September 16, 2008
Trickle Down Economics?

It's trickling down now, all right.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 12:07 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
April 09, 2008

Sky-high prices, flat beer and no fags: how the pub bubble burst

Right, I'm going to do my bit to support this ailing, vital industry, and I expect each and every one of you to do the same.

Err, OK, except you, Mum. ;-)

Posted by Simon Brunning at 01:59 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
February 11, 2008
New site...

It's been a busy weekend, but it's mostly done now. We did UK, World, The Guardian, The Observer and Audio this time, along with a few bits and pieces. The biggies.

Next up for re-launch, Sport. And given the storm-in-a-teacup over the removal of the football link from the front page, and you imagine what it'll be like when the entire sport site changes?

Posted by Simon Brunning at 04:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
February 04, 2008
The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs: Monkey Boy's three-legged race

Fake Steve Jobs has really nailed the Microsoft/Yahoo! merger here: Monkey Boy's three-legged race.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 09:49 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
February 26, 2007
DRM and the BBC

I listened to the BBC Backstage podcast this weekend. Lots to think about there. The BBC can't just give away its programs, 'cos it doesn't have the rights, and isn't likely to any time soon.

But then again, DRM can't be the answer, really. Not because it's evil - though it is - but because it doesn't work.

What is a no-brainer, though, is that whatever the BBC chooses to go with has to be cross platform. Mac and Linux users pay their licence fees too, you know!

Posted by Simon Brunning at 01:25 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
February 07, 2007
Eye Candy

One if the most interesting things I've noticed reading engadget is just how unreconstructed the Far East is when it comes to using skimpily clad models in ads without even pretending justification. Not that the UK is immune, but this kind of thing is becoming rare these days, thank God (or the imaginary friend of your choosing).

(Yeah, I know, subscribing to engadget? It's no wonder I get nothing done.)

Update: Err, perhaps things aren't improving all that much after all. :-(

Posted by Simon Brunning at 01:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
March 09, 2005
Software Patents in the EU

Software Patents in the EU. A Bad Thing.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 01:53 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
February 25, 2005
As long as that?

Today is Work Your Proper Hours Day. I'm not sure I can last that long...

Posted by Simon Brunning at 04:16 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
December 16, 2004
On software pricing

Camels and Rubber Duckies

It's interesting that the world of software delelopment tools might be a little different. There are almost no good software delelopment tools in the $100 to $1000 bracket. The good tools are either free or really expensive. (The various 'developer' editions are not really counter examples. These are usually just 'taster' versions - you always need the expensive 'enterprise' editions to do real work.)

Posted by Simon Brunning at 10:56 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)
December 10, 2004
Standardised PCs

The Hidden Costs of Help Desk Avoidance, via Smalltalk Tidbits, Industry Rants.

As James points out, "Standardise PC hardware and software" might sound like a good idea to the pointy-haireds, but it can't apply to everyone. I can't go a week without needing to install something or other. The PC guys here take a "you break it, you fix it" attitude with PC developers, which is fair enough. If you take the back off the radio, the warranty is void.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 04:41 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
November 26, 2004
Interview with the Sociopath

"Some candidates have the audacity to view the organization of an interview as being representative of the organizational capabilities of your company as a whole. They reason that finding someone to fill a role is effectively a mini-project in itself, and if you can't schedule and coordinate even a minor project like that, how could you manage a larger and more complex undertaking like a software project? These people are clearly thinking too hard and too critically. They are exactly the ones that you want to turn off."

So true it hurts - Interview with the Sociopath.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 02:14 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)
November 24, 2004
Economic Armageddon

Oh dear. Economic 'Armageddon' predicted (vis boing boing). I'd better pick up some earphones while I can still afford them, then.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 02:17 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
November 08, 2004
What is your current employer like?

Interview questions: Preparing replies about your current or former employer.

Apparently, "they're a shower of bastards" isn't the right answer. Who'd have guessed?

Posted by Simon Brunning at 12:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
September 15, 2004
I'd argue. If I could be bothered.

Brit workers are 'apathetic and unskilled'. Yup, that's me alright.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 05:17 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
August 19, 2004
A hint to the management

How to win a small business award.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 04:56 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
July 20, 2004
Evil deeds

I bought a Time computer once. Cheep 'n' cheerful, only without the cheerful. It looked like good value for money, but every single component was rubbish.

