Apparently, perl is rubbish because <whine>the tools aren't friendly</whine>.
Well, if that's the case, then python is too:
$ git clone git://github.com/rg3/youtube-dl.git Cloning into youtube-dl... ... $ cd youtube-dl/ $ make Could not find platform independent libraries <prefix> Could not find platform dependent libraries <exec_prefix> Consider setting $PYTHONHOME to <prefix>[:<exec_prefix>] 'import site' failed; use -v for traceback Could not import runpy module pandoc -s -w man README.md -o youtube-dl.1 make: pandoc: Command not found make: *** [youtube-dl.1] Error 127 $ dpkg -l|grep python ii python 2.6.6-3+squeeze7 interactive high-level object-oriented language (default version) ...
Posted at 13:30
by David Cantrell keywords: geeky | rant
Apparently some classes of creditor are treated differently from others when a football club goes bust, in unique and special footbally ways, and HMRC don't like that. They argued before a judge that "the most fundamental principle of insolvency law is that creditors share equally in a loss". That's odd, because 11 years ago this month when my employer went bust, HMRC were the first creditor to get paid, followed by (if anything was left) other businesses, with employees last. Naturally, I didn't get a penny of the £5000 that I'm owed - that's the month's salary in lieu of notice of the end of my employment, as laid out in my contract, plus two weeks salary not paid for time that I worked, plus a week's paid holiday I was entitled to. It seems that HMRC now think that's terribly unfair. I guess I need to send them an invoice. There were about 20 employees, plus maybe 10 corporate creditors, plus HMRC, so I estimate that I'm entitled to one part in thirty one of the company's assets, up to a maximum of £5000. Of course, HMRC have had my share of that for 11 years, so I need to also charge them interest.
Gotta love the Olympics. Not only is it costing many times more than was originally budgetted, not only are the organisers quite open about taking bribes, not only are they going to screw up public transport with their Zil lanes, and they're happy to close down small businesses and put loads of poor people out of work. They do, of course, bleat about how building the stadiums for their pointless events employs so many people, but it only employs them temporarily, whereas many of the businesses they closed down were well-established and could have been expected to provide employment for the long term.
But now we find out - and are shocked, of course, because we could never have predicted this - that landlords are evicting tenants from housing near games venues so that they can rent them out to rich visitors. The only thing that's surprising about this is that some landlords are doing it illegally at short notice, and that the press have only just noticed. I knew that it would start happening in about January, as tenants would need two or three months notice to quit and then landlords would need some time to spruce up the properties before the scum they'll be renting them to arrive.
Of course, after the Olympics have been and gone, rents will go back down, but not to current levels. Having had their refurbs paid for by Olympic vermin, landlords will be able to set their prices higher than they are now.
So we've known for for years that the Olympics would end up costing nearly four times the original budget, being £9.3 billion instead of the £2.4 billion we were originally told. Naturally, those extra seven billion will be taken from the pockets of tax-payers. Now the National Audit Office says that even that much higher figure might not be enough.
And now, for no apparent reason, the budget for the opening and closing ceremony has just been doubled. How it managed to cost £40 million in the first place is beyond me - all that's needed is:
a brief welcoming speech;
for the participants to take the "Olympic Oath" which they will then blatantly ignore;
a brief closing speech
and what on earth they'll find to spend £81 million on I have no idea.
Three and a bit years ago I wrote about how the Olympics security had increased in cost five-fold. I'm sure none of you are surprised that that was just the beginning. Since then it's gone up again. In fact the cost of "securing" the venues, training facilities, and the "Olympic village" has increased fifteen times. Naturally, this cost is going to be borne by the government and not by the liars who put together the original bid, all of whom are going to come out of the Olympics with several years of nice big salaries while the tax-payers foot the bill.
Other big sporting events, such as the Rugby World Cup, are privately funded, with the organising body both taking any profits but also bearing responsibility for any losses. In fact, it's because the 2011 world cup is expected to make a loss that the 2015 tournament will be in England, where it is expected to make a whacking great profit.
Why is the Olympic Games treated differently? Why does it automatically get subsidised by tax-payers?
Olympic ticketing fiasco shows the Olympics aren't wanted
The lottery by which Olympic tickets were allocated is universally known to have been a poorly-organised disaster. In particular, you should consider that money to pay for tickets was taken from peoples' credit cards as early as the 10th of May but it's only today that LOCOG could tell people what tickets they'd actually got. That's a bit odd, cos I would have thought that they'd have known that, and therefore been in a position to tell people, back on the 10th of May.
But there's something more interesting hidden in the numbers describing the ticketing fiasco. 700,000 applicants got tickets, and 1.2 million didn't. This means that less than 2 million people in the entire country wanted to go and see any of the events, and 58 million didn't. Just 1 in 30 people are interested. For those one in thirty, the government has bent over backwards, introducing oppressive laws restricting trade and free speech, fucking up public transport and, of course, pissing billions of pounds of Londoners' money up the wall. All of this, for something that just one in thirty people give a shit about. For god's sake, no-one tell the government how many people care about football!
I have had more awesomely bad customer service, and more pretty damned good service too. Again, the bad service was from Vodafone, and the good service from a company that I don't even pay.
