Sunday, December 26, 2010

Laptop fun

Just found out why Mum’s laptop didn’t want to work too well after a transformer failed at her apartment block last week.

 

The 19VDC power brick just put a 450V multimeter into overlimit alarm.

 

Remarkably enough the lappie itself seems to have survived fine.

Acheivement unlocked

Well, I have successfully unlocked a new achievement for my character – I bought clothes for a female and she liked them.

 

I think this means I have leveled?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Genius

Glad to see that Queensland politicans are as cloth-headed as ever.

This little piece of genius has, in effect, just told every idiot on the road what they need to do to get away without being chased.

Nice one, Neil.

This is pretty good :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Aw, shit. :(

For some reason, the PSU in the file server just decided that this was the time, and hung up its jock.

 

Dammit, at least I have tomorrow off to buy a new one.

 

It looks like it was barbecued due to cooling fan failure, I could kludge a new fan in there, but for $40 I don’t think it’s worth resurrecting a PSU that’s been far enough outside thermal tolerance to force a hard shutdown.

I think the last chick takes it very well, all things considered.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Oh the humanity

Have a look at this poor bastard who has been denied access to the home heating assistance she so desperately needs.

You know, so she can sit on her arse and watch the large flatscreen TV, digital tuner and Xbox in the background in comfort.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Visual eyesores of the web

Clutter central.

Mr Clutter's green clutter.

I wonder if there's a word for what's wrong with this bloke.

I really wouldn't recommend reading the hilarous-text install bar at the top of this one (first time I've seen that), but the site itself is worth seeing.  Once.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Oops

Just gave a work colleague a Jila mint.
 
He said thanks, popped it into his mouth and bit down.
 
Poor bastard may be able to speak again in an hour or two if he’s lucky.
 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

shastie will get a giggle out of this...

I seem to remember a significant amount of time being spent identifying this particular prick by ourselves and other interested individuals....

In the blue corner...

...we have a 77 year old retired hunting enthusiast, and in the red corner we have the five teen scumbags trying to rob his house. Gentlemen, place your bets.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

And about time too

Ye gads should I applaud the US for anything, but this is a damn good idea.

Now here's a good social engineering phish

Just got this in my e-mail:



INTRODUCING UPGRADED ADOBE ACROBAT 2011

Dear Customers,

Adobe is pleased to announce new version upgrades for Adobe Acrobat 2011. 
http://www.2011-adobe-pdf-reader.org

Advanced features include:

- Collaborate across borders
- Create rich, polished PDF files from any application that prints
- Ensure visual fidelity
- Encrypt and share PDF files more securely
- Use the standard for document archival and exchange

To upgrade and enhance your work productivity today, go to:
http://www.2011-adobe-pdf-reader.org

To leave comments, please contact us at: comments@2011-adobe-pdf-reader.org

Best regards,

Tom Norman
 
Adobe Acrobat Reader

Copy rights © Adobe Acrobat 2011 - All Rights Reserved
Website:
http://www.2011-adobe-pdf-reader.org



Looks good, doesn't it?

Now, let's think a little critically.

I would expect contact from Adobe to come from adobe.com, not 2011-adobe-pdf-reader.org.  And how did they get my direct e-mail when to my knowledge to you never have to register to use Acrobat Reader?

A DNS lookup on 2011-adobe-pdf-reader.org shows:

Domain ID:D160899709-LROR
Domain Name:2011-ADOBE-PDF-READER.ORG
Created On:11-Dec-2010 08:34:29 UTC
Last Updated On:11-Dec-2010 08:34:39 UTC
Expiration Date:11-Dec-2011 08:34:29 UTC
Sponsoring Registrar:Regional Network Information Center, JSC dba RU-CENTER (R148-LROR)
Status:CLIENT TRANSFER PROHIBITED
Status:TRANSFER PROHIBITED
Status:ADDPERIOD
Registrant ID:JQ3S5X0-RU
Registrant Name:Zeus Marketing Service
Registrant Organization:Zeus Marketing Service
Registrant Street1:MTC Media Unit GF 6B,Brown Street
Registrant Street2:
Registrant Street3:
Registrant City:Dundee
Registrant State/Province:
Registrant Postal Code:DD1 5EG
Registrant Country:GB
Registrant Phone:+44.1382206023
Registrant Phone Ext.:
Registrant FAX:
Registrant FAX Ext.:
Registrant Email:domain@adobe.com

 
Hmm, Zeus Marketing Service?  In Dundee, Great Britain?  Smells very fishy.  Interesting registrant e-mail, but you can enter anything there.

Let's go to the website and have a look.  You can do this safely.


Not bad, although the graphics are not quite Adobe corporate.  What's that you say?  Yes, the domain has changed - 2011-adobe-pdf-reader.org has redirected to new-2011-pdf-download.com !  Gee, all reference to both Adobe and Acrobat gone.  Let's have a little DNS lookup, shall we?

Domain name:             NEW-2011-PDF-DOWNLOAD.COM
Name Server:             ns10.dnsmadeeasy.com
Name Server:             ns11.dnsmadeeasy.com
Creation Date:           2010.11.23
Expiration Date:         2011.11.23

Status:                  DELEGATED

Registrant ID:           G2GSV3U-RU
Registrant Name:         Consesores De Importadores De Machina Independente
Registrant Organization: Consesores De Importadores De Machina Independente
Registrant Street1:      suite 310
Registrant City:         Panama City
Registrant Postal Code:  n/a
Registrant Country:      PA

Administrative, Technical Contact
Contact ID:              G2GSV3U-RU
Contact Name:            Consesores De Importadores De Machina Independente
Contact Organization:    Consesores De Importadores De Machina Independente
Contact Street1:         suite 310
Contact City:            Panama City
Contact Postal Code:     n/a
Contact Country:         PA
Contact Phone:           +1 507 5523371
Contact E-mail:          markpetersemail@gmail.com

Ah, now that's more like what we expected to find.  International wog-language registrant out of Panama with a fly-by-night $20 a year domain host and a throwaway gmail address.

