Sunday, August 31, 2008

Struggling with SharePoint?

If you've just spent two weeks trying to get a list of items to appear in SharePoint, you might like to check out this manual which has just been uploaded, for a system which offered its users, back in the day, a similar level of productivity that SharePoint does now.

Electronic Numerical Integrator And Calculator (ENIAC) Manual - June, 1946

Miliband Talks Tough on Russia

As much as you may feel US cabinet members are not up to the job, they are like international brain surgeons compared to their opposite numbers in the UK.

Consider the British Foreign Secretary, Harry Potter lookalike David Miliband (above). British cabinet ministers are chosen on their ability to essentially be PR reps for their respective Civil Service departments. The British establishment does not like it if they have the capacity for independent thought or action. The ability to read press releases convincingly is the only attribute needed for the job. It's also helpful, but not essential, if they can walk and talk at the same time.

So recently Miliband's officials had the chief wizard talking tough to Russia

Here is Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and some of his officials considering their response

Methinks somebody in the British Foreign Office is having a laugh, no?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

"Sucked Inside Out"

Sounds great, huh?!

Well, not if you're talking about the new Large Hadron Collider in CERN, Geneva

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Woman packing for a vacation


- 15lbs of cosmetics
- 20 pairs shoes
- 30lbs chocolates, toys as presents
- Home brain surgery kit ("what if somebody on the plane has an aneurysm?")


- Underwear
- Passports
- Camera
- Itinerary

Monday, August 25, 2008

News from the world's IT Hub

"Now we've found out about the rats, there'll be no more plague in our lifetime!"
"Yes, that's right. A rat a day, keeps the doctor away!"

"So, what's on the menu?"
"Rat Au Vin"
"Well it's a rat... that's been..."
"... run over by a van. I see."

India's poor urged to eat rats

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunday Fun - "Rubbery Heights"

For my American readers raised on SNL, this is an excerpt from a British comedy sketch show of the 1980s which featured something called humor


Friday, August 22, 2008

It Came From Hollywood

One of the best Science-Fiction movies of all time is The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951). It stars British thesp Michael Rennie as an alien who comes to warn the human race that if it extends its violence into space, the Earth will be "reduced to a burned out cinder". He does this in a brilliant speech at the end of the film. Rennie was one of those actors who could read from a restaurant menu and make it sound like Shakespeare. Don't take my word for it, see for yourselves:

Despite being 57 years old, this film holds up very well today.

So the inevitable has happened.

Yes Hollywood are doing a remake. And who have they chosen for the Michael Rennie role?

None other than surfer dude Keanu Reeves.

I can just imagine him mumbling his way through that speech now. "So like, you've all got to give up your warlike ways, dudes.... yeaaahhh.. like, ok... awesome! yeah!"

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Truth almost as strange as fiction

Fresh from the revelations in The Onion last week, it now turns out that Obama's brother is in fact a Kenyan streetfighter.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

America: Land of the Great T-Shirt

If guns kill people then...
Pencils mis-spell words
Cars make people drive drunk
Spoons made Rosie O'Donnell Fat

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sunday Fun

Just this last week as well as poor old Bernard Mac, we also lost the soul giant Isaac Hayes. He's the one who gave the world the Theme from Shaft

It just boggles comprehension that such a brilliant theme could emerge from the human mind.

So raise a glass to a unique showman and musician.... turn your speakers up to 11, sit back, relax, and let those guitars wash over you.... I give you... Mr Isaac HAYES...!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That MC does look awfully like Jesse Jackson Jr, doesn't he?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Saturday Fun

In the whole canon of recent films, shot entirely in the dark, with their pounding rock soundtracks, high kicking females, and nonsensical scripts, you'd be hard pressed to find thirty seconds as enjoyable as this, from Dirty Harry (1971)

To see how far movies, and movie stars, have become debased and commoditized, just try to imagine this scene with Brad Pitt as Dirty Harry and Tom Cruise as The Mayor. Yeah, right. Those pretty-boy thespian midgets couldn't hope to fill the shoes of giants like Clint Eastwood and the late John Vernon. Stick to filling the pages of People magazine and supporting crackpot religions eh fellas?

Outside a major confrontation with a foreign power, the only situation I can conceive where the use of nuclear weapons would be fully justified, would be in the event that Hollywood threatens a remake of Dirty Harry.

While enjoying that clip, I realized that I am older now than Clint Eastwood was then. How depressing.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sunday Fun

One of my few guilty pleasures is watching videos of high-speed police pursuits. This is an area where the British police have something of an edge. British police drivers are trained to a very high standard, which they need to be, given the narrow width of the roads and the generally much higher speeds over there.

In this clip, the boys in blue are after a drunk driver. (Remember people drive on the left over there) They reach speeds of 85 MPH on residential streets in the pouring rain. My favorite part of this has to be where the cop passes a guy turning right, at over sixty. How he gets through that gap beats me.

Check it out - but don't try this at home!

