Tag Archives: Rant

Words that annoy me: 'Professionalism'

The key to consulting is calm confidence and p...
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By the Gawds, I really fucking hate this word. I see it used around all my work as a goddamn bludgeon against all things the speaker does not approve of.

Don’t wear the correct kind of clothes? It’s not professional.

Don’t have the correct desktop background? It’s not progessional.

Laugh out too loudly? Desk too cluttered? Not correct combination of colours? Not goddamn professional.

It’s the new ‘Decent’. It is so vague in use that everyone finds it a perfect excuse to judge and get others to change habits they do not approve of. This is marginally tolerable from co-workers who you can either ignore or explain that being efficient has much more to do with being a professional than all the rest of the “peripherals” but lo and behold when a manager mentions it. Then your only option is to shut up and take it.

How can you talk back to your manager? What can you argue? That his subjective understanding of what constitutes professionalism is wrong? Get ready to look for another job (a manager who feels the need to talk about professionalism is unlikely to be the laid-back type who tolerates his employees talking back at him). And you can’t ignore it either as that’s simply undermining his authority.

The way I see it,  when anyone (especially your boss) starts demanding ‘Professionalism’, they basically don’t like something about you and can’t reasonably argue why. They simply fall back to vague business speak and back it up with hierarchical authority to enforce it.

And this is what makes it for me such a despicable word. It doesn’t help either that Business-oriented Magazines use their imagery and marketing to present an image of the pristine, sterile business look of suits and ties and fake smiles. Then all the managers try to imitate this and we end up with demands for “professionalism”, which of course feeds directly the pockets of those being advertised in such magazines. Business attire clothing companies and other sources of company sterility.

I wonder if we’ll ever escape the clutches of herd-mentality, status-oriented culture and focus on having fun when working rather than following obsolete nonsense which originated from puritan practices of sex-starved protestants with a mission from Gawd to make everyone as miserable as they were.

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How I spent my afternoon yesterday.

So I get home from work yesterday and get on Reddit…

.

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Dragon Age FFFUUU

Yes, this really happened to me yesterday exactly as you see it.

Other fun facts

  • I got the VPN yesterday in an attempt to allow myself to buy the goddamn game. Legally. That was a wasted 40 Euros of course but hopefully I’ll be able to use it to watch restricted content. Or you know, maybe not.
  • I didn’t download the whole game at 300Kb/s fortunately. I watched a movie for the first 2 hours which allowed the 1.2 Mb/s to continue. However when the movie finished I tried to surf the net while the last 5% where downloading. Then my speed dropped to 300Kb/s and never got over it, thus making the last 8 minutes into 30.
  • Yes, my PC did really die within 5 minutes of downloading the game. It was the PSU which gave up the ghost. Hopefully nothing else has been affected from it.
  • Of course EA screwed me over by charging the same amount in Euros as they charge in Dollars. Exchange rates be damned.
  • I’ve only managed to see the intro screen of Dragon Age and the first few stages of character creation.

And then people ask why Piracy is the better choice…

Interoperability my arse!

Windows XP Running On Linux
Image by paradoxperfect via Flickr

Roy says it best about the new Windows 7 installation. Once more, for all their rhetoric, Microsoft’s actions show yet again that they don’t care about interoperability or playing nice with anyone else. All they care is maintaining their desktop monopoly and part of that tactic is not making it easy at all to setup a dual boot setup.

While in 2001, when XP came out the excuse “Only hardcore geeks use GNU/Linux so why should MS even consider them” might have had some basis, 8 years later, when desktop GNU/Linux is more than viable through distros like Ubuntu and where it is quite likely that people might consider trying this other OS while wanting to keep the Windows option open, it fails to convince.

This is nothing other than the same ol’ spiteful, monopolistic tactics on behalf of MS. This capability, to install multiple OS’ without screwing up each other has existed for ages so it’s obviously not rocket science. As such, MS’ refusal to implement it can be nothing but deliberate.