Anybody wanna download it and see what it does?  I'll be patient waiting for the reply, you may need to reformat afterwards.  ;-)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

English student riots

So I understand the scruffy student body of England is a little miffed at the coming rise in student fees.

I can understand that, but that doesn't give you the right to act like a mob of thugs and generally terrorise the place as your own method of throwing a tanty.  Apparently the chase car officers in that scenario were armed, and no doubt there would have been cries of police brutality if they had capped a round off into a few of the yobs.  I'd be cheering.

Then the liberal media runs crap like this (and actually I think it's a remarkably balanced article for a middle market tabloid).

'The police were getting very violent at that point. Where I tried to get out they were charging with horses. We had to run back.'

Gee, my dear - do you think that might have something to do with them being under attack by yobs throwing missiles and setting fire to things?

'Alfie is not a violent person. He wouldn't have done anything silly. He's not the sort of person who would have been carrying weapons. He's very political, engaged and passionate, but he's not a violent person at all.'

No, he's not violent at all.  He's a good boy, such a nice boy.  He must have been an unwilling participant in the street riot, eh?

About the only redeeming story I have head come out of this whole disaster is this one.

'I was just trying to get across to them that the cause that we're here for today isn't about 'I hate the police, I want to burn the police and I want to destory [sic] everything they represent.  It's about university fees and its about how education should not be a business.' She expressed concern that some non-students were using the protest for thier [sic] own purposes. 'There's a lot of people doing this to supoprt [sic] the cause but others are here to have a day off school, and burn stuff, and be rebellious as a pose (rather than) actually add anything to our cause.'

Apart from the THREE spelling errors (coming back to that shortly) this demonstrates precisely why this sort of crap should be met with tear gas, rubber bullets and truncheon charges.  There's not enough respect left in society for authority, but the gen-Yers who are out there protesting against authority will be the first to have their hands out for a publicly funded handout.  As for the hangers-on who think it's just cool, maybe a biff in the back of the ear, a night in the cells and a $500 fine for providing the biff and accommodation would improve their attitude towards formenting public disorder next time.

Now, back to the spelling errors, and also why I tend to have very little sympathy for the 'students' in the first place.  Higher education in the world is increasing becoming a joke.  The number of people walking around the place who are unable to do basic maths, spell, construct a legible sentence, and generally communicate in an effective manner really is beginning to plumb the depths of the absurd.

When you've got one in four trainee teachers unable to pass basic literacy and numeracy tests, the thickest and most trenchant advocate of "education for all" must have to admit there is something badly, badly wrong.

By the way, Zoe Williams (the student from the second last link above) is wrong about education not being a business.  It is.  Education costs money, my dear, and someone has to pay for it.  I'll grant that if you meet certain standards of accomplishment and demonstrable educational attainment then society should assist and subsidise tertiary education as a means of ensuring the propagation of advanced knowledge.  However, that's not a free-for-all licence for every scruffy long-hair who wants to do a vanity degree, or hasn't done anything to earn the placement, or wants to 'go to uni' as a way of deferring the need to get off your arse and do some work for another three year to sponge off the taxpaying public.

If you want to be a full fee-paying student and fund your own studies, go right ahead.  I applaud your desire for self-betterment.  Quite apart from the fact that the public isn't paying for it, the fact that you're willing to do so demonstrates that you actually have some sort of commitment to the idea.

But while it's now the norm to go through tertiary education, I can't help but feel that the whole concept is degraded to the point where it means nothing any more.  Secondary education is increasingly viewed as a joke, because 'everybody' goes to uni, so why bother, and 'everybody' gets a place in the nanny state where you don't have to meet any sort of entrance standards, or indeed pay for it.

So in terms of jacking the fees up, I say go for it.  If we can't do anything about entrance standards then this will at least give serious pause to the dilettantes and time wasters who will still be unemployable, liberal arts degree or not, and maybe, just maybe, they might have to get off their arses and GET A JOB.

In the nanny state, nobody sweeps floors, waits on tables, cleans dishes or drives a truck.  We're all financiers, surgeons, stock brokers and rocket scientists - or at least the idealistic would like to believe.  Sorry guys, chances are you're the liberal arts major I referred to earlier.  Disillusionment awaits.

So, my rioting malcontents; the police are lining up again for another baton charge, the bad news is that I'm not going to be funding your degree in philosophy next year (or the student union lesbian whale protection society either), and your choices are a cudgel to the head or put your tail between your legs, go home, and start applying for a job in line with your nonexistent skills and abilities tomorrow.

I'm good either way.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Best e-mail out of office reply ever

I am on holidays until [date].  During this time I will allow each sender one e-mail.  If you send me multiple emails, I will randomly delete your e-mails until it is pared down to one.

 

Choose wisely.  Please note that you have already sent me one e-mail.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Words officially fail me

I am absolutely gobsmacked by this.

It's bad enough when you've got some mushmouth speaking slurring gomer who can't understand basic concepts, but to entrust medical reporting to them....  just wow.

This is gonna hurt if he finds a tree.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Stupid tech support comment of the day

Customer says they cant possibly have used that much data they only view pictures, not download them.
 
/me checks DNS logs for tubgirl….
 
 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

One more sleep

The big day is nearly here, one more sleep until I resign.

 

*please please please*  Oh please ask me to leave immediately…. I could just do with a free 4 week holiday  :)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Ran across this in my file archive

Stormtroopers Team Brief 24/8/06.
 
 
Meeting commenced sometime, a few minutes late.
 
A few people turned up, a few people couldn't be bothered.  One was later found hiding in the toilets, several are still missing.
 