Geek Footnote: The cops are driving a Honda Accord VTEC.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Saturday Comic

A bit of a Chinese theme now that the Olympics have started and everybody's feeling warm and cuddly.... here we salute the brave boys in the Chinese security forces

(With acknowledgments to WC Fields)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Worst software of all time

I just had to dive back into Crystal Reports after a ten year absence as part of a major system rollout where we came up short a few reports.

It was a case of "we kept your room just as you left it"

I could see virtually no difference between the CR in VS 2005 and CR 6 which was what I last used.

Software productivity has improved by orders of magnitude over the past 10 years. With C# I now spend time building functionality which 10 years ago I would have spent in C++ tracking memory leaks and converting between the seven different types of string! Yet CR remains in the dark ages. Working with it is like going back to a pre-Google era.

How can a product be this old and you still can't reliably copy and paste more than one element? How can there be no 'align' and 'make same size' feature? How can you have to type in coordinates and sizes manually to make things line up? I remember 10 years ago how CR would crash whenever you attempted to do virtually anything. They seem to have fixed all these bugs, but that has left no time to add any new functionality, or even make the existing functionality work decently.

They have added the facility to read a .NET DataSet as opposed to forcing you to access stored procs and tables directly. Great. But it turns out this is unreliable.

The whole thing is an archaic, bodged up creaky mess. The dialogs are confused, confusing and badly thought out. You can't nest a subreport in a subreport for God's sake!

CR might be free with VS 2005 but it's not worth it. It is a massive time-sink, like SharePoint.

Somebody please do the decent thing and take this piece of pimply shit out and blow what passes for its brains all over the sidewalk.

Great moneymaking idea from Blago

It had to happen. Blagojevich, or should I call him "Public Official A" has cottoned on to the huge amount of cash he could "earn" by putting speed cameras on interstates.

At least unlike in the UK he is open about the fact it's all about making money, but his lie is it's to fund combatting crime in Chicago. Of course the money will just go on hiring more flunkies and cronies to bloat the public payroll here in Illinois.

Blagojevich, who has not been charged with any crime, insists that only the most egregious speeders will be caught - over 80 or 85. I'm willing to bet that after a year or so, that would come down to 55. Why not? It's like having a money tap. The number goes down and the cash flow goes up.

Almost without exception, politicians are truly the most disgusting breed of human.

Hate insurance companies? Want government to run healthcare?

Expect the government to take a big interest in your health. For starters, if your couch-potato kids are starting to resemble the couch, expect a letter from the school warning you of that fact. Because the government is so politically correct, of course words like "fat" or "obese" will not be used. Neither will "lardy", "gut-bucket", or "wobble-bottom".

Also, expect civil servants to decide who gets what life-saving drugs, based on how much they cost, and where you live (the Scots get drugs the English do not, because the power base of the ruling Labour party is in Scotland).

I loathe insurance companies, but given that government workers fall into two camps - morons and crooks - and are unresponsive to public pressure (unlike private insurance companies) - I think I'll be sticking with them.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Good riddance

An illegal immigrant gang-banger rapist murderer just got his comeuppance

Generally I don't agree with the death penalty. I don't think governments should have the right to kill their own citizens. Death Row contains a lot of people whose only crime was being poor and unable to afford a decent lawyer.

However, people like this guy richly deserve it. If nothing else, the execution was a finger in the eye of the International Court of "Justice". Who the hell gave them the right to order the US to do anything? Certainly not the American people.

The only change I would make to the death penalty, would be to mandate that sentence be carried out by firing squad within 30 days. That would have several beneficial effects.

- You would get far fewer wrongful guilty verdicts because the prospect of a swift execution would concentrate the jury's mind wonderfully. They would not be able to think, "well, he might not be guilty, but I really want to get home, and he's not really ever going to be executed, after all". Either they find him innocent or guilty. If guilty, they know he's in the ground within 30 days.

- No time wasted in court proceedings where inmates complain they are Too fat to execute. What shooter, after all, would want a smaller target?

- No money wasted warehousing people on death row

- No photo opportunities for grandstanding anti death row campaigners

- Rapid satisfaction for relatives of the victim who can then move on with their lives

Rare instance of common sense from the security/industrial complex

Lots of people are making big money out of the security industry from raising peoples' fears about "terrorists". Parents, governments and religious groups use all use fear to control their children, subjects and followers (bogeyman, terrorists, the devil respectively), as it has historically proven to be a very effective tool.

One person who didn't go along with this stupid nonsense is the pilot of this plane who ignored a written "bomb threat" and continued to his destination.

Well done sir!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Interesting mitigation

So you've come over the UK and taken full advantage of their dunderheaded social engineering programmes to claim about 925,000 GBP (nearly 2 million dollars) in fraudulent tax credits.

Finally the authorities catch up with you and you're facing a severe prison sentence - possibly as much as 2 whole months in the slammer.

What do you do. What do you do?