Part of the gig was minding an assemblage of artfully constructed steampunkery in the castle. For reasons which I suspect the estimable [livejournal.com profile] autopope of this parish could fulminate over for quite some time, several of the items were handguns of varying baroqueness.

While I was standing there, everyone who picked up one or other of the pistols peered down the barrel and worked the trigger.

I have a phrase for that sort of behaviour and it is fucking idiocy.

I think it is a problem created by a particular sort of smug, (English) (middle-class) type who consider all firearms icky and therefore won't have anything to do with any aspect of them. Indeed, after the n-th time I found myself cringing and looking for something to hide behind, I was moved to explain to some small Tarquin (or Bastian or whatever pre-teens are called these days) that perhaps it would be a good idea to keep the thing pointed at the floor and finger away from the trigger until he was sure the weapon had been made safe.

This resulted in the usual set of filthy looks. The useless tossers.

I am not, in the main, the sort of person who agrees with many of the aims of the NRA (US version), but their advice to parents is spot on.

In a similar area we find the gormless sods in the office who do the same peering-and-triggering with the nerf pistols lying about. I don't actually care that the fucking things are toys don't do that it's fucking stupid and by the way don't point the fucking thing at me because you will have a sense of humour failure when I wallop you with something.


It's just me, isn't it? I was the one who was taught gun-safety by my parents and so I have to put up with a legion of horrible horrible bastards who'll bang on for hours about the relative merits of MP5 over G36 over Glock something-or-other and actually they haven't a fucking clue what they're talking about because they're the same bloody people peering down the business-end of something they don't know the state of and working the trigger hopefully to find out.

The very next person who tries something like that near me is going to get a right fucking talking-to.

(The cringe-and-duck thing? I can't not do it. It's ingrained behaviour and really, I'm not about to stop doing it.)
hirez: (Armalite rifle)
Today I am obviously invisible. I haven't been far because it's tiresomely obvious that whatever space I occupy at any given moment will cause maximal affront to someone else because they'd decided that they were going to be there and who does this long-haired oik in the trousers think he is?

And then they look at you like useless cow-eyed shitpots as if to say '... but why are you there? That's where I want to be. Why happen?' but because they're thinking that their entire brain is busy so they keep shambling in your direction, presumably hoping that the same magic that made you spring into scruffy existence will make you spring out ditto. At no point does it occur that it might be a bright idea to dodge to one side so you can both get to wherever-it-is with minimal fuss.

Gaaaah. Etc.
hirez: (Armalite rifle)
Dear Commerzbankers. See this? World's smallest violin.

Words/phrases that no longer mean, er, anything: 'sharing', 'extremely seriously', 'public interest', 'reach out to'.
hirez: (Challenger)
Oh, FFS (i) : Some bollix w/hooped jumper and hybrid. Yes, you should expect a Futurist car-horn fanfare when you try to turn right against the lights without looking to see what the cars coming from your left are doing. You cock. Especially since you were coming from the Queen's Square end and there are two pleasant, narrow and largely car-free streets you can nip down which will put you on the end of the bike lane. But of course you're a blasted car-pilot in disguise and you're too feckwitted to think like that. And yes, the other cyclist in the black t-shirt did call you a complete cock-end.6

Oh, FFS (ii): Two bloody cars on the same roundabout on two different days. It must be localised magnetic stupidity that makes you stare right at the car half-way across the roundabout and heading in your direction and then think (well, I say 'think') 'Oh I can just nip out in front of.. Oh.' and then pretend that you can't see the nice man in the Saab giving you one of his special waves. You cocks.
hirez: (Armalite rifle)
... FB turns into the 'speak you're brains' section of the Daily Mail.

I need a Junior Thatcherite bingo card. A cursory glance has already revealed opinions such as

'National service'
'Send in the army'
'They should get on their bikes and look for work'

I look forward (nb: sarcasm) to 'The enemy within', 'a short, sharp shock' and other choice soundbites.

hirez: (Armalite rifle)
I'm sure you're feeling jolly pleased with yourselves for discovering this exciting new thing where you can play Jolly Tricks on someone who's left a logged-in session open on one or other 'social networking' site. (nb: sarcasm)

However, calling it 'frape' or 'facebook rape' is, as I'm sure has been pointed out, a bit shit.

One thing is the result of carelessness, alcohol, not being aware of one's surroundings or trusting people who may or may not have your best interests at heart, but is pretty much your own damn fault. The other one, really really not.

The existing term is 'coat-tailing'. You horrible little bastards.
hirez: (Default)
Ring Orange. Wait. "We are experiencing a high call volume, etc" (ORLY? I wonder why?)

JHR: "A porting-code, please."

Orangeman:[4] "Oh, ok. Any particular reason?" (To be fair, this would be the first non-tiresome person in an airtime provider's retention dept with whom I've spoken in ten years.")

JHR: "The staff in your Bath shop are rubbish and didn't want to negotiate."[1]

Orangeman: "Fair comment. I'll bung it in the post."

JHR: "Oh. Er. Ta very much."