And if that’s not enough, we now have GNU/Linux users defending such actions! So now, among the atheist appeasers, Women “feminist” appeasers we have to add GNU/Linux appeasers as well. If Microsoft apologists were not enough. Of course, that there are those who would sell-out to MS in order to get ahead in the marketplace is nothing new, but plain users? Those who are the ones getting the most annoyance out of such tactics? Why do they feel the need to apologise  for MS?!

Here’s some of the classic excuses (and my counter) you’ll see on why this isn’t really a problem, move along, nothing to see here:

GNU/Linux users are a small minority. Most desktops will be Windows only so why should MS even implement a dual-boot consideration?

Because even though GNU/Linux is small, it is also showing accelerating growth and even a small percentage of desktop users, when seen on a global scale means quite a few million people. People who will all be inconvenienced when they need to upgrade their installation or repair/reinstall it when it will (eventually) break down.

Because MS has been blabbing about “interoperability” for the last few years and they need to be called on their bullshit at some point. Their rhetoric has never been honest and their actions prove it again and again.

They didn’t really make it hard to install Windows 7. It could have been far worse.

Gee thanks…

Should  we be thankful that Microsoft doesn’t go out of their way to prevent GNU/Linux installations now? Should we praise MS for not making our task more difficult than it already is? What kind of fucking stupid slave-mentality is this? “Golly thanks for using lube while screwing me in the ass, sir!”

And you know what? They did make it harder than Windows XP. Slightly so but nevertheless true.

You don’t stop criticizing someone when they act less evil than they could have been. You stop criticizing people and corporations when they stop being evil.

Pfah!

All you need to do is hack #1, #2 and #3.

Which is obviously something all people who’d like to try out the system can do right? No, of course not. And MS knows this and they know it will further reinforce the perception that GNU/Linux is only for hardcore geeks. You know what the regular user will say when you mention hacking the goddamn boot loader? “Huh wut? No thanks”. Which will mean that it will always require a power user (and perhaps more than that) to simply set it up (and then again and again when Windows invariably breaks down and requires reinstallation).

Compared to the possible scenario where Windows acted like an OS of its generation and recognised that “hey, there are other OS’ out there, perhaps we should be considerate to those of our users who might be dual-booting”, and have Windows autorecognise the MBR is taken, and provide sensible options on how to work with it that a simple user can follow, you know, like GNU/Linux has been doing for what, 8 years now?

Of course it is better to make it seem as if only IT nerds can setup and maintain a GNU/Linux installation alongside Windows 7, even when they difficulty has nothing to do with GNU/Linux and everything to do with MS’ refusal to play fair. Thus they can keep their ignorant audience locked in and happily continue spreading their FUD, only they have some appeasers from the GNU/Linux camp on their side as well who will make their point for them by saying stuff like “Oh it’s easy. Just reinstall Grub and then hack the bootloader“.

Other OS’ and even some particular GNU/Linux distros are worse than that.

A Tu Quoque is a logical fallacy. If other OS’ are doing even worse, then they are worthy of even heavier condemnation. And about those GNU/Linux distros that do it (see Moblin, IPCop etc), you do know they are meant for a single OS installation right? You do know that Moblin is for netbooks which are unlikely to have a dual-boot while IpCop is a firewall right? Don’t you think it’s just a tad intellectually dishonest to bring those up as examples of such faults?

You wouldn’t would you?

So while there can be other who can be just as bad, if not worse than MS, this does not constitute an excuse of any kind, especially since they hold most of the desktop market and their actions are clearly deliberate. And if Free Software OS’ are doing this without having a reason to do so, then you can always change it by contributing or even convincing the developers of the errors of their ways.

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SeaSteading or how rich guys want even more freedom and privilege

I am annoyed. I get annoyed when I read shit like this, telling us how some rich white guys are not happy enough with their (really well-off) lot in life, and just need some way to escape all their (multi-million) misery by founding their own nation of absolute freedom.

What a load of dicks!

When we have a world that is fast going down the drain, with millions of children starving every year, with hudreds of millions of workers surviving in subsistence wage and 16-hour workdays, with all the shit that is happening around us, creating untold misery and suffering, these amazingly lucky and  privileged people can only think of how to make their life even better.