As I mentioned in an earlier installment, I was unhappy with Vodafone and decided to fire them. I eventually went back to O2, because even though they weren't great (their data network is slooooow almost everywhere) they do at least offer service throughout London. And so I needed to get a PAC code from Vodafone so that I could port my number back to O2.
Both O2 and T-mobile were able to give me a PAC code immediately when I was bouncing around between telcos earlier. Vodafone at first appeared to be able to do that, with the nice gentleman in their call centre reading it out to me there and then. Unfortunately, after he'd told me "VCN50753" the call dropped just before he told me the last digit. (Hmm, the call dropped. Think that might be why I'm changing telcos?) I called back, only to be lied to and told that it was completely impossible for any of their staff to tell me a PAC code and that I would get it by SMS within four days. Naturally, I didn't. Over the next 11 days I called them four times, each time being given new excuses and being told it would take another two days - two "business days", of course, because apparently their computers get the weekend off work and don't generate codes then. Finally, a "manager" (yeah right, it was just some other call centre grunt) did it yet again, this time "following the correct procedures". Of course, the SMS I was promised never arrived and when I called them for the last time, someone just read the damned thing out to me over the phone. It was VCN507532. So, for thirteen days they had the code and just wouldn't give it to me.
Last time, I said that fixing the customer's problem isn't the most important thing in customer service, keeping the customer informed is. Well, if there's anything worse than bad communication it's wrong communication. I was lied to for two weeks. I don't particularly care that for those two weeks I had to have two phone contracts, but I care an awful lot about being lied to.
I was a Vodafone customer for a long time a few years ago, before my flirtations with T-mobile for a coupla years (because their data plans were a lot cheaper) and with O2 (because iPhones were originally tied to them), but the old Vodafone, four years and more ago, treated me well. On the rare occasions I had to talk to them they just got shit done and I didn't have to call them twice on the same subject. They had a damned good network too, with good coverage everywhere. I doubt I'll ever go back to Vodafone again. They've let their technology go to shit and what used to be a good voice network is now a piss-poor data network and a piss-poor voice network, with woeful coverage even in the centre of London. But continually lieing to their customer is the ultimate sin.
And the good service that I mentioned right at the beginning? Because of a stupid bug in the iPhone software - it doesn't come with a to-do list application - I use a third-party application called Toodledo. My list is also available to me on my desktop via their website. And I found a bug in the webby version. I reported it, and cynically expected to maybe get a terse acknowledgement a week or two later and then nothing more. What I got in reality was, at the very beginning of the next "business day", both an acknowledgement that yes, there was a bug, but also a brief but helpful note with a work-around. Again, good customer service, from a small company, who I'm not a paying customer of, simply comes down to quick, clear and true communication.
I have recently had both some spectacularly good customer service, and some really quite poor service. In a great example of "you get what you pay for", the bad service was from Vodafone, to whom I pay a chunk of money every month, and the good service was from Sourceforge, who I pay exactly nothing.
Since my mobile contract with O2 ran out just over a month ago, I've been trying to find a better provider. First, I tried T-mobile. They were cheap, and while their coverage was no better than O2's (and that's why I left O2 in the first place) I don't really mind when they charge only a third of the price. However, I couldn't stay with T-mobile, because of their appallingly bad software. Someone sent me an MMS, which T-mobile notified me of, inviting me to go to a webshite to look at the image. That webshite chastised me for not using IE6, a decade old web browser which only works on Windows. In particular, it doesn't work on mobile phones. You know, the platform T-mobile's customers use. In fact, that website didn't work with any of the four browsers I tried on three platforms, and the message was lost. So fuck T-mobile, with a pineaple. I lasted ten days with them before firing them for gross incompetence, and switched to Vodafone.
Unfortunately, Vodafone haven't exactly pleased me either. For some bizarre reason they saw fit to censor my web access from my phone, and to charge me for the privelege of turning the censor off. I grudgingly paid up (it was only a quid) only to receive a text message with words to the effect of "the censor has been turned on, your web access will now be filtered". One quick call to customer services and it was fixed, the phone-drone (who was actually quite helpful) telling me that this was a common problem, because the wording on their website was wrong. So, it's a known problem, but they can't be arsed to fix it. They also failed to notify me when someone left me a voicemail, so I picked up an important message several days late, and despite me specifically buying a tariff for iPhone users, visual voicemail doesn't work. When I emailed them to ask them to sort it out, I got what is obviously a canned answer to a vaguely related question, but not actually what I wanted. If they can't fix that tomorrow, I'm firing Vodafone too. Trouble is, I'm running out of alternatives. Any suggestions? Must have excellent 3G coverage in London, excellent voice coverage nationwide, and usable (if slow) data coverage in Ruralistan. Must support the iPhone's shiny features. Must not be T-mobile beause they're incompetent cunts.
As for Sourceforge, they recently had a bit of a problem with naughty people trying to break in to their systems. They proactively spotted the problem. They notified all their users. When I emailed them with a query I got a personal response within a couple of hours, pointing me at a couple of webpages which they were keeping updated with status reports. That's good customer service. Fixing the customer's problem isn't actually the most important bit of customer service (Sourceforge still haven't fixed everything a week later) - the most important bit of customer service is communication. Communicate quickly and clearly and customers will put up with an awful lot.
And also I should give Apple an honorary mention. I went into their shop yesterday (and damnit, it's a shop, not a store), and was served by a Sikh gentleman with a Magnificent Beard. Hurrah!