 
HS&E
  • The usual crap.   Blah blah operational plan blah blah, same manual task card for the 3,487th time, etc.
  • All team members reminded that while the building can be cold on nights and weekends, setting fire to sales staff to keep warm is NOT acceptable business practice as it knocks the carpetting around badly.
 
Minutes from the previous meeting
  • no one can remember being awake, let alone anything that was discussed.
 
EEO
  • Discussion cut short by one of the team leaving to file a harassment complaint against another one.  Further team development required.
 
Attendance
  • All team members were reminded that they are all expected to show up occasionally.
  • If you're going to have a nice chat with a colleague, make it look businesslike - take a big folder, a handful of paper with numbers scribbled on it, a few MOLDS printouts (old ones will do), and make you sure pull a chair up to the desk.  Under no circumstances look like you are enjoying it, and you’re good for hours.
  • New competition announced for the stupidest excuse for the week for not showing up without actually getting fired for it.  Scott currently in the lead for his excuse of "the voices in my head told me to stay home and clean my guns."
 
Performance
  • Performance and queue numbers are much improved since the new practice was adopted of just closing cases without fixing anything, based on the highly successful field staff model.
  • All staff were reminded that fixing the customer's fault is entirely secondary to taking the opportunity to flog them something in Opportunity Knocks.
 
SME reports
  • All SMEs reported either 'nothing new', or delivered a highly technical, jargon filled report that no-one could understand and bored the pants off those people not part of the workstream.
  • People who had the temerity to ask questions were shot down using more jargon, delivered in a sarcastic prima donna tone of voice.
 
General business
  • Same reminders about e-mail and dBabble usage for business purposes that no-one pays any attention to.
  • New printers have been installed and are ready for use.  Yes, they are irritating to use - they were designed that way to cut down on paper usage.
  • Several new nonsensical and poorly though out processes announced.  These were promptly shredded by the team and all the weaknesses pointed out.  Team Leader pointed out that they are now part of your KPIs whether you like them or not, or indeed whether they make actually work or not.
  • Assorted complaints from the usual whingers in the team, which were ignored as usual.
  • Some random and poorly though out rant from an inarticulate team member who can't express themselves properly is shot down in flames by the rest of the team, and the team member made to feel stupid.
 
There being nobody left who gave a damn, sleeping team members were awakened and the meeting closed late.
 
 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Woops

Here is a nice picture of my archery club, taken from about 3' inside the front door. Notice anything unusual at all?




No?

Here's what happens when you try to hit the far butts from inside the clubhouse, taking account of the guesstimated fall of shot.




Yes, the archer is copping shit from every other member of the club.  No, he's not allowed to have the arrow back.

launching in 3... 2... 1...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

News of the morning

What do you reckon this bloke's future prospects are like?

About time this little rort was ended.

All I ever get on my flights is some family friendly movie.  :(

I don't know whether to be a bit outraged or to accept it as modern life.

Why is this not a surprise?  You might also have a look at the link in the article, after the 2nd paragraph.  That's hardly a surprise either.

I am *so* trying this.

http://englishrussia.com/index.php/2008/11/10/the-sausage-admin/

Monday, November 29, 2010

Got to love these night shifts.
 
Due to system faults, I have so far today:
 
  • Read the news online
  • Pretty much finished the internet
  • Read almost all of a Stephen King e-book (and a few more downloading via torrent too)
  • Cut 10m of 4mm ID CVT into approximately 1,250 pieces for making bow finger slings
  • Drunk coffee
  • Cleaned out my desk
 
And all at penalty rates, too!
 
80 minutes to go… I think I’ll do something productive and useful like update all the mail addresses in my iPhone…
 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Freaking BRILLIANT new booze manufacturing tool!

Just bought one of these little beauties:  http://www.oztops.com.au/

Basically, you buy fruit juice without preservatives, add in half a capful of the yeast, screw on one of the caps (they have a little pressure relief diaphragm) and bugger off for a week.  After this, switch back to the normal bottle cap and refrigerate, then drink away.

Going to have a go at putting down some hard cider this afternoon.

My homebrew bloke (who is a fairly free spirit) reckons grape and apple work really well, orange goes a bit bitter, pear is OK, apricot and peach not too bad, grapefruit not recommended.  He also says it's entirely possible to ferment canned soup but the outcome, while *very* different, is not something he plans to repeat anytime soon.

Not bad for $25 posted...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The descent of customer service into the final black hole of hell

I’ve been taking a bit of a running survey at work regarding some of the names of the "customer service" we inflict upon our customers.  Most of you would know that our front of house customer contact function has now been all but completely outsourced to the Philipines (with the exception of a few niche groups), although I notice they're not quite game to do it for business services just yet.  I consider that alone to be rather a telling comment regarding the quality of the results obtained.

A bit of a hint for management: if your customers are having having this sort of fantasy, something is really, badly wrong.

Here's a sample of some of the best I have found so far:

Aldrin Magaling
Nomer Albo
Pratik Patel
Genesis Tumbis
Mayur Mohan
Rodellio Saberon
Jenish Abraham
Girish Puthramaddi
Airene Resurreccion
Exaltacion Ligaya T Lagrimas   (what the fuck??)
Deepak Ramteke
Angelie Marvy Gonzales
Ernesto Gungon III
Herman Bahilango
Ma Asuncion Aristosa
Lady-Ann Lorzano
Rona May Boltron
Jessamin Anico
Ag Gallucci
Ana Flor Esquibel

Now, granted that names don't mean everything, but how well do you think someone who comes from a society where a name like Exaltacion or Ag  is even capable of being pronounced, let alone being regarded as normal, is able to communicate with a native English speaking customer base?  You think poor?  I think bloody tragic.

Tolerance

I didn't design it.

I didn't build it.

I didn't sell it to you.

