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BT To Buy UK 4G Leader EE For £12.5 Billion

MadKeithV Re:That's a lot of acronyms, isn't it? (39 comments)

As a BT Customer, I can assure you that it stands for "Bloody Terrible", and the buyout is only feasible because the telecomms regulator is as toothless as a wet cabbage.

My friends who use it, assure me that EE stands for "Extremely Expensive".

As an EE user I have to disagree. It actually stands for "Eencredibly Eencompetent."
As I discovered when they contacted me to suggest I go from Pay-As-You-Go to Pay-Monthly, on a plan that was actually financially advantageous. Only to find out the next time I was abroad, a week later, that there was no roaming activated on Pay-Monthly. I spent a week attempting to get through to customer service with no success ("We estimate we'll be with you in 1m", for an hour and a half). When I finally managed to get through to them back in the UK, they gleefully told me that roaming could only be activated on pay-monthly if you'd been with them for over a year (W... T.... F.....).
I calmly explained that it was *them* that had contacted me to switch plans, when I'd been using the roaming facility on my PAYG for a week out of every month in the past year, so could they kindly get their thumbs out of their arses and fix it or cancel my plan entirely. And suddenly it wasn't so much of a problem to instantly activate my roaming.
Why am I still with them? Best coverage in the UK and abroad, and best prices for my (very non-average, admittedly) usage pattern. But holy shit, are they ever incompetent.

4 days ago

Ken Ham's Ark Torpedoed With Charges of Religious Discrimination

MadKeithV Re:Don't get mad, get even (451 comments)

Don't worry, they'll get better eventually

Just hope you won't be there during one of the Mass Extinction Events.

about 2 months ago

Ken Ham's Ark Torpedoed With Charges of Religious Discrimination

MadKeithV Re:Saw the debate (451 comments)

That's how you argue with a crazy person - with more crazy. He, and his followers, don't give a single fuck about the truth. So take them down within their own framework, not from your own.

No, no no. Never argue with an idiot. First they drag you down to their level and then they beat you with experience.

about 2 months ago

Car Thieves and Insurers Vote On Keyless Car Security

MadKeithV Re:This most important thing in the article (221 comments)

Don't leave your keys in the obvious places, including the spare keys.

I'm really good at this! Most of the time even *I* can't find my keys.

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Finding a Job After Completing Computer Science Ph.D?

MadKeithV Re:Don't put PhD in the resume (479 comments)

Warning: the following reply may be somewhat acerbic due to real-world experience on both ends of the interviewing table.

That's only because those who haven't been through a PhD program are ignorant as to the amount of intense work, self-motivation, and ingenuity a PhD requires.

As someone who's been through a PhD program and dropped out in disgust, and has subsequently interviewed quite a few PhDs for industry jobs: baloney, it's pretty much as the GP describes in a great number of places. It's a highly-politicised who-do-you-know academic circlejerk. And PhD work is usually nowhere near as "intense" as proper high-level real-world work anyway (something a lot of them learn to their detriment in the first few months on the job).

Many PhDs have already worked extensively in industry.

Whoa, hold on there, now we're not just talking about PhDs, we're talking about PhDs with actual real world experience. That's a much smaller subset than you imply, and quite a few of that subset had *failed* real world experience that made them go back to PhDs. Someone with a PhD who's made it work in the real world is extremely valuable, because at that point you actually have evidence that you really have found that smart, motivated, ingenuous person with serious specialization who can be forgiven for naively believing the academic fairy-story that a PhD would actually be valuable outside of the world of academia.

The less you know, the less you realize how much you don't know.


about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Have You Experienced Fear Driven Development?

MadKeithV Re:Fear of changing code.... (232 comments)

I have also seen/heard of circumstances where "doing the minimum to keep the thing working" is allowed but actually improving the code is not because improving the code counts as "new work" and comes from a different budget than maintenance. Seems stupid but that's how some shops operate.

"The minimum to keep the thing working" nearly always implies improving the code. All developers need to realize this and stop this silly false dichotomy between "maintenance" and "refactoring".

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Have You Experienced Fear Driven Development?

MadKeithV Re:Wow... (232 comments)

A small number of dysfunctional shops like that has virtually always existed.

90% is a small number, right?