It is November. If you have your Christmas decorations up already - if you've even considered thinking about maybe putting them up - you are in a state of sin and are an Abomination in the Sight of the Lord, Cursèd for all time.
Christmas decorations are not permitted to be displayed in homes and offices until one week before Christmas day, and are not permitted to be displayed in shops until two weeks before Christmas day.
Durham Cathedral is (at least inside - the outside is grey and dreary like the rest of the north) a staggeringly beautiful building. And yet I hate it. I hate it because of the reasons it was built, what it has been used for, and how it is still being embellished.
The current building was started in 1093, replacing a previous building on roughly the same site. Most of the present structure either dates from that time or is at least built roughly to the 1093 design. The building was largely complete by 1135. The towers date from the 1200s, and since then various smaller changes have been made as well as substantial repairs, particularly in the 16th and 18th centuries.
In 1093, Durham was a tiny settlement. We don't know exactly how tiny, but the far more important city of London had only 15,000-ish inhabitants at the time, and the whole of northern England (including Durham) had only a few years before been subject to the Harrying of the North. This involved the utter destruction of many settlements, burning of granaries, stored food, and livestock, the salting of the land to prevent crops from growing for years, and the death of over 100,000 people. Some of the remaining population were reduced to cannibalism according to some chroniclers. All of that because a handful of lords rebelled - the vast majority of the peasant victims had done nothing wrong.
So the cathedral was built to be far bigger than was needed at the time - these days, when it is filled with chairs and there are fire regulations, it can comfortably seat 3000 - and is also far bigger than any reasonable contemporary projection of population growth would make necessary. Cathedrals and churches are, of course, utterly unproductive, being mere consumers of wealth produced by others. To build the cathedral was very expensive, and that money could only come from the local population, who paid taxes to the "prince bishops" and tithes to their parishes. That money was used partly to buy skilled labour which would have otherwise been used more productively rebuilding towns and villages and mills and other useful things. And it was partly used to buy gold and silver and all kinds of other useless things that don't exist in the north so "had to" be imported to embellish the cathedral.
The cathedral was a staggering waste of resources at the time. It was built to, according to its own website, "testify to the power of Norman overlords establishing their authority in the land they had conquered". Sure, it does have a religious function too, but that function could just as easily be carried out by a far smaller, more humble building. One rather like the one that was destroyed to make room for the current monstrosity. Remember, in the 11th and 12th centuries, England was just like the poorest most backward parts of the third world are today (only colder). And when the rulers of places like Liberia or the Congo build massive monuments to their own egos, funding them through extortion and corruption, we condemn them. For the same reasons, we must condemn the rulers who built Durham cathedral and condemn the cathedral as being a monument to man's greed, his lust for power, and to brutal dictatorship.
And that pious waste of resources continues to this day. The north is still a poor area, especially now that its heavy industries have collapsed. And yet, instead of using their money to do good, some of those northerners who are well off and christian prefer to spend it on decorating the cathedral. It contains statues of recent bishops, despite a certain book saying quite clearly "you shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth", made out of marble. It even has a brand new stained glass window "celebrating" all those industries that are dead and gone. Although, given the context of the rest of the building it seems to me that it could equally be mocking all those thrown out of work, or be a warning from those rich enough to afford such windows that if the remaining workers get uppity, this is what will happen to them.
This article by the Roman archbishop of New York makes one thing very clear:
You're familiar with the crescendo of recent stories on the sad and disturbing case of a German priest accused in 1979 of the vicious crime and sin of sexually abusing minor boys. When these hideous allegations came to the attention of this priest's archbishop, a man by the name of Joseph Ratzinger - who now happens to be the bishop of Rome, Pope Benedict XVI - he rightly removed the priest and ordered him to report for residential assessment and therapy.
Mr. Ratzinger knew that someone was accused of sexual crimes against children, but far from doing the right thing, he merely "removed the priest [from his parish] and ordered him to report for residential assessment and therapy". The right thing to do would have been to get the proper authorities involved. The proper authorities being the police. Ratzinger knowingly covered up for a kiddy-fiddler. This isn't just a misguided policy on his part, it's action on his part. Ratzinger aided and abetted a paedophile.
This is why the German government should issue a Europe-wide arrest warrant for this vile criminal.
I, being Teh Dumb, left it too late to by Christmas pressies online, so had to visit shops. I gather that there are people who visit shops regularly throughout the year, and I wonder why. To buy three books and a toy took something like three hours. To buy three books and a toy using proper websites takes less than ten minutes. How many billions of hours are wasted in the UK alone by the continued existence of obsolete shops? And in the 21st century, there's far more choice, so I wouldn't have had to make do with buying stuff that wasn't quite what I wanted. I'd forgotten just how piss-poor normal bookshops are.
But far worse was having to deal with the sort of people who work in shops. You'd think that they'd do their best to serve you quickly, but no, they prefer to play on their computers instead of doing their fucking jobs. And when they do deign to notice you, they don't actually pay attention. I tried to buy some Bluetooth headphones. "Do you want them with wires?" was what one idiot asked me. Others, on divining that I wanted to use them with my phone, tried to sell me mono earpieces for making phone calls, and others tried to sell me those silly things that you stuff in your ears and not actually WHAT I ASKED FOR.