I wasn’t the person who bought it, you did.

And I wasn’t the person who broke it, was I?

So why are you mad at me, when I’m the person trying to fix it for you.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Idea of the morning

Here's the best idea of the morning.

Instead of all the crap and hassle over airport security scans and pat downs at the moment, forget the x-ray scanners and guards with rubber gloves.

Just require each person and their carry on luggage to go through a booth which seals for a few seconds... and detonates anything explosive found in there.

I reckon that regardless of the outcome it's a win-win situation, you'd just need to arrange a hose and drainage.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

it's going to be a long night

So…. I’m having a go at doing cable registration portal faults.
 
Do I have any idea how to do this?  Nope.  Has anyone bothered to show me this?  What do you think.  But I’ve got a knowledge database entry, access to the tools and an attitude where I really don’t care less, so what else could I possibly need?
 
Ticket one.  Sent back to overseas call centre fuckwits.  No MAC address provided for the new modem, gave me some useless reference number that means nothing instead.
 
Ticket two.  Sent back to overseas call centre fuckwits.  MAC address provided is 13 characters long.
 
Ticket three.  Sent back to overseas call centre fuckwits.  MAC address provided is 11 characters long.
 
Looks like the bad attitude is more than sufficient in the way of a toolset so far.
 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fun calling the ATO

*spend several minutes navigating the usual inscrutable IVR*

 

*take a punt on an option because (again, as usual) none seem to fit, in the full knowledge you’ll end up in the wrong place – so why stress over what you pick…. *

 

*surprise!  wrong place!*   **transfer**

 

ATO bitch:  Hi, this is Naomi, why are you disturbing me today?

 

Me:  Hi Naomi, I’m calling about a letter I got last week that says I’ve been moved to a PAYG tax scheme.  I’m concerned that this has happened due to a one-off significant interest payment that won’t be happening again.

 

AB:  Yes, so?

 

Me:  So I’m not too enthused about the idea of paying $8,400 of PAYG tax upfront which I won’t end up owing at the end of the year.

 

AB:  You would get a refund at the end of the year.

 

Me:  That’s not the point really, is it?  I don’t see why I should be paying $2,100 a quarter to the ATO which I won’t subsequently owe because of a one-off event.

 

AB:  I’ll take some details and see if you qualify for exemption from the scheme.

 

Me:  Thank you.  (thinking: what’s this *qualify* shit???)

 

 

Finally got grudging acceptance that I wouldn’t have to pay tax upfront for incoming I won’t be earning, and then have to fight to get it back.  With, of course, no compensation for the lack of use of the money that I didn’t owe in the first place in the meantime.

No shortage of idiots todyay

(1) Apply for access to system.  Available permission levels are Admin, Read/Write, Discovery.  (WTF is “discovery”?)
 
(2) Team Leader approves application.  (Team leader hasn’t got a fucking clue what it is, but approves it anyway.)
 
(3) Application manager sends a spittle-flecked screaming e-mail wanting to know why  **I**  have been so presumptious to ask for **WRITE** access to **HIS** precious application.  (With the usual connotation that I am some sort of underserving worm mixed with a rampaging vandal bent on destruction.)
 
(4) I don’t need write access says I – but there’s no option to apply for read only.  If you can provision read only, that will be fine.
 
(5) Freaky McFreak application manager comes back nice as pie (having apparently jumped to one of his more stable personalities in the meantime) and says that there’s no read-only access available on the system, so he’s approved full write access anyway!
 
WTF are these people on???
 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Barbecue sauce recipe


Made some home made barbecue sauce last week, pretty nice recipe I thought.  Works well for basting while cooking or dipping.
Chop a small onion (or half a big one) fairly finely and start frying gently in some olive oil or butter.
When the onion is just about soft, add a couple of teaspoons of chopped garlic.  I’m lazy and use precrushed, feel free to chop your own if you are an enthusiast.
Cook until the garlic has calmed down a bit, but don’t start the onion or garlic colouring.
Add 1 cup of bourbon.  I used home brew.
Cook gently until the alcohol smell has gone.
Add 2 cups tomato sauce, and half a cup of tomato paste.
Add ½ cup of brown sugar.
Add ½ cup of maple syrup.
Add ½ cup of vinegar (white or malt, whatever you have kicking about.)  You may need some more depending on how acid the tomato is, but taste first.
Add as much Tabasco as you feel like, there’s a lot of tomato to season so don’t be afraid to give it some.
Season with salt and pepper, again don’t be afraid to go in fairly hard.
[EDIT]  A couple of teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce is also nice for some tang.
Cook gently for about ½ hour with the lid on the saucepan, then toss the lid and cook further until it’s a little reduced – I like it moderately thick.
If you have some liquid smoke about half a cap goes well in there too, but no more than that or all you will taste is smoke.
Going to have a go at replicating the TGI Friday’s dipping sauce next, it’s more of a thin glaze based on bourbon, a little tomato, vinegar, onion, garlic and pineapple.

Co-irker quote of the morning

“Yeah… normally you should just be able to use it as normal.”
 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Undercover boss? Self-delusional boss.

David, David, David.

"I do ring our numbers. People will often say: 'Have you ever rung 132200?' And yes I do. I am a mystery shopper, a mystery customer," he says in an exclusive interview with The Australian.
The experience is not always a pleasant one. Thodey admits to be "greatly disappointed" at being personally on the receiving end of poor customer service. But he is only one of thousands who put up with it everyday. And it is a problem he is determined to fix.

Determined to fix, or determined to kludge up?  Or determined to persevere with long enough in the hope that people will begin to accept it?

One example he gives is poor customer service from the call centres. "Why is that? Is it because the people don't care? Is it because the systems aren't good enough. Or are we setting the metrics the wrong way in terms of how they are incentivised and motivated? It could be one or all three. So you need to spend time to make sure that if you are going to put solutions in place that you are really getting to the right issue," he says.