These days, I gather, Time have attempted to leave their reputation for selling shoddy kit behind by re-branding themselves as "The Computer Shop". They'll have to re-brand themselves again pretty soon if they stitch people up like this too often.

Microsoft wouldn't want to get left behind on the dodgy business ethics front, so they are up to no good too.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 05:11 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
May 21, 2004
Blogs in Business

Two and a half years ago, I suggested that my company publish an industry news feed, and build a feed reader into the web applications that we build for our clients. Most of our clients are in a very vertical market, so this could have flown, I thought - we could have delivered useful news, and slipped product release information in there too.

Did my company pick up this idea and run with it? Did they buggery.

Well, it appears that it wasn't such a stupid idea after all. Even Bill Gates thinks that blogs are useful business communication tool now.

This is distinct from the plogging idea I mentioned recently, BTW. Plogging is the use of a blog as an internal communication tool - Gates was talking about using them as external communication tools, too.

Via Coté.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 11:48 AM | Permalink | Comments (9)
March 26, 2004
McDonald's clothes

Now you can dress your child in McDonald's branded clothing, to go with their McDonald's playsets.

The photo that they used to illustrate "Children in a McDonald's restaurant" was very appropriate, I must say. Taking a child with a weight problem like that into a McDonald's ought to be considered child abuse.

Via Off on a Tangent.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)
January 26, 2004
Sir Bill

So, Bill Gates is to be knighted, eh? Presumably for his contributions to anti-competitive business practice?

Or perhaps it's for his unstinting work in keeping the Communists at bay. (Or the Open Source community, as you may know it.) And if he's had to tell a pack of lies to do this, what of it? Cough*bastard*cough.

Bill the spam-killer is another joke. Besides, at least one good anti-spam solution already exists: SpamBayes caught 70 spams for me this morning, with no false positives, none missed, and seven unsures. Superb. You going to beat that, Bill? Sorry, Sir Bill?

And if you think you are going to start charging me to send email, Sir Bill, you can feck off. You don't own the Internet.

From Slashdot: We want to be the first proprietary vendor to copy the methods of the Open Source solutions to the Spam Problem.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 01:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)
January 06, 2004
Sickie nation

Fit workers 'would call in sick'

"And 60% will stay at home with minor ailments such as colds or hangovers." I can assure you, if ever a hangover has kept me from work, there's been nothing minor about it!

Not that I've had much sick time in the last few years - unlike some people I could mention... CoughMatthewsCough.

Hmmm. Unless you count time in the Dentists chair having my front teeth reconstructed, that is. ;-) A couple of years back I spent rather a lot of time at the Dentist. I did come straight to work after having a incisor removed, though...

Posted by Simon Brunning at 05:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)
November 27, 2003
Google as bad as Microsoft?

Google's dominance as a search engine is unchallenged at the moment. It's from a position like this that Microsoft gets up to all its anti-competitive shenanigans. So, might Google get up to the same sort of Tricks? Charles Miller thinks not - Google, Microsoft and Tall Poppies. I hope he's right.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 01:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
November 24, 2003
We are working harder, not smarter

Unpaid overtime soars in the UK.

I think I'll do my bit to restore balance by fecking off home early today.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 02:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)
November 21, 2003
Kill Bill

Before Bill kills you - Natural Deselection.

"So here we have examples of Microsoft squeezing customers and at least three different kinds of "partners" to increase revenue. But that's not enough, they need more. No amount of money is enough for Microsoft."


Posted by Simon Brunning at 01:25 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
They are certainly hampering mine...

Computers 'hamper the workplace'

Posted by Simon Brunning at 12:58 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
October 31, 2003

Say it ain't so! Google Considering Merger With Microsoft.

Hmmm, well, OK, it doesn't look too realistic to me. But just imagine if it did happen. Oh, the horror!

Via Everything Burns.

Update: Via d2r, How good is Google? from The Economist.

Sigh. I miss The Economist. I used to read it, back when I had the time.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 03:25 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
September 22, 2003
Good luck, Steve...

You'll need it - Four in ten IT contractors out of work.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 05:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
September 12, 2003
Another blow to UK IT contractors

Am I glad that I'm a permie! What with the horrible job market and IR35, it's not easy being a contractor at the moment. And now this - Litigation frenzy driving IT contractors under.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 11:58 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)
August 26, 2003
118 whatever

Diamond Geezer links to a useful 118 number consumer guide, and adds a few comments of his own. Useful.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 01:51 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
August 12, 2003
Microsoft in the news

Microsoft are getting a lot of coverage at the BBC today - Worm blasts across the web and Microsoft fined $520m in patent case.