[1] They can't, it transpires. You want much cheapness, you threaten them on the phone. Why the smug-faced bollix in the shop couldn't be arsed to remind[2] me of this is... Actually a good thing, since I've a nicer phone[3] for less money on a better network now.

[2] I go through this loop every two years or so and never remember to consult old bits of LJ to gen up on what happened last time. IIRC I got a deal out of Orange last time because I was still a Labbie and thus was in receipt of An Discount.

[3] Android FTW. It is very shiny.

[4] Do your own jokes.
hirez: (Challenger)
(And other McLuskey recordings)

Dear Bath-located black-clad fashionista, it was only your white blonde high-street-trendy haircut that stopped me parking my bike firmly in the cleft of your pert arse. Kindly carry a torch or something else reflective and therefore off-trend, so as to avoid further mishap.

Mind, there was some poor bugger in a voluminous hi-viz overcoat sitting on the pavement up the New Cheltenham Road and looking all freshly knocked-off, so if some cretin in an Espace wants to turn left, nowt'll stop 'em.

You know, I'm repeating old posts here. I'd bang on about jet-lag, but that would be a repeat, too.
hirez: (Armalite rifle)
(This will be incoherent and likely contain swearing. I am still mostly running on snot and bile.)

There's a montage sequence in 'The first of the few' where RJ Mitchell is smoking a pipe at a problem and the fellows in the brown coats on the shop-floor are working on lathes and vices in order to build one or other of his fine seaplanes. However, there's some confusion over the routing of the oil-lines, so one of the engineer types has to beetle off to the design shop and ask Mr Mitchell about it. Yer man taps the drawings with his pipe, admits that it's not at all clear and promises to have a new design by the AM.

Nothing particularly strange going on there. A new thing is carefully considered over pipes and pints of mild, mock-ups are tested and drawings filled with well-specified terms are made up such that many examples of the new thing can be made without (by and large) the designer being on hand to personally oversee each one.

So I think it would be really quite nice if system administration could perhaps consider getting a clue and using tools and practices that have been with us since the industrial revolution.

There are no particularly good reasons for machines that are hand-built and/or infrastructures that lack DNS, SSO, central logging, patch-management, security management, trivially repeatable machine instantiation or useful reporting/instrumentation.

And yet. The attitude that such things are a bit hard or strange is part of the background noise.

For instance. Puppet's got the makings of quite a useful machine-management tool. However, one of the early types and/or examples was for login management by hand-hacking the passwd file and copying around SSH keys. Which, what?

I believe we've had working Kerberos + LDAP for the thick end of a decade, and yet people still think that keyed SSH access is pretty swish? Jayzus.

Still, I suppose it's not a set of shared root passwords of different classes, depending on machine type. No-one's daft enough to use that any more...

And. Why are people still surprised when disks fill up? I can see that some Java job going bugfuck and filling the /var partition (Oh, wait, we're all on fucking Linux now so it's all one big / partition. D'oh!) might be something of a black swan, but taking some readings and spotting a change in disk-usage delta isn't entirely rocket science.

And. Machine specification and swapfile sizing is still bloody voodoo.
hirez: (dissent)
Splendid stuff.

The links in the comments are going to keep me busy for days.

Edit: For instance, this: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/ Sheer bloody gold.
hirez: (Armalite rifle)
I do not want to ever turn into one of those people for whom matters financial are a stimulating topic of after-dinner conversation.

That being said...



The other month, I was in receipt of an insurance renewal quote for house&contents. It was easily 1.5 x existing price and encroached on 2 x same. Grasping cockney-voiced fuckers. I held my nose and poked about on a well-known 'price comparison webshite', where I discover that they were indeed 'avin' a right tin bath' in their own vernacular.

Thus, while I was in that there Londons the other week, I found myself a quiet backstreet off Spitalfields, rang them up and told them that I was off elsewhere unless they matched the price on the website. In the manner of some haggly-haggly tosspot as we are taught by the nice men on the television, which is frankly a fucking imposition. That conversation went in my favour and only required that I pretended I was someone who cared about that sort of thing for a half hour.

Coincidentally, the renewal quote for the car arrived this month. This one's circa 2 x existing. Which, given I had a broker for this sort of thing because I hate bargain-seeking behaviour, really was taking the piss.

Due to the magic of computers and CRM, Kwik-e-Fit's pisstaking service rang up and offered to 'beat any quote'. I put up with telling a succession of people exactly the same bloody thing several times in succession until my eyes started to bleed with boredom and hatred for anyone even tangentially involved with financial institutions. However, one of them put a quote in the post that was really quite cheap.

You can guess what happened next.

I ring the nice people about the cheap quote, and as if by incompetence and making things up, no record of that price exists and the best they can do is more or less exactly what I've been quoted by the about-to-be-ex broker.

I am not interested in any of this malarkey. I kept a broker because it made more sense to have other people do it. However, in this modern, decentralised and empowered world where my calls may be recorded for training purposes and I may be contacted for other products or services, I have to piss about on 'price comparison' sites in order not to be entirely shafted.

I was entirely unsurprised to discover that at least one of them is owned by one of the insurers and a good two thirds of the alleged 'choice' led back to those same people.

They're all from Porlock. Every damn one of the bastards.


hirez: (Default)

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