And this is where the problem truly lies - in the belief that it's a fixable issue under the current system of offshoring.  I don't care who if you're doing the job in Calcutta, Mumbai, Dehli or Manila.  It won't matter how good the systems are you give them.  How well you motivate them won't make the slightest difference, and certainly paying more isn't going to result in any improvement.

The fundamental, base, can't-get-away-from-it problem is that offshoring customer contact centres doesn't work.  From a language, cultural, communication and integration point of view, the idea is fundamentally flawed.

Hope you're reading this, David - fundamentally flawed.  Those words means that no matter how much you patch, kludge, adjust and make allowances for the system, its never going to work properly.  The only thing you can acheive is to gradully lower the expectations of the customer base to the point where they become resigned to it.

If you think that getting the customers to stop complaining is the same as actually solving the source of the complaint, then I congratulate you on a magnificent piece of self-delusion.

While the mantra of the company and Thodey is definitely upbeat these days, unfortunately for me it doesn't ring true at all.  I sat through a roadshow presentation from my 3-up manager some weeks ago where Thodey's message was all but brainwashed into us.  We're going to fix this. It can be done.  We're going to find a way.  We will improve.  Heaven forbid, the bloke might have actually believed it.  He might just be a good presented.  He may well be a good bullshit artist, or he might have been drinking the kool-aid himself.  Either way, the message was flowing - unfortunately I think the staff have had enough in the face of all evidence to the contrary.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

No shit Sherlock, d'ya reckon??

Following on from my little catharsis this morning...  http://www.jsonline.com/business/107011443.html

Some random musings


Just got into work and apart from my surprise that the office 2007 drop last night appears not to have trashed my PC, I was answering some angry e-mails when a thought struck me.
The e-mails were about some back of house staff being unable to get access to a certain system yesterday due to it being overloaded.  I knew it was an issue, I had been experiencing the same problem.  I also know what caused the problem; two years ago the business had a bright idea to give all the front of house staff access to the tool via a nice friendly Fisher-Price GUI.  They now use it all day every day, quite often without any knowledge of what it really does, what it can achieve, and whether it’s really necessary to use it.  As I type this at 8:27am I can see 180 users logged into it, up from 102 just 30 minutes ago.
The problem is that the tool in question only has a maximum capacity of 20 simultaneous users, which was more than adequate when it was built (in 1999!).  It was designed to service a limited number of technical back of house staff who needed it a couple of times a day, who knew what it could do and only used it when necessary, and were finished with it in minutes.  With potentially hundred of FoH users logged in (and I’ve seen 700+ before), the upshot is the legitimate users of the tool are effectively suffering a DDOS attack.  My reply to the e-mails was that I told the business this would happen, but that as usual short term expediency had triumphed over reality, and that I couldn’t see the situation changing until lack of access to the tool started either costing money (more money than it would take to upgrade the tool to increased capacity) or demonstrable negative customer impact.
Of course, the chances of the business removing access to that tool from the FoH staff is now zero, as it’s part of their process, and the staff will howl that they can’t do their jobs without it.  The business will cringe in horror at the idea of increased escalations to the ticket queue, someone in operations will demonstrate their advanced business management abilities by counting on the fingers of both hands at once, and that will be the end of it.  The BoH staff will be told to deal with it, the problem will continue as before, and the only possibility that categorically stands at zero chance of happening is someone putting their hand in their wallet to fund an actual fix for the problem.
Where I was going with this is that that sort of habituation to access to anything is basically a form of drug.  Once you’re hooked on it, you’re not going back.  The business structures its processes, expectations and staffing around access to a tool that they don’t provide, don’t support and won’t fund, and when it all falls over there’s no regression strategy available.
What struck me as I was deleting the work fuck out of the e-mail editing my reply for tone was how easy it is to arrive at this position of habituation in other circumstances, such as offshoring your customer contact call centres.
If you decide you’re going to try it for the first time, you’re pretty much doomed.  You can rationalise it all you like.  We’re just trying it as an experiment.  It’s just a possible initiative we’re evaluating.  It was in the program of work, it won’t go any longer than that.  We have a business responsibility to explore the potential.  Senior management has a drive on for possible savings.
Then all of a sudden the benefits start to become tangible and substantial.  Wow, look at the cost savings.  We don’t have to worry about hiring or training the staff.  No requirement for middle management, HR, payroll administration – more savings!  No concerns over fluctuating call volumes or manning, we’ve got a “flexible workforce”, and we just hold the outsourcer contractually responsible for any shortfall.  And after all, the service is exactly the same, right?
Now the first signs of problems begin to appear.  Negative customer comment in the media, the internet.  Competitors start making subtle jokes about it in their advertising, leveraging off the fact they’re still offering domestic support.  Staff begin to notice a deterioration in the quality of FoH troubleshooting, which makes their job take longer.  They listen to complaints from the customers about the poor quality of their FoH experience.  Workloads balloon, although the staff are temporarily happy about this as there’s overtime on offer.
Feedback begins to make its way to management, who automatically kick into a defensive rationalisation mode – after all, they’re either the ones that made the decision to outsource, or they’re repeating the company line defined by those who did, so they’re hardly going to be critical of the decision.  It’s not really a problem, more an acclimatisation and familiarisation thing.  The scope of the issue is being exaggerated – if you think otherwise, show us the data, which we know you can’t gather.  Look at the savings.  Everyone else in the industry is doing it – it’s the new world’s best practice!  We’ll provide feedback to the outsourcers, and additional coaching.  Here’s a  feedback mechanism we built, you can enter instances of deficiencies into it, although strangely they’ll never seem to account to anything.
It doesn’t take much longer until the decline becomes irreversible.  Staff and customers alike begin to accept (detest, but accept) the new reality that FoH is now a useless phone answering service where it’s pot luck whether you can even make yourself understood to the person you score.  Hang-up-and-try-again becomes a standard approach.  Incompetance becomes normal.  Queues blow out, service declines, costs and delays increase. 
Management (in an increasingly terse tone) now shift to pointing out that that the decision is irreversible.  The contract is a 5-year term, there are no staff left to onshore the role anyway (they’ve all been sacked), and that it’s time to deal with it.  Staff understand in their hearts the reality of this, but at the same time can’t stem the resentment at watching the decline and destruction of their workstream.  Management respond to declining morale and productivity by increasing the floggings until average handling times go down and the false smiles increase.
Customer complaints to the TIO increase.  The media and competitors have a field day pointing this out.  The TIO rubs its hands together at the thought of getting a whole new office fitout from the revenue.  Management panics, this must stop!  Brilliant idea – let’s set up a priority complaint line where you can purportedly complain directly to the CEO!  (Of course, in reality a complaints team – the closest the CEO would get to it would be a one line bullet point on a weekly high level briefing, and maybe a nice graph showing the decline in TIO complaints every quarter.)  The complaints team want every one of their complaints given the highest priority – it’s a CEO complaint! – with the result that legitimate work (ie the customers who went through the front door into the system as normal) get pushed back even further than the flood of incompetent FoH troubleshooting has already resulted in.  Fresh truckloads of Squeaky Wheel Grease are delivered every morning and applied liberally in a frantic attempt to plaster over the increasingly gaping cracks in the business while BoH staff spend most of their time explaining to people why they have no time to get anything done, as opposed to actually achieving anything.
Management proclaim the solution a success, because their quarterly graph shows TIO complaints have dropped!  The stony silence that descends when someone inquires if the total number of complaints has dropped, or have we just hidden them as CEO complaints, is a clear commentary to the rest of the staff that clarity and honesty are low on the agenda behind self congratulation and delusion. Here’s your mushroom hat, and here comes your shovelful.  Flat out denial that a problem even exists is now in full swing, as it’s the only rationalisation that can be borne in the face of all the evidence to the contrary.  Not only would it hurt far too much to admit to the disaster, but there would have to be a culture-of-blame scapegoat, and so the addict has now deluded themselves completely that there was ever an existence other than this one.
And it’s at this stage where the company is pretty much fucked.  The only way out of the hole is a five year, hugely expensive exercise involving the costs of ramping up domestic support again while continuing the pay the outsourcer to provide interim services.  All the depth of knowledge and experience has been lost, you’re starting with a newbie workforce who knows nothing.  The customer base has long since become embittered by the appalling service and will take years if ever to return from the competitors to which they have fled, and they’ve also become accustomed to the lower pricing that outsourcing permitted and won’t pay anything extra for better service – even if they are the first to complain that they want it.
After all, they’re now used to the drugs too.
Here we are at 9am, the tool now has 296 users logged into it, and is completely unusable.  As Renton said in Trainspotting, I don't feel the sickness yet, but it's in the post. That's for sure. I'm in the junkie limbo at the moment. Too ill to sleep. Too tired to stay awake, but the sickness is on its way. Sweat, chills, nausea. Pain and craving. A need like nothing else I've ever known will soon take hold of me. It's on its way.  I’m cooking up.
Or, as Renton also said – choose life.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Rule 1: never send women to buy hardware