Some idiot American policeman has decided to pontificate on the recent release of Mr. Megrahi on compassionate grounds from prison. The fuckwit said:
" Your action gives comfort to terrorists around the world who now believe that regardless of the quality of the investigation, the conviction by jury after the defendant is given all due process, and sentence appropriate to the crime, the terrorist will be freed by one man's exercise of 'compassion'. "
Of course, if he'd been in possession of the facts and not just mouthing off like the ignorant little cunt that he is he'd have noted that Mr. Megrahi was not convicted by a jury, and was not given all due process. Not given all due process, you say? Why yes! His trial was primarily a political show trial, done to appease governments. And most of all, the key witness against him was vague several years after supposedly selling him some clothes - vague about the date and even about who he'd sold them to - and he'd been coached by the police to give the "right" answers, and paid for giving the "right" testimony in court. Another witness also claims to have been bribed, and important documents were withheld from the defence, both at the original trial and at appeal. Independent observers at the time said it was a "spectacular miscarriage of justice".
And, lest you forget, that spectacularly ignorant moron was appointed to his job by a war criminal, and during his time in office the government that he works for has consistently denied juries, adequate legal representation, basic courtesy, fair trials, and all kinds of other human rights to a large number of people who it has kidnapped from all over the world and tortured. Nice.
The Filth currently have an incredibly stupid poster campaign going on, encouraging people to waste police time and money by phoning their "anti-terrorist hotline" about nothing at all. Of course, the real objective is to keep the sheople scared so that the state can use the excuse of TERRRRRRRRRRRR to trample even more on our civil liberties.
Here's my remix ...
And if you want the much bigger Photoshop version (which contains all the font info) so you can play this fun game, it's here (5MB). Do please post links to your versions in the comments, and I'll grab 'em and put them here as well.
Some people are whining "where were the snow ploughs?" and "why weren't the roads gritted" because of the current SNOWAGEDDON. Of course, grit doesn't do any good either on top of or below 8 inches of snow. And in the last paragraph of this article a chap from Westminster City Council makes the obvious point that snow ploughs are only any use if there's somewhere to plough the snow to.
The chap from Camden is a bit silly though. Speed bumps are irrelevant. Why? Because if he had spent money on purchasing, storing and maintaining machinery that is only useful for maybe a day or two every twenty years and whose only purpose is the relieving of irritation (I could understand if it was life-saving, such as an obscure fire-fighting tool, but people not being able to drive to work easily is only an irritant) then he would have quite rightly been lynched by the tax payers for wasting their money.
We can wish anyway. Of course he wouldn't have been lynched, the British sheople prefer to register their dis-satisfaction by writing ungrammatical letters to the local press (circulation: 15,000; readership: none) but still voting for the same useless cunts every few years.
And I predict that in a few months time, quite a few completely useless snow ploughs will have been purchased by the various London boroughs, only to be stored away, not properly maintained after the first few years of inactivity, and sold at a loss to northerners in about 2015.
update: Norman Baker, Lib Dem transport spokesman, reckons it's an absolute disgrace that things go a bit pear-shaped when we have such unusual weather. He compares us to Sweden. As everyone knows, Sweden is an equatorial country where it only ever snows once every seven hundred years, so it's very much worth their while investing in the means to cope with it. I wonder where Mr. Baker thinks the money should come from to buy, store and maintain all the equipment needed for us to cope with unusual weather without the slightest interruption. And I don't just mean unusual snow. He would, of course, spout the same drivel about unusual heat, unusually heavy rain, and presumably freak tsunamis.
Surprisingly, it's someone from the Local Government Association, which represents a band of prize pillocks, who is making the most sense, saying "if we had hundreds of gritters on stand-by for a day like this, a day which happens once in every 18 years, we'd have to divert resources from somewhere else". Fuck me, I do believe we've found a public servant who can actually perform basic arithmetic!
Which bit of "zero tolerance" don't you understand?
The Scottish Government's zero-tolerance policy towards medical staff who don't wash their hands is a strange beast. A bit like the Haggis, which has three legs, two long ones on the downhill side and one short one on the up-hill side.
Because it doesn't appear to be zero-tolerance at all, as people will be warned several times that they're being naughty before being "disciplined". Ooh, nurse, discipline please! In any case, the policy appears to be largely unnecessary. The previous target was easily met significantly ahead of schedule, demonstrating that there wasn't a major problem in the first place. So it was just an excuse to piss more taxpayers' money up the wall on promotional materials, monitoring staff, managers for the monitors, and so on, and to make the Scottish Government look good in the press.
The government has this wonderful new wheeze that people who've been drawing state benefits for more than two years should be made to work for them. Of course, it's been tried before and quietly dropped, at least twice, but let's ignore that. Let's look at why this is a Really Bad Idea.
Obviously they're not intending that this work should be done in the private sector - because then they'd be earning a wage instead of drawing benefits. So they're expecting them to work in the public sector, or the voluntary sector. Now, if I run a charity, I'm not going to take those people. I've already got volunteers who actually want to do the work, so I'm not going to use labourers who don't want to do the work and so will do the minimum possible, slacking off and drinking my tea and eating my biscuits at every opportunity, all the while imposing costs on me for things like insurance, training, heating, lighting, and keeping an eye on them to make sure they don't steal shit.