I'm joking, I've never had to work in a truly dysfunctional shop, and yet "fear-driven development" tends to make an appearance whenever stress levels get higher. Pressure makes people take funny decisions that they think are "safe", such as not touching a legacy code base for another 5 years because "it works and we don't want to break it", until it finally collapses under its own weight and technological advancement (in the case I'm thinking of it was the lack of multithreading and 64bit support).

Often its the fear of other people's reactions if you stick your neck out and get it wrong that will doom you to inaction. It helps to remind yourself and others constantly that you cannot have improvement without change, and the only way to do nothing wrong is to do nothing. Build up trust at detecting and *recovering* from mistakes is at least as important as having a process that avoids mistakes. Mistakes happen. Learn to deal with them instead of expending inordinate amounts of time trying to avoid them.

about 3 months ago

HP Recalls 6 Million Power Cables Over Fire Hazard

MadKeithV Re:Same folks who made my LED flashlight? (137 comments)

9. flickering again. this time it is my campfire. A rhinoceros appears and stamps the fire out.

10. It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

about 4 months ago

DEA Paid Amtrak Employee To Pilfer Passenger Lists

MadKeithV Perfectly normal business (127 comments)

Sounds like perfectly normal business to me. Getting paid $900.000 to tell you something you already know? That's called Consulting.

about 4 months ago

CDC Closes Anthrax, Flu Labs After Potentially Deadly Mix-Ups Come to Light

MadKeithV Re:Killing the employees seems a bit harsh (89 comments)

I've often wished that writers of the English language were required to use parenthesis to help with parsing.

In fact, that is the purpose of the comma, which is often incorrectly replaced with parentheses.

The comma operator could be overloaded, the parentheses operator can't be.

about 5 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Correlation Between Text Editor and Programming Language?

MadKeithV Re:Uh, sure.. (359 comments)

Intelisense: There was a trick, you make the intelisense files not writable and then it won't update anymore. Then you use Visual Assist and you're golden :)

You could also rename the intellisense DLL which solved the problem globally. That everyone at my company did this was a testament to how bad a pile of shit Intellisense for C++ was in VS2005 and VS2010. It's a hell of a lot better in 2012 - haven't used 2013 yet.

about 6 months ago

How Apple Can Take Its Headphones To the Next Level

MadKeithV Re:Step 1 (196 comments)

I also agree that audiophiles can be properly full of BS. A good way to get a laugh is to go to amazon.com, look up a popular set of cheap ass headphones and read some of the lengthy comments written by the audiophile crowd. You'll be tempted to think that they expected live concert quality sound from the thing.

You want a proper laugh? Look at these power cables. There are no words.

about 6 months ago

How Apple Can Take Its Headphones To the Next Level

MadKeithV Re:Step 1 (196 comments)

In my spare time, I've been an audio technician for the past 5 years. Before that, I was a DJ as a hobby, and I've been on stage crew occasionally for the last decade...

In other words, you really have fucked up your ears.

No wonder $15 earbuds sound good to you.

No, he's right. In 90% of the situations that you'd use headphones you wouldn't get much mileage out of anything above decent $15-$30 earbuds. Don't get me wrong, I've got my expensive monitoring headphones for tracking, and I have a set of studio monitor speakers for my home recording setup, but I equally enjoy m $30 Pioneer phone buds and Creative desktop audio set for the kitchen. To a point the grandparent and I have it slightly easier than the people who absolutely want to have earthquake bass. You don't get earthquake bass with any kind of fidelity out of small drivers. It's just not physically possible. All these "bass enhanced!" tiny headphones and in-ears just have a resonant spike somewhere in the lows. Better lows? Bigger drivers. That means over-ears. And then they are either open and comfortable for large periods of time, but leaky as all hell meaning you either suffer from sound degradation from sound leaking in from outside so forget "fidelity", or you're annoying the crap out of everyone around you by the loud noise leaking away from you. Or you get closed over-ears. And sweat your ears off after anything longer than 20-30 minutes. And then you realize that if you add it all up, you can get an awful lot of enjoyment out of a good cheap pair of phones, and save your money to get a good amp and speakers with good drivers and crossovers for the spaces where you can listen to music on your own terms, in actual high fidelity.

about 6 months ago

Workaholism In America Is Hurting the Economy

MadKeithV Re:What choice do we have? (710 comments)

You're given X amount of work to do and Y amount of time and if you don't do X you're fired, so you put in extra hours. Again and again and again.

