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: (Happy cycling)
(Because that name does assume a minor amount of mechanical nouse)

Before the country started enacting its own Ballardian psychodrama - we do appear to be working our way collectively through his novels, and Shepperton has a splash-on part in the current Thames Television opportunity. I'm looking forward to Hello America, and plan to be hiding when it's time for the Atrocity Exhibition - the Nice Bike was emitting a creaking noise from one or other of the cranks. Of late it's been quiet and I put that down to a mildly more attentive maintenance regimen because otherwise the chain rusts up sharpish what with all this weather we've been never having it so good as before it were all watermeadows round here when I were a lass, etc.

Today the left-hand crank fell off. Which was something of a surprise. Thankfully I was able to collect all the bits, stuff them in various pockets and trudge off while pretending not to notice the set of people at the bus stop.

Unfortunately Halfords.

Hey ho.
hirez: (Eisensniper)
Adulterated food, baiting the poor and/or sick for entertainment, bomb-chucking by counter-revolutionary forces, mass measles outbreaks, startling disparity in earnings...

... Could we just stop this crazy-type modernist neo-victorian themepark malarkey and go back to never having it so good because there isn't a war on?
hirez: (Default)
I guess it's an object-lesson in the fact that the purchase of consumer durables can only be a disappointing experience.


Looking at things that are far away lenses - all very fine. Things that are far away have defined edges like I upgraded their video card.
Lenses for the purpose of reading things - somewhat less fine. Trying to read SFX still makes my brain hurt.

... Which leaves the patch in between peering at print and manly regard of the middle-distance a disturbing blur where all the monitors in the world live.

Bit of a problem, that.

I'm not sure what to do about it. I suspect have them lean off the wick on the short-range set such that it matches the value of the bottom half of the set I'm wearing now. Mind, even that's only nearly right.
hirez: (Armalite rifle)
In receipt of a pamphlet of collected bumph from Bristol Corporation in re. the mayorings today.

Christ what a shower of shite.

The most obvious reading of the text(s) is to take it as a viciously surreal rag mag[1] and assume that the various alleged positions and/or apparent policy statements are a sequence of heavy-handed satirical pieces on the opinions and mores of contemporary media-consuming Britain. Thus we discover that some tosspot Occupy chancer from Brighton has Googled himself up, found a Dobbshead and used it as clip-art to decorate his comic-sans-set, dope-mediated ramblings. I have some positive wossname with the idea of 'radical transparency', but democracy-via-social-network is far too Steve Bong to describe.

The rest are worse. Mostly they want to make the traffic move better (so at least they live in Bristol...) which generally seems to involve making things nicer for those poor car-driving types. Never mind that the bits of Bristol that remained unbombed were mangled with the car in mind. Those that want to make public transport less worse also want to get rid of the local nukes, which is a crowd-pleasing stupid idea.

... Oh lord it's all too horrible.

[1] Do they have such things any more? I guess if you want something filled with shit jokes by students, google for 'banter' and follow the most disturbing path available.
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 not sure what this is, but I imagine it's obvious I don't care for it.

Exhibit A) Every time I go to the pictures, I have to put up with a hateful (in concept, the execution is but bland) advert which invites me to 'be an insider'. If my understanding is correct, for a regular remittance the section of Global Corporate Headquarters tasked with selling crap stories to the slack-jawed will allow the 'insider' opportunities to view filmed entertainments before the rest of the lumpenproletariat.

Exhibit B) It transpires that for a similar sort of consideration, News International will allow you access to the 'backstage' bar at the O2.

And then there's Klout, for whom you may Google yourselves.

Exhibit C, I think, is/are the various 'celebrity gossip' mags and that Perez Hilti blighter. Paying up to know stuff about people.

Lest you think that I consider myself far too special for that sort of thing:

Exhibit D) My collection of Whitby laminates and allied shameful tat.

You know the part in Wayne's World II where they are given backstage passes for the backstage which is not the true backstage?

That's you, that is.
hirez: (Default)
[Poll #1713822]
hirez: (Happy cycling)
If you do by accident purchase some terrible industrial alcohol concoction, vaguely flavoured with some chemicals that the manufacturers are convinced smell a bit like Juniper, don't consume it. If you do, you may find yourself lurking under a pedestrian overpass handy for a half-built estate on one of the grimmer edges of Bristol. As you consider both the empty bottle and your hopeless mortgage, you may feel like lobbing the bottle into the Bristol-Bath cyclepath out of incoherent frustration.

If you do perform those actions, you're a complete bastard and have more or less the life you deserve, because my rear tyre went Ftmpshh! Blop! Blop blop blop! and I had to walk the rest of the way home.

Before that, however, it was going jolly well. The splendid types at Bath Ales had a brew on which smelled lovely and all the tiresome roadies had been out yesterday.

[Edit: FFS! A cm-and-a-bit rip in both tube and tyre. The latter of which is a Conti Ultra Gator and theoretically proof against such malarkey. Bottle-hoofing gin drinkers == complete and utter bastards.]
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: (peeved)
Actually, what I would really like is for the part of my brain that remembers things to do its fucking job.

For instance: car keys go in left front pocket. Due to the nature of pockets, they are vanishingly unlikely to fall out, even if I am hauled up by the ankles and shaken vigorously.