Two new bedroom lamps come home the other day.  I look at them and remark they take miniature Edison screw bulbs.

 

SWMBO rings from Bunnings this afternoon, what sort does she need again?  Miniature Edison screw, I say.

 

15 minutes later, I’m pointing out she has bought regular ES – about twice the size of the fitting.  Stomp back out door to chew on Bunnings return counter clerk.

 

Another 15 minutes later,  I point out that we have another set of ES bulbs, and the “miniature” on the packet refers to the length of the 5W element – not the fitting.  Well they don’t have them then, because she looked on *every single packet* and they were all the same.  Both get in car and go down the road.

 

I gently point out the three linear feet of MES bulbs, which she had to walk past – twice – to get to the ES ones.  And on the way out of the aisle, I point out the display stand of them on the corner.

 

So how was she supposed to know the other ones were the wrong size?  The plastic boxes they come in are sealed closed!  Yes, dear.  The clear plastic boxes which you tip over so you can see the fitting through the transparent bottom.

 

Never send women to buy hardware.  It doesn’t work.

More roadkill on the information superhighway

A bunch of PCs here got a drop of Office 2007 last night.  This has been scheduled at least 6 months in advance and all users notified - twice yesterday alone.
 
There's been a socialisation and testing process going on all this time to ensure compatibility with other applications.  Every business unit was asked to nominate their application list, they were all tested in a lab, and there's a list of known issues and workarounds.  In short, it's been a fairly well managed process.
 
So I've been sitting here for the last hour and a half listening to some boofhead from Sentinar freak out over the phone to IT because one of their primary applications has died horribly during the upgrade.  All life on earth will apparently cease if this is not fixed in the next 5 minutes.  Good luck with that.  They haven't listed it as a system they use, it hasn't been tested, and its apparently incompatible, so there's no way back short of nuke-from-orbit.
 
If the whining wasn't so annoying it would be fairly good entertainment, but at the moment I am contemplating killing a few organic processes.
 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

OK, so there's a bit of a theme.









Coolest excuse for missing jury duty EVER

Man gets out of jury duty for being close friends in high school with Jeffrey Dahmer
 
AN Ohio man was excused from jury service after mentioning he was a childhood friend of cannibalistic serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.
John Backderf was among prospective jurors being screened last week by a judge in Cleveland.
 
When asked if he'd known anyone convicted of a crime, Mr Backderf responded: "I had a close friend in high school who killed 17 people."
 