I can't pretend that the 2nd of these didn't make me smile.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 11:37 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
August 01, 2003
IT the EasyJet way

In Open Source Flying, Matthew Langham contends that the way the air travel industry has changed over the years may be a good model for the way the IT industry is changing.

In the old days, if you wanted to fly, you went to your national carrier and payed whatever they demanded, and that was that. Just as now, 99% of businesses go to one of the big vendors (Microsoft, IBM, Sun, etc.) for their software.

These days, there are a number of low cost carriers fighting over you. The national carriers are still there, offering high price, high standard, high convenience travel, but they no longer own the skies.

Will the big vendors lose out? I can't say I see any sign of it yet, but it would be nice if he were correct. ;-)

Via Daily Python-URL.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 01:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
July 07, 2003

Ruthless workers are on the move

(I'll give the Indy one more chance...)

Ruthless? Cynical, perhaps, but it's the way we are generally treated that make us that way. My current employer is different - they have shown me real loyalty, and I'll show it to them back. (And I'm not just saying that in case one of the directors reads this. ;-) But they are unusual - in most of the places that I've worked, I was just a resource, no more.

Trust and loyalty are two way streets. When companies start showing them to their workers, then they can expect them in return. Not before.

Naturally, while times are hard in the job market, people will stick where they are. But as soon as the market shifts, there will be a lot of compnies left in the lurch...

Posted by Simon Brunning at 02:54 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)
April 30, 2003
The Indy goes pay-per-view

Arrrgh! I was going to link to Philip Hensher's interesting piece in yesterday's Indy. In fact I will anyway - In defence of sex and violence on television.

Problem is, all of a sudden you have to pay to read it. (It's not that interesting, by the way, so don't bother.) It's a shame, this - I shan't be linking to the Indy in future.

I wonder why they did this? I mean, it's not like anyone is going to pay for this, is it?

I wonder how much it all cost to set up?

Posted by Simon Brunning at 01:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
February 25, 2003
Doom and gloom

Hopes dashed for UK IT jobs recovery. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 02:06 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
January 07, 2003

JobStats - the current state of the UK computing job market.

This is a little depressing - I was hoping that the worst might be over, but the graph on the JobStats site doesn't look too healthy...

Posted by Simon Brunning at 09:32 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
Microsoft in the Independent

Microsoft is accused by UK firm of tapping into its secrets

Microsoft's unethical business practises don't usually get much of a mention in the mainstream UK media, so I was pleased to see this piece in my daily paper this morning.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 09:28 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
December 20, 2002
Do you want the good news, or the bad news?

News from the US IT job market - more jobs were created than were lost in the last quarter, but wage levels are down.

Will the UK follow? Wage levels are already pretty low here, but since I'm hoping to stay with my current employers anyhow, that isn't the end of the world.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 11:54 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
December 13, 2002
Why piracy doesn't matter

Piracy is Progressive Taxation, and Other Thoughts on the Evolution of Online Distribution, by Tim O'Reilly.

Via Aaron.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 12:48 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
December 12, 2002
IBM to buy Rational - or Microsoft?

Speculation about the possibility of IBM buying Rational software have been slopping around the blogsphere recently.

Now, according to Reuters, it seems that it's possible that Microsoft might be trying to outbid them.

What's more, the Borg might be looking to snap up Borland, too.

Now, I've never used anything by Rational, so I have no strong opinion about who owns them.

The Borland thing is a different kettle-of-fish, though. I can't see how it would be anything but a bad thing if Microsoft were to take over one of its few real rivals in the development tools market. One of the few real innovators, to boot.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 09:20 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)
December 10, 2002
Is the worst over?

According to UK IT jobs decline - worst over, it is. For permies, that is.

Fingers crossed - a lot of us are hanging on by our fingernails here.

Update Wednesday 11th December: News of an upturn in the States too.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 12:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
November 11, 2002
The Tech Gap

Tech Futures - Where workers and investors will find opportunities in the years ahead

A reason for optimism? Let's hope so! I'm damned glad to have a job at the moment - the job market is atrocious.

Via Techdirt.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 12:22 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)