So they're obviously going to be working in the public sector. The amount of money they'll be paid for their not-a-jobs will in the vast majority of cases be less than the minimum wage, thus depressing wages for menial work such as street sweepers, and (remember, they'd rather not be doing this) depressing the quality of the work. So the street sweepers end up on the dole. Of course, you'll also need a layer of management. Probably more than one. Hell, probably more than two - this is the government, after all - to supervise the non-free workerslabourers and correlate work done badly with benefits payments. Thus increasing costs (and taxes, or government borrowing, which equates to taxes anyway, just a bit later), getting a worse job done, putting more people on benefits - all round, a really bad idea. Incidentally, this is the same reason that I'm opposed to prison labour. By all means have the prisoners do their own cooking and laundry, but making products like screws and stuff for sale outside the prison has just the same bad effects.
And there's two other bad effects too.
Firstly, some of these people do actually want to work, they just haven't been able to find any. Any time they spend slaving away in these degrading non-jobs takes away time that they could otherwise use to look for work, and because the jobs will quite likely be manual labour, they will be knackered in what free time they have left, and so too tired to use the less time they have available in an effective manner. Second, some of them, while claiming benefits, are in fact working, doing jobs that the NHS and social services want to do but can't. An awful lot of people who work bloody hard caring for sick or elderly relatives are going to be fucked over (that's a technical term) by this.
It's just a stupid idea all round. Thankfully, just like the last time this was mooted, it almost certainly won't happen beyond a short trial in some grotty irrelevant northern town.
For fuck's sake, I'm beginning to sound like a Tory. So, in for a penny in for a pound. If you really want to stop people claiming benefits, stop paying them. Of course, you don't want to see families starving to death (they're worthless people, so you obviously don't care about them, but dead bodies are ugly, and cause disease which might spread from the slums into areas where real people live), so we'd need some kind of special institution for them to live in where, perhaps, they could be helped (at low cost, using poor quality tools) to work to produce the bare necessities of life like food and basic clothing. We could euphemistically call these places "work houses" :-)
The real solution is, of course, to stop fucking the economy over by pouring money down the drain of failed businesses (for the love of god don't bail out the car companies!), and instead to invest in useful infrastructure that will promote economic growth. How about starting with a proper high-speed rail link from London to Birmingham, Manchester and Scotland. That would need plenty of unskilled labourers and the resulting prosperity in the blighted north would bring a fuckload of well-paying jobs, thus getting people off the dole in the long term.
Christmas decorations are, again, appearing unseasonally early. Is global warming to blame? Anyway, here's the offenders I've spotted so far:
Croydon Borough Council
on lamp-posts in Thornton Heath town centre
House of Fraser
Wandsworth Borough Council
Fortnum & Mason*
many of the shops on ...
... Oxford Street
* you could argue that their window displays are winter displays, as they do also have spring, summer and autumn displays.
As the middle of November approaches, we are reaching the time of year when it might just about be acceptable for shops to start Christmassing themselves up. So I'll only add truly egregious offenders from now on.
What's the point of umbrellas? To be effective, their diameter needs to be slightly more than h * sin(ϑ) (where h is your height and ϑ is the angle of the rain from the vertical). So, if rain is falling vertically you need an umbrella with diameter slightly more than* the width of your shoulders. If rain is going horizontally, you need an umbrella slightly wider than you are tall. If rain is coming down at 20° from the vertical, you need an umbrella diameter just over 0.34 * your height, and so on.
Given that rain can subtend any angle from 0 to 90° from the vertical, then unless you wish to be your umbrella supplier's very best friend in the whole world, you need a Very Large umbrella. And yet, no-one carries such a thing. Indeed, I don't think anyone makes such a thing suitable for anyone other than midgets. So we see that every umbrella user has, from the point of view of keeping themselves dry, made the wrong decision. Their partial solutions are no better than what they would achieve by wearing a good coat and a hat.
Unfortunately, their partial solutions come at the cost to everyone else of getting poked in the face by the metal spikes at the edge of the umbrella.
* the value of "slightly more" is a function of ϑ and the shape of the human body. A good approximation would be to assume that a person's width is h/3 and their depth is h/4.
I'd like to express my warm thanks to the lovely people at Yahoo and in particular to their bot-herders. Until quite recently, their web-crawling bots had most irritatingly obeyed robot exclusion rules in the robots.txt file that I have on CPANdeps. But in the last couple of weeks they've got rid of that niggling little exclusion so now they're indexing all of the CPAN's dependencies through my site! And for the benefit of their important customers, they're doing it nice and quickly - a request every few seconds instead of the pedestrian once every few minutes that gentler bots use.
Unfortunately, because generating a dependency tree takes more time than they were allowing between requests, they were filling up my process table, and all my memory, and eating all the CPU, and the only way to get back into the machine was by power-cycling it. So it is with the deepest of regrets that I have had to exclude them.
We all know that one of the pre-requisites for joining the police is that you are indescribably stupid (the others being that you are a violent thug, have right-wing politics, and are over 5'10" tall). However, this is even more stupid than normal. The dribbling idiots even showed the board game to the press as part of a "weapons stash".
Mind you, the resulting publicity has made so many people interested in buying a copy of the game that the makers' website has melted into a puddle of goo, so it's not all bad.