The Plain Dealer reports today the answer caused the judge to freeze and lawyers to drop their pens. Mr Backderf explained he knew Dahmer, who was raised in northeast Ohio.
 
Mr Backderf is a graphic novelist about to publish My Friend Dahmer. He was dismissed from the jury list.
 
Dahmer confessed to killing and dismembering men and boys in Milwaukee. An inmate killed him in a Wisconsin prison in 1994.
 
 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

New TV

My archery club owner got a new TV delivered this afternoon.

This seemed to be an appropriate sort of response?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

New Iron Maiden track, Satellite 15

Anyone listened to the new Iron Maiden album?  The title track, Satellite 15 - The Final Frontier has one of the coolest video clips I have seen for a long time.  Clicky button below for download, 79MB.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ethnics

I was just reading this article (thanks Fark) when it occurred to me that the formation of the new NBN company would be an ideal opportunity *not* to actually have the whole place full of people with names like Parveen, Manishkumar and (I kid you not) Dikshit.  It would be nice to be able to communicate with people clearly without the joint sounding like a downtown Mumbai market.

And what are the chances of this?  If this is any indication of the way the demographic of the "western" world is going, bugger all I'm sad to say.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New bow ordered

Hoyt Contender 2010, fusion red finish, the XT3000 long limbs and the medium Cam 1/2+ system.

Can't wait to get my hands on this baby and get back to a longer target bow.

Monday, October 25, 2010

So I got a new credit card

… and I need to “activate” it.

Call number and get the usual IVR. Please input the 16-digit card number. Right, done. Now input DOB. Done. Now enter the credit limit on the account. *frantic dive for filing cabinet* Right, done.

Transferring you to our card activation facility...

Please input the 16-digit card number. WTF, didn't I already do this? Now input DOB. Grr, done. Here's a 16 digit receipt number.

Transferring you to our *secure* card activation facility... !?!?!?

Please input the 16-digit card number.


Now input DOB.  *plotting perfect murders at this stage*

Now input the 16 digit receipt number from earlier.

Congratulations, would you like to change the PIN on your card?  Hmm, probably not a bad idea, as I only use the thing for Harvey Norman interest free, precisely zero idea what the actual PIN is.

Transferring you to our PIN change facility...

Please input the 16-digit card number...

Total time for call: 5mins 47 secs.  Total keystrokes, not including dialling: 116.  To ACTIVATE A FUCKING REPLACEMENT CREDIT CARD.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Oh WONDERFUL

My number one problem child has trashed a PC *again* for about the fifth time since May.  Description sounds like a dose of Antivirus2008 to me - AV shut down, all external access proxied, fake security warnings everywhere.
 
I think there's going to have to be 3-4 days idiot tax applied this time.  The easy availability of free tech support seems to be leading to a lower carefactor than I would like.
 

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Redneck weddings - epilogue

Well the wedding was interesting if nothing else.

The bridegroom got a little annoyed with his brother (a groom) a couple of nights before and smashed him over the head with a brick, resulting in a 6cm scalp laceration and a hasty replacement of groomsman.

It was also reported the groom had at one stage on the day before called the bride a skank and locked her out in the resort hallway naked.  This is, fortunately, anecdotal evidence only.

The do itself just about got rained out because the moronic function coordination the resort had was running half an hour late on the day, had she had her shit together it would have fitted in nicely between cloudbursts.  You've never seen six bridesmaids, six groomsmen, a bride, a groom, a mini-bridesmaid, two flower girls and a ring boy mount a set of golf carts so fast.  The look on the face of the photographer was about as black as the culprit thunderhead, she had about $40k of DSLR kit out in it.

But the absolute crowning acheivement of the function was one of the grooms (long term root of one of the bridesmaids) having a tiff with her at the reception, deciding to drive back to Townsville at about 10pm while pissed, stealing her brand new SS Commodore and pranging it somewhere down the road.  He did the Harold Holt before the wallopers turned up as he would have turned the crystals black, but has absolutely no idea where the crashed car is - only that it's "about $50 by cab" from the resort.  He's now (probably quite sensibly) done a runner and can't be located, leaving the increasingly incandescant bridesmaid down a vehicle, with no idea where it is other than apparently being colocated with 2 large palm trees, and probably in a ditch.  She's supposed to be back at work in Townsville on Monday morning.  Cops have still not noticed an unconventionally parked Commodore anywhere.

Definitely brightened the whole week up.  :)

Boarding in Sydney, planeload of septics. Yay.





Wednesday, September 29, 2010

So here am I in sunny Cairns

Ah, Cairns.  Armpit of North Queensland, City Of A Thousand Fucking Roundabouts.

Internet slower than a National Party MP's thought processes, on a POS old P4 that takes 10 seconds to launch Firefox, and all at $7 an hour kiosk rates.

When I get home I'm buying a secondhand Vodafone or Virgin USB modem I can feed with a prepaid card, this is craptastic at best.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The fundamental difference between men and women

When blokes get ready to go out, they find their keys, wallet and phone. They put these items in their pockets and go. This process takes about 20 seconds.

Women change their blouse, brush their hair, gather their handbag, a coat in case it's cold, another pair of shoes (because it's completely impossible to just wear the ones you'll need at the end of the journey), a water bottle and tissues. They cart this lot out to the car in at least two trips, and then insist on going back and letting one of the cats in because it might be cold. This process takes about half an hour.

I've also found that if you anticipate this lead time and don't bother to make a a move until at least 20 minutes after pre-launch preparation has commenced, women get really pissed off if you're not ready when they are "because they started first". This is, in my opinion, something to be borne and/or preferably ignored if possible.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Things I won't do.

I'm a pretty tolerant sort of person, but fuck this.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

New PB

Loving this new bow, it fits me so much better than the old one.

It's somewhat unforgiving to shoot in that poor shoots are *really* poor shots, but if I'm concentrating on my form, DAMN.