Nevertheless, some shitpot cron-job goes off every five minutes:

'Where are your keys?'
'In my pocket.'
'Are you sure?'
'I am fucking sure.'
'Piss off.'
'You should check.'
'You should fuck off.'

It's not just keys, obv.

Perhaps it is because my brain has been replaced by mucous.
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: (Armalite rifle)
Excellent idea. (From here via the supercharged and fuel-injected [livejournal.com profile] andrewducker)

In an effort to head off the jokes about Ikea furniture being complicated to assemble, I should point out that it's been pretty trivial for me. The Sunday whinings from various Pollys Filla rub me up the wrong way, but then being completely useless does seem to be a positive career move vis-a-vis the ruling elite, so I can see that their shoeshine boys might want to cargo-cult that mindset.
hirez: (Armalite rifle)
(As we say in Gloucester)

You know that thing at the end of 'Two-lane blacktop' where the film judders to a halt and then melts, leaving a white screen and bits of charred film-stock?

It happens in real life, too.

If any of you buggers see fit to spoiler the last half-hour of 'The girl with the dragon tattoo' before I get around to seeing it again, I'll come round yer house and shite in yer computer.

Zizzi can fuck off, too.

Shopping centres, right? Load of old bollocks, that.

(What I saw of the film was bloody good stuff, mind.)
hirez: (Challenger)
Might as well finish off the day with a filthy racket that suits my mood:


I'm fairly sure we've been here before, but it seems like a good idea again. Breakbeat drone-rock? Something like that. Defiantly lo-fi, too.
hirez: (Cooper-Clarke)
Bios du Boulogne. A critical part in French PCs. Incorrect settings here will drop you at the 'quoi?' prompt on bootup.
hirez: (Armalite rifle)
There are semi-regular features here and in the Saturday Guardian Lit-Bit about books one can read again and again. The one that I always seem to forget, which is probably why I keep re-reading the thing, is 'The third policeman' by Flann O'Brien. I have no particular good excuse for forgetting it, other than the fact that it's a bit of an outlier in the normal run of things that I think I like to read. Which also means that the internal model I have of JH-R doesn't match the real one, and that's a bit odd when you think about it. I don't think the way I think I think. I can only guess that even though great wedges of the plot and smaller wedges of other stuff (Hatchjaw, bicycle osmosis, five-and-a-half on the lever, etc) stick in my head, the whole of the thing is just too good to remain properly in my memory. Not unlike the effect of attending a lecture by a particularly impassioned scientist. One potters out of the hall, filled with new and startling understanding of (physics|psychology|queueing theory|stack exploits), but by the time you've got to the bus-stop it's starting to leak away and when you finally try to explain it in the pub you're back to 'fire good, beer average'. And that's a bit of a bugger.

Anyway. If you've not read it, you should.

I'd do a poll about it, but I can't be arsed and all the answers would be 'Moles be rising'.

Message to the self-described parasites[1] in the banking industry: You're so not doing yourselves any favours here. I mean, if you want a torch-wielding mob of angry (and only very slightly smug) socialists to come crawling out of the woodwork, you just keep right on going.

(Which International are we on? Is it time for Socialism 5.0 yet? Does it work like M$ compiler releases, in that the even-numbered ones are a bit shit? Or maybe we need Web2.0 Socialism; rounded boxes, comrade-lists and Factions instead of Drama. I wish I'd gone to Newcon and had this idea close to Ken McLeod now.)

Meanwhile, I don my [livejournal.com profile] mr_tom cycling bowler and remark that the publicity fallout from EPO-jacking roadies is probably significantly cheaper than the likely damage from this mob of wide-suited greedheads.

Normally, I have a deal of time for the various ex-NME types that seem to have done well for themselves. However, this week's piece is a bag of maximum wrong with a sticker on it reading 'With free extra value wrongness'. The tech isn't the problem, it's the alleged nasty bugger who may (or may not. Jury still out, etc.) have raped and murdered the woman. The idea that women should be sold mobiles with panic buttons because they're otherwise too busy buying pink spangly phone-covers is... Clearly beyond my limited powers of self-expression.

I refuse to give in to the idea that no-one can help themselves.

Thankfully, there's this: http://www.thisisnotaninvitationtorapeme.co.uk/

(Found via LJ during the week.)
(Modest proposal: all licensed cab drivers should wear skirts)

Ah, sod it. I'm going out on the bike. Maybe I can manage more than ten minutes without collapsing and needing to eat everything in the house. Maybe it's a side-effect of the Black Dog. (I don't give house-room to the 'D' word.)

[1] Seriously. I was in the local boozer one Christmas, probably circa 1992, and spent about an hour listening to some Barbour-jacketed city wallah bang on into his (and my) ale about how he was a parasite and hated himself and his life. Although clearly not that much, since he managed to ignore all of my suggestions about re-distribution of wealth in my direction.
hirez: (Armalite rifle)
'Food court' : Where alleged comestibles are tried and found wanting.

(This message brought to you by the lard marketing board of Illinois.)
hirez: (Armalite rifle)
Sod. New m/b has expired in a pile of squeaking (Single and entirely undocumented long peeps) and an upgrade appears to have shagged Courier authdaemon.

[FX: Hackery]

M/b still hosed, but with any luck under guarantee.

IMAP swerver doing auth again. I think the packaged version depended on mysql. (Not on my bloody computer you don't)

Still feel entirely bloody lost without my proper computer to hand, mind.


hirez: (Default)

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