I will, of course, update this post listing any police officers who are not indescribably stupid if they can show me that they objected to the confiscation of a harmless board game and attempted to prevent their less intelligent colleagues from doing so. Until then, however, you may assume that all the Kent filth are thick as pigshit - and less useful as you can't make fuel from them.
Awww, poor ickle baby diddums. Perhaps if the "reverend" Peter can't afford to run his car he should pray for his invisible friend to slip an extra 20 into his wallet. Go on Peter, pray really hard. You can do it! God Loves you! And you're doing his work! He's bound to help!
Well, I guess god just hates you then. What a cunt!
Here's an interesting fact for you: Peter works for the richest landowner in the country. If he's actually using the car for work and not just for jollies (mmm, having a cup of tea with a parishioner, what fun!) perhaps he can just send in a fucking expenses claim.
Fuck me. Some people really are too stupid to be allowed to live. I refer, of course, to the parents who called their unfortunate offspring "Danika", "Pepita", and "Travers". And to everyone who didn't use a credit card. At them Oi have to larf.
Here's Dave's Rule Of Protecting Yourself From Business Failures: unless the goods are delivered right there on the spot, use a credit card. If your credit rating sucks and no reputable company will issue you one, get one from the corner-shop that you can load up with cash, effectively using it as a debit card. This will both protect you from this sort of fuckup and help your credit rating.
This does, however, raise a serious point.
All the customers who will now lose out are "unsecured creditors". That means that when it comes to determining who gets paid how much, they come third (and last) in line after the taxman and "secured creditors". I don't give a shit about the ordinary run-of-the-mill unsecured creditor. However, I do give a shit about employees. All of the company's employees are unsecured creditors too. They might be lucky if the company went bust immediately after transferring their pay to their bank accounts, but even so, they'll still be owed holiday pay, some will be on maternity leave, their pensions will be unpaid, and so on. It's not uncommon for an employee to end up several thousand pounds out of pocket. Employees can't protect themselves by using a credit card, or by somehow making themselves into secured creditors (ie, mortgage holders), but they're the ones who have actually tried to make the company work, far more so than the tax man or any thieving suit in a bank. So they should be moved to the front of the queue and get paid first. Before the tax man (who will get his pound of flesh from them anyway, not that it matters because his take from any failed company is a trifling amount to him), before secured creditors, and before all the customers.
Did you know that "fuel poverty" is defined as having to spend more than 10% of your income to heat a room to 21°C, or 70°F? Those people would be less poor if they turned the fucking thermostat down and put on a jumper.
And then the normally respectable Joseph Rowntree Foundation has said that the minimum acceptable standard of living costs £13,400 for a single person. Apparently the "essentials" that that will get you include booze, chocolate, a DVD player, CD player and a TV. If you have two children, then it is essential to spend £225 on a birthday present for each of them.
Delving into the details, apparently some people think that croissants are essential, that they need takeaway pizza, and that a suit is both essential and would cost only £40. Mind you, they only expect that shit suit to last two years before having to be thrown away.
Of those, the only one that is even arguable is a CD player if you have children, on the grounds that good music is educational.
My car insurance is due to be renewed soon, so I've been ringing around to get quotes. With every company I've tried, I've given them the same information, and I want the same product. Now, those of my chums who work in financey companies assure me that there's lots of Science and Reasoning behind how they calculate all their stuff, and you would have thought that insurance, being a huge part of the financial industry, would be just as sciencey.
Well, no. If it was sciencey, then for the same inputs (things like what car I drive, what accidents I've had and when, how old I am, where I live etc) then the outputs would be the same. Except that, for identical policies, I've had quotes ranging from £900 to £1,650.
There is quite obviously no science and no rational calculations behind insurance quotes, they're just making shit up.
Posted at 10:19
by David Cantrell keywords: cars | rant
One of the few things that some religions have got right is condemning usury. I am appalled that ads like the one below (the link obviously doesn't go to the company in question) are legal. I'm even more appalled, of course, that there are people stupid enough to take them.
Fuck me with a pineapple! Or rather, fuck the idiots who take those loans with a pineaple, cos that's what they're going to get.
Gotta love the Olympics. In the three years since the 2005 bid, the cost of security alone has risen five-fold. That's in just three years. That's a 70% increase per year. That's Weimar levels of inflation, that I have to pay for.
And the end result will be for the Met to hook in to every CCTV camera in London, of which we have far too many already. Thankyou very fucking much again Seb Coe you midget Tory CUNT. You know, I thought the Conservatives were against wasting public money on Big Government projects. Fucking hypocrites.
Occasionally, satellite navigation systems come up with daft routes. Such as directing large vehicles down narrow windy country lanes. This is a particular problem for some people who live on those lanes.
What really bugs me, however, is the response when those vehicles get stuck. We hear of vehicles getting stuck and being released by cutting down trees, demolishing walls, and digging up gardens. This is the wrong response.
The incompetent drivers are at fault for not paying attention to where they're going. Therefore they should be punished. If the vehicle can't be got out quickly (say within a few hours) then what should be destroyed isn't the nearby walls, but the vehicle. Extract it by cutting the vehicle apart.
Yet more proof that the only reason people become police officers is because they are too fucking stupid to get a proper job.
Of course, that's not really true. What they're really doing is deliberately scaring as many people as possible by hyping constant "threats" so that the stupid sheople will let politicians get away with stripping them of more and more of their hard-won civil liberties. This use of fear as a political weapon has a name. It's called terrorism.
