Climate change Fail Government Nanny state Uncategorized

Why a lot of non-jobs should go

As you cannot fail to be aware, the UK is going through a massive planning exercise to remove large sums of expenditure from the public sector.  It\’s not nice, but it\’s a necessary part of getting government spending down to lower levels so that the country can live within its means.

I have a suggestion.  In many local councils and government bodies there is a swathe of jobs in recently popular areas.  The jobs are a declaration by the body that they take an issue seriously and are taking steps to sort it.  I\’m thinking of jobs in environmental, diversity, promotion of recycling, you know the sort of thing I mean – jobs that pay £30-50,000 a year (along with the associated employers and benefits costs).

Compare this with the real world of manufacturing which is part of an economy that actually generates money for the country rather than just spending it (OK that\’s perjorative, but not unfair).  There, as far back as the 80\’s Quality departments were under pressure as manufacturing costs had to be clawed back for businesses to survive.  The thinking then (and some of this came from the Japanese manufacturing world), was that everyone has a responsibility in the company for quality.  It wasn\’t a bolt on feature that came after the widget came off the line – it had to be built in, every member of staff had to understand their role in ensuring that quality was to the necessary standards.

I propose the same for all these jobs in local and national government and organisations like the BBC.

Any job that relates to a policy that should be embraced by all staff, and acted upon universally should be removed and those responsibilities transferred to all staff as part of their normal job requirements.

So for instance: promoting equality in the workplace.  Everyone in any workplace should know that they are required to be fair to all people irrespective of race, creed, colour, religion, sexual orientation, shoe size (OK, that\’s a joke).  Anyone failing to do that should be processed by the organisation\’s hierarchy as a natural part of employment.  It does not need a flotilla of staff within the organisation to ensure this.
Equally for an organisation that requires this of it\’s clientele (a local council for instance), the staff should also be able, trained, and required to ensure that the treatment of the clientele, and (if necessary) the behaviour of the clientele is appropriate and reasonable.  We don\’t need a bunch of highly paid staff to ensure that this happens.

The bottom line is that government funded bodies need to learn to integrate their policies and standards into day to day life, and stop employing expensive staff who only create policies and procedures that self justify, and then create a further workload to ensure that the incumbents positions are secure.

EU Microsoft Ballot Nanny state Uncategorized

Damn – did Microsoft or the EU drop a clanger? Part II

I wrote yesterday about the disarrrster that was my mother\’s experience of the EU imposed browser ballot.  Well, I tried it out on a test machines and here are the screens you should expect to see.

Firstly, remember that if you install the patch as you shutdown then this will occur on the next power on without any notice – this could be some time later!

If you install patching and then take the restart now, then on logging on to your computer this windows will appear (click on the images below to see them full size):

The eagle eyed will also spot this new icon on the desktop:

However you will also notice that the browser ballot requires you to be connected to the internet, and the OK button just takes you to the next screens (see below).  My mother\’s experience was that the X to close the windows and ALT-F4 did not work.

All in all, I have to agree – this feels and looks like malware.  A popup insisting you are connected to the internet for the next steps, and has no company name on it is not likely to be taken for a piece of legitimate software – although I would emphasise my suspicions that this is part of the imposition from the EU to prevent \”Microsoft bias\”.

Please pass the message on – for all the IT Pros out there who support their extended friends and family network, I can see this is going to be a serious nuisance.

Enjoy 🙂

EU Microsoft Ballot Nanny state Uncategorized

Damn – did Microsoft or the EU drop a clanger?

Today I got a rather worried email from my mother. The message was titled “virus?”.

Earlier today she had switched on the computer and been confronted by a screen that asked her to choose some software to install. Worried that this might be some sort of malware attack she took immediate action to disconnect from the internet and shutdown the computer. Once isolated she then quite correctly started up and ran AV tests. So she was off the computer and the internet for quite a few hours today.

However, mum used dad’s computer to email me her concerns. Unfortunately as I was at Microsoft Cardinal Place in London where decent phone and data signal is as rare as rocking horse droppings I knew nothing of it until I was on the train home.

It rapidly dawned on me that Microsoft Update had somehow selected mum to be one of the first recipients of KB976002 which is the implementation of the EU directive to provide choice of web browser to consumers. The infamous browser ballot.

I asked her to go to Microsoft Update and check the installed patches, the KB was there:

If you read the knowledgebase article you’ll see that browser ballot loads on the first reboot after installation. In mum’s case it was a shutdown and install updates last night that installed the patch, and then today’s power on activated the ballot form.

I am pretty angry that the implementation of this has been done in such a manner. I suspect that the agreement does not allow Microsoft to inform the consumer what (and why) this is happening and ‘finger’ the EU as the cause behind the interruption of normal service. I would have preferred to have seen something along the lines of:
“In accordance with the agreement reached with the European Union, Microsoft are obliged to offer you a choice of Web Browser. The following options are available for you to choose…” you see what I mean. This would have provided some context and allowed mum to make a more reasoned response to such strange behaviour.

So normal service is resumed, but after a run of good things, I’m a bit narked that we seem to have taken a backwards step with this. And of course – how long before malware uses this to target users?

Rant over…

Oh, and if you are wondering – then yes XP is the right solution for mum and dad. They’ve had their machines since before Vista, and I strongly urged them not to upgrade because I was not satisfied it would be a good experience for them. Windows 7 I certainly recommend, but a wipe and install upgrade is not the right approach either. When they get a new machine(s), then yes, I will whole heartedly support Windows 7 on it!

Climate change Nanny state Uncategorized

Nanny state misses the point again

On first glance this advert seems like a sensible thing to do – even though I am yet to be convinced that anthropogenic climate change is happening*. Conserving resources is always a sensible thing, especially when money is tight.

But then you see the rest of the advert
If you look closely you\’ll see that the Climate Change enthusiasts are recommending that we still consider driving to pick up the children from school only a hundred or so yards away from home. The idea of the car outline might be funny-clever, but the actual implication is that everyone drives everywhere to do everything. Unless you are disabled, the various fictitous journeys through this map could all be done on foot or by bicycle for
  1. better health
  2. lower cost
  3. a bit more time admittedly
  4. less impact on the environment.

As our American cousins would say \”go figure\”

*If so then how do you explain ice ages, the mediaeval mini ice age, and so on. They all predate industrialisation. Do none of the climate change evangelists realise that the earth changes climate all by itself – can we have proof that WE are exclusively responsible for the changes?