Except that the studies show that when Y goes over 40 hours a week, the total amount of work you actually get done goes down. Not the average, not the work per hour, you get less work done in total than you did at 40 hours a week. So it is actually very much an "ism" - people repeating the same completely counterproductive action over and over in the hope that somehow they'll be more productive when they won't be.

Just be "that guy" at work that packs up and leaves at 8 hours that day. You'll get more done. Whenever you get flak, point back to these studies, and hammer home over and over again that you are getting the work done. In time the company culture will adjust and everyone there will be happier, including the bosses because more is being done with happier workers. Or you discover that you're working for a pathological employer who doesn't care about actual results but about appearances, but then you should leave anyway before you kill yourself working.

about 6 months ago

Geothermal Heat Contributing To West Antarctic Ice Sheet Melting

MadKeithV Re:Queue the deniers (387 comments)

I have to respond to this, because it's clearly an attempt at a "balanced" view but missing some very important key points that distort your opinion.

First of all reducing the AGW debate to "both sides" with a neutral "middle ground" is disingenuous - in the count of number of people the balance is very strongly in favor of accepting AGW to degrees ( e.g. this recent set of studies arriving at between 91-97% consensus ). The denialists get disproportionate attention, which is actually a known type of political manipulation (e.g. argument to moderation) and this type of attention has been shown to disproportionately affect people who aren't specialized in the subject matter to moderate their position when no such moderation is required (more on this subject, though I can't find the scientific paper about it right now.

Second, appeal to "scientific purity" is overshooting. Science is constantly advancing, improving models, replacing wrong assumptions with less wrong assumptions. There is nothing "pure" about it, and in no way does it need to be to advance the cause and be useful to our lives. Words such as "purity" are much too loaded to be used, exactly because of the scientific approach. There's no need to deny - the scientific world does not have all the T's crossed and the I's dotted on AGW, just as it doesn't on gravity, physics and quantum theory, but we still happily cross bridges every day. The degree of certainty has long reached sufficient levels to warrant seriously looking at how to realistically (not politically, stupid carbon credits) mitigate instead of discussing a black and white position on AGW's existence.

And thirdly the AGW debate is much bigger than the USA. I understand that you have bipartisan issues across the board (not just AGW, and to be clear: I think both parties are in the wrong) but that doesn't extend to the rest of the world and this is a global issue.

So I think that while I don't entirely agree with your argumentation, I agree with your position. AGW is a science thing - and science has agreed that it exists though not to which degree. The challenge is to find solutions, and that's also with science.

Finally, I find the actual article very intriguing and somewhat challenging to my own views on AGW, as evidenced by my first thoughts on this: could it be that the geology of the antarctic is becoming destabilized because of the lessening of the weight of the ice sheet, in turn causing more geological activity? But that's a conjecture from an explanation that wouldn't challenge AGW, and real science must of course also look for other hypotheses.

about 6 months ago

Study: Rats Regret Making the Wrong Decision

MadKeithV Re:Well, better than all the women I know (94 comments)

None of them are able to express regret at a bad decision ;-)

Fool. Women don't make bad decisions - it's just that reality reacts badly.

about 6 months ago

Official MPG Figures Unrealistic, Says UK Auto Magazine

MadKeithV Re:No fuel economy figures are going be right (238 comments)

An inaccurate but precise measure is great if it's consistently inaccurate. But if it's consistently inaccurate, why not just measure the inaccuracy and correct all the values?

Because inaccurate measurements are rarely consistently so.

The test isn't claimed to be inaccurate, it's claimed to be non-representative of real-world usage.

about 7 months ago

The 69 Words GM Employees Can Never Say

MadKeithV Re:words (373 comments)

I like how the article explains to us the meaning behind the words Hindenburg and Titanic.

I wouldn't be surprised if some folks don't know the story behind these words. I mean some folks don't know the difference between "your" and "you're".

On the plus side you could use the result to cook you're toast at the end of it all.

If you're inside the car then you ARE toast at the end of it all.

about 7 months ago

Programmers: It's OK To Grow Up

MadKeithV Re:most young developers are at least as bad (232 comments)

Then it was XML. Everything had to be XML because XML would automagically make everything merge together and work in harmony.....or not.

I remember that one vividly. It's when the following phrase was coined "XML is like violence. If it's not working, you're not using enough of it yet.".

about 7 months ago


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