Here's the proof, should anyone still need it, that choosing Microsoft is really very silly. There's nothing particularly wrong with Microsoft wanting to check the validity of a licence when you install their software - it could, if implemented right, prevent people from, say, installing the same licenced copy of Windows on several machines at once. However, allowing Microsoft to arbitrarily decide later on that a perfectly legitimate install is really pirated is Just Wrong. Worse, relying on them running their licence checking servers for ever is Just Plain Stupid. There's no way that they'll still be running in ten or twenty years time. But I guarantee that there will be people wanting to still run XP or Vista then, just as there are people running Windows NT, Windows 95 and DOS right now.
Given that, I fail to see how anyone who freely chooses Microsoft software can be anything other than ignorant, stupid, or malicious. Of course, most people who make that choice make it out of mere ignorance, as they're not used to thinking about how software security systems can fail. There's nothing wrong with ignorance. It can be corrected.
Here are a few facts about foot and mouth disease, and about farming in the UK:
The disease is only rarely fatal in animals.
Animals that have recovered can go on to be just as productive as if they were never infected.
It is almost impossible for humans to catch it.
Vaccines are available.
That clearly demonstrates that the response last time was totally unnecessary and out of all proportion to the "problem" it tried to solve.
The 2001 outbreak cost the UK £8 billion, plus a great deal of aggravation for normal people who were restricted from doing normal things like going for a walk in the countryside.
The whole of the agriculture industry in the UK, including the arable sector, is worth only £9 billion. Livestock farming is just 45% of that.
So, the cost of the unnecessary response to the last outbreak was equivalent to twice the yearly output of the entire livestock industry. If we assume that 10% of livestock farms were affected (which I am sure is a huge overestimate) then each one cost the nation 20 years worth of their contribution to society. No industry is worth that level of subsidy.
This story makes it clear why the US objected so strongly to the Serious Farce Office being told to drop its investigation into Saudi corruption in relation to an arms deal. Oh dear. If you're going to try to be devious and maneuvre your owners' competitors out of the way, then it's good manners to at least be a bit less transparent about it.
Is it any surprise that southerners generally hold much of the north in disdain? The people who live there seem to delight in building their homes on flood plains, not bothering to buy insurance, and then relying on government hand-outs (ie, southerners' money) to bail them out.
The moment the floods started last month in the north, there they were whinging to the press about how they had no insurance and that I should foot the bill. Compare with this weekend's flooding in the south, where people seem to have put up, shut up, and got on with clearing up.
This clear difference in culture makes a persuasive argument for English regional devolution and not just the answering of the West Lothian Question but also of the Why Does The South Subsidise The North question.
A few days ago I needed to pay a Danish gentleman some money. So I went to my bank to sort out the IBAN jibber-jabber. It would apparently take up to 8 days to go through or 5 if I paid extra for special handling. Naturally, I took the cheap option.
Three days later the guy emailed me to say that the money had arrived. Clearly, when you pay extra for banking services you're paying for some expensive but lazy paper-pusher to sit on its fat arse for a couple of days doing nothing instead of paying a computer which will work for peanuts.
I for one will welcome the rise of our efficient electronic masters!
This evening, I wrote the following in response to some trouble someone was having with their mail on one of my mailing lists, one which is normally devoted to talk about electronic circuits. In the end I didn't post it, which is probably a good thing.
XXXX XXXXXXXXX wrote:
> So far the only person who has made any sense to me has been XXXX > XXXXXX. The other postings have answered in, to me, computer > gobblydegook. Definitely not 'admirable suggestions of how the > individual issues can be resolved'.
In all other areas, people take the time to figure out how to do things properly, and learn the terminology needed so that they can discuss any problems they have with an expert without wasting that expert's precious time. It's just plain good manners for someone to learn what some of the standard openings are called before asking a chess expert for tips on how to improve their game, or the basics of what a resistor does before asking questions in this 'ere mailing list.
The same applies to computers and email. The "gobbledigook" is the basics that people would learn in any other field of expertise. Why people can't be bothered to learn it when a computer is involved is beyond me.
Yes, I know it takes time to learn. I know it's annoying to have to do it. But to the experts, your problem is as insignificant and uninteresting as my inept chess-playing is to my local club champion.
Anyway, the solution to your email problems is "consult your local system administrator or your ISP's help desk". If they can't help you, fire them, hire a better one and repeat the process until the problem is solved. No gobbledigook required.
Gosh, Evil Dave showing restraint. Whatever next?!!?
Posted at 22:04
by David Cantrell keywords: geeky | rant
Apparently, vendors of services needed by the 2012 Olympic games organisers will only be considered if they pay to be "major sponsors" of the games. Derek Wyatt MP let slip that "because neither of these companies was a 'major sponsor' of the Olympics their technology could not be used".
If this were anything other than the Olympics, that "sponsorship" would be spelt B-R-I-B-E-R-Y.
This comes shortly after the UK government decided to stop investigating alleged bribes paid by British Aerospace to the Saudi government. It's nice to know that corruption is taken seriously in this wonderful country.
That's what the Olympics are going to cost now. And that's a billion pounds a day, not a billion of the shiny but worthless baubles that other countries use. Thankyou very fucking much Seb Coe you midget Tory CUNT.