Shot a new PB this afternoon of 348/360 at 30m, up from previous of 339.  Backed that up afterwards with a 345, too.

Here is a typical group, that's an A4 target.  Random holes around the paper are not mine, this one was slightly pre-loved from a kid's fun day.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Drinks anyone?

Had an interesting dinner at the RSL in Dandenong last night, mandatory attendance at some distant family member's 50th.

I suspect the bloke on the bar felt he wasn't being monitored too closely for spirits usage, as at one stage the ladies were doing Blue Lagoon cocktails.

Take a nice cocktail glass:


Free-pour it about 2/3rds full of vodka.  Then top up to within about 1cm of the top with blue curacao.  Hit that with about a 1/2 second shot of lemonade off the gun then run a shot of raspberry syrup into it.  Hmm.

Subtracting maybe 50cc for ice, this means a 390ml glass realistically has about 300ml of booze in it, or 10 nips of spirits.  The ladies thought these were GREAT.

Calley then decided she'd rather go back to her standard JD&coke as the Blue Lagoons, while nice, were a wee bit strong.  She also likes these in a tall glass to dilute the Jack Daniels a bit.  One minor problem...



This bloke's idea of a tall JD&coke was a highball with 50% JD, 50% coke.  There was a wee bit of spluttering there for a bit, and I forbade her to help blow out the candles on the cake on OH&S grounds.

Calley had a bit of a sleep in this morning.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dude's got issues.

Although I think he's a freaking psycho, I'm going to give this dude some credit for simply finding dashboard space to mount this much crap.  Let alone the cable management required.





Went for a little drive this afternoon....

Actually quite pleased with myself, I've managed to beat the TomTom's route by 10 minutes with a few "modifications".


So why subject myself to this?  This is why...




Damn this thing is nice.  Half the weight of the old rig, rock solid wall, rated for 340fps - really spits them out.  Got it with aftermarket custom strings and carbon fibre sideplate grips, and the shop owner was nice enough to let me take a few sets of draw length modules with me to try.  Beats buying them for $70 a pair just to experiment.

Shot feel is VERY unlike the old bow, this is a parallel-limb rig so on the sot the limbs move outwards opposing each other - the result is next to no movement of the bow at all.

The only downside is that I won't get to shoot it until Saturday now.  :(

Irony

Stuck in a traffic jam due to roadworks with "Speed" playing....



Tuesday, August 10, 2010

*deep breath* OK, take 2.

OK, the previous bow stab setup was best described as a miserable failure, to put it politely.

It looked cool but was impossible to shoot; the balance was waaaay forward, and the left short rod fouled my bow arm constantly. After a bit of a sulk I managed to cobble together a working semblance of a rig with spares, but have been waiting for proper parts to come in.

Enter the Doinker AVBR module.


Ideally I would have had one of the single sided versions, but these are currently unobtainium, and it was pointed out that (a) I can unbolt one end to serve the same porpoise, (b) the double sided mount is much stronger, and (c) they'd do it for the same price.  SOLD.

After MUCH dicking about I have arrived at the following left-side-only rig:


The rod balances the weight of the sight, which means I have been able to remove the 100gm keel weight I had on before, making the whole rig lighter.  The AVBM allows me to sweep the rod both down and back for balance and keel, I may end up swivelling it out a bit for balance once I get it on the range.

Just some random photos











Sunday, August 8, 2010

#&^#&^ typical.

First run out with new ACG carbons.

They're very accurate.

They're very, very accurate.

Frack.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Now that was some COOL driving

When coming home from work, I have discovered it's possible to take the two turns in this pic flat at 60km/h - although to be honest there's not what you'd call a lot of road left.


The line looks kind of like this, but rounded out a bit right to the gutters and centreline.



What I've also discovered is that when it's raining and greasy, the second turn - which is slightly off camber and undulating - doesn't offer quite the lateral grip I'd like, leading to a somewhat modified line as such:


Now, if you add some cardigan in a Camry as represented by the blue line below, you can see the situation gets a wee bit fraught.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

How not to do it

I'm thinking of getting a new Carter Evolution+ release aid.  These are a pull-through back tension style release, where you hook to the string, close your thumb on a safety, and draw to your anchor.  Only THEN do you let off the safety and let the release "rest" on the internal magnets, then you draw through it to fire.

Here's what happens if you don't hold the safety closed.

Friday, July 30, 2010

North Korean web design

here's the website of the People's Democratic Republic (snort) of North Korea.

astute readers might like to view the HTML of the page.

make sure to scroll down.

apparently Strongbad is writing their code?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Archery bits

My new Easton X10 side rods arrived from the USA today, they are horribly difficult to get.  To my displeasure I have had to abandon the nice carbon fibre Soma v-bar I had, as it's only a 40° forward sweep which is a pain to shoot around, there's just not enough arm room.  I have therefore scrounged a nice Soma alloy bar.

(All photos are clickable for more biggerer).




Sexeh, eh?  My one remaining gripe is I'd still like the bars to sweep forward a little more, particularly the left one; this will allow some left weight bias to offset the scope without having to add dead weight, plus give a little more arm room.  I've got one of these on order, they're an Easton adjustable-everything v-bar and fiddler's delight.  $85 in Australia (I though Ned Kelly was dead), $45 shipped from the USA - go figure.



I have also fitted my new Beiter scope I have been hanging out for.  It's a 29mm black bodied unit, I really wanted the opaque body to increase the contrast of the dot.  I also got the centre-drilled lens and dot kit, there's a little set of various sized pins that can be pressed through the lens depending on what suits best.




The red ring around the outside is a little optional centring widget that snaps onto the rim of the scope body to give it both some thickness and colour highlight.

Now I just have to finish fletching my ACGs and I can go play out to 90 metres....