I got an email today from a recruiter. Not to see if I was available for work, but trying to push someone on to me. The email read:
This candidate is actively seeking work in your area at the moment. He does have several other interviews arranged therefore if you are interested in seeing him for a role you are currently recruiting for please give me a call today.
If you are not recruiting, please keep my details on record for future reference.
and was sent to my personal address, not to work. Neither I nor my lovely employer have told this girl that we are looking for anyone technical and if we had we'd not have asked for someone who knew PHP. So yes, I most certainly will "keep her details on record for future reference". Being a gentleman, I informed her of this fact and that I was keeping them because I would otherwise not remember that she is clearly far too stupid for me to do business with.
Update 2007-01-19: she dunnit again. This time I phoned her, and she admitted sending unsolicited, untargetted mailshots - that is, spam. She, of course, thinks it was targetted, but I'm afraid that's just not true as is obvious from what I wrote above. And, of course, there's the issue that the address she sent her spam to is one that I created only because one person (one!) continually mis-spelt my real one. I've never sent email from the address in question, nor have I ever given that address to anyone apart from that one person. Consequently, the idiot spammer Claire O'Keeffe of Huxley Associates obviously either guessed it or acquired it by some other nefarious means.
Posted at 17:43
by David Cantrell keywords: rant | spam
You're a bunch of cunts. Not only do you provide no way for me to export my wishlist to XML or CSV or anything useful like that, you manage to break all the third-party applications that do it as well. I hate you and hope you die.
update: they had for no apparent reason disabled my account, although they were still sending me information about how to use it. It would have been nice if they'd told me. It would have been nice if I got helpful error messages back from the Net::Amazon module too.
Apparently some company called Farepak has gone bust. It looks like a dodgy scheme whereby people give money to this company every month and then get some vouchers at the end of the year, the aim being to spread the cost of their otherwise-unaffordable cheap and tacky christmas splurge across the whole year. According to unnamed MPs quoted by the BBC, Farepak's failure is a "national tragedy and emergency".
The only thing that's "tragic" here is that these people were stupid enough to invest their savings in a shady scheme with no guarantees instead of putting their money into a proper savings account. If they had done the latter and their bank had gone bust (which is pretty fucking unlikely) then they would have been protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
My favourite restaurant review ever is here. Sadly, the ghastly chain, whose only customers are indeed foreign tourists who don't know any better (although on the plus side, perhaps they'll be so revolted that they never come back to my glorious city) has not had the good manners to go out of business as the reviewer thought it was back in 2002.
Posted at 19:29
by David Cantrell keywords: media | rant
Oh dear. Read this and this. I think the Debian developers should:
realise that they are the only people in the whole world to care about the Debian Social Contract
I'll certainly not be installing their brand of madness again. These days, Ubuntu is sufficiently mature.
And while I'm venting my spleen (what on earth is a spleen, how do they vent, and do they taste nice?) Debian should sodding well fix their stupid release names. What the fuck is 'sid' or 'buttplug' or whatever they call it? What's wrong with a nice simple '5.7'?
Read this. And cry. Wonder why the retards at Papyrus don't just kill themselves and put themselves out of our misery.
I bet that more people are harmed by pointless leaflets than kill themselves because of teh interwebnets. So there should be a leaflet put in the box with every new computer warning about the dangers of leaflets.
You might get a paper cut
Babies can choke on them
You can hurt your back bending down to pick them up
OMIGODTHEY'REFLAMMABLE!!!!!! SOMEONE MIGHT USE ONE TO START A FIRE ON AN AEROPLANE EEK!!!!TERRRRRRRRRRRRSM!
they might obstruct your view causing a 9000 car pile-up
You and I aren't allowed to carry our own drinks through security at the airport, although we are allowed to buy them at the grossly inflated prices in the departures lounge, which is nice for someone. But what happens to the drinks and toothpaste and stuff being confiscated from people?
Thesemorons don't seem to have heard of hypergolic fuels, which burn or explode when two substances are mixed. Many are liquid, and don't require any kind of spark or igniter. So pouring all those oh-so-suspicious liquids into a bucket, or mixing all the tubes of toothpaste and stuff in one bin which will just get crushed (boom!) seems really quite daft.
Of course, I don't really think they're morons. Traitors maybe, but not morons. They have heard of hypergolic fuels, and they don't want random explosions in airports. The logical conclusion is that they know there is no threat from liquid bombs on planes. Why they would therefore make you buy your bottle of water in the departures lounge and restrict hand luggage I leave up to you to decide.
The Israeli military are deliberately attacking ambulances in Lebanon, causing further injuries to patients, many of whom are already the victims of Israeli attacks. The situation is so bad that the Lebanese Red Cross drivers now ask permission from Israel before going to collect patients. This frankly evil behaviour from Israel was, of course, expected, as they have a history of denyingmedicaltreatment to Arab untermensch in Gaza and the West Bank.
It disgusts me that so many people can still be apologists for Israel. I'm with Cato - Israel delenda est! The state of Israel, as currently constituted, is not fit to exist. Of course, that applies to many of the other nasty little countries in the region too, but Israel would be a good place to start with some enforced reform because it causes far more damage than the others. Pity it'll never happen.
Gotta love the Olympics. Not only is it already over budget, not only will Londoners have to suffer even more unwanted tourists, but now we find that poor people are going to lose their jobs because of it.