Fuck the rest of us. It’s not like their wealth had anything to do with the rest of society. It was all created from the sweat of their brows.  So they have every right to take their ball and go (make a new) home.

For someone like me, who would like to see everyone in the world be better off, this kind of attitude makes me want to punch some rich geeks in the face. It makes me ashamed to even be in the same sector as them.

As always however it shows us that the ones who really support this bullshit ideology are the minority of lucky people who are quite better off than the vast majority of humanity and are quite happy to never help the rest. What else can you expect from shameless individualism of course. This is why the classic attempts they make are always escapist. From building new land they can use, to floating cities to taking over states.

But there’s also one more thing that bugs me about this Seasteading which goes back to the Libertarian right core concept of Homesteading that is necessary to avoid moral implications for their accumulation of wealth. The idea that one has the right to claim any territory that is not already claimed by anyone else. Can someone explain to me from where this right comes from and why I should accept it?

Anyway, I just needed to rant a bit after reading on how the rich feel so oppressed that they have to throw parties on floating restaurants to discuss how to escape their tragedy. And then they go for a fucking kayak trip.

WordPress.com > Blogger

Can someone please explain to my why people are still creating blogs on blogger when they can use WordPress.com?

I mean, seriously, not only is the feature superiority of the later platform staggering but, after having to use blogger for the last few days now (mostly as a commenter), I can honestly attest, that it’s a pain it the buttocks!

Let me just list…

The things I’ve grown to hate in blogger

The list, looking back at it, is quite large. I’m surprised how someone who is funded by the bottomless pockets of the likes of Google can just be so bad at innovating and usage.

No trackback features

The only way you can see who is linking to you through blogger is to wait until google crawls through the site in question and discovers the link and then creates a “backlink”. If that site happens to be pretty obscure, then good luck.

Also blogger will not send a trackback or pingback to your own blog. I don’t know how many times I’ve been linked from blogger sites and I only discovered it when I checked my incoming links in my dashboard.

On the other side, wp.com not only handles trackbacks appropriately, placing them in the comment field at the time they were written with a small excerpt of the are around the link, but it also does not need you to manually specify trackback urls in your configuration. It will just send a pingback to any link you have automatically.

Comment handling

This is my biggest annoyance to tell you the truth.

  • You are always redirected to another template in order to comment. Why they cannot just place the comment field below the entry, I do not know, but it’s horribly annoying. That damn template is so thin that I always have to scroll down 10 times to find what I want to reply to
  • The captcha sux donkey balls. Not only are the letters ridiculously hard to read sometimes but apparently It will randomly deny the authentication.
  • If your authentication is denied, then you have to decipher the next letters. Also, you cannot preview without correct captcha inserted.
  • At random times, my OpenID will not be accepted (even though it’s always the same). When that happens, I have to re-enter the damn captcha always.
  • No quoting mechanism or tags. I mean, seriously, how fucking difficult is it to allow the blockquote tag which has been defined in HTML for ages now? As a result, everyone just uses their own damn quoting style which is annoying as you have to figure out how each commented decided to quote today.
    Granted, people use their own quoting style in WordPress comment fields as well but I can then blame it on their own ignorance/incapability to read and I’m hoping that an eventual upgrade will allow TinyMCE editing.
  • I’ll grant that blogger provides a preview feature which is useful but the rest of the comment annoyances just bury it.
  • After you submit a comment, your permalink is some crappy blogger code which you cannot use to link to (if you want). In order to link to your comment (or use it in some other way), you need to go back to the original post and click on the date of your comment below your name.

Templates

80% of all blogger templates suck. They suck so hard it’s difficult to explain their suckiness.

  • Fixed Width at 640 pixels or whatever which leads me to have 50% of my monitor empty with a tiny column of text in the middle.
  • No avatar support. On the other hand, WordPress.com just added support for avatar collections and gravatars. This just make it more easy to tell the commenters apart.

They only thing saving the template issue of blogger is that they can be hacked, while you can’t do that in WordPress.com unless you pay. However,  most people who like to hack are more likely to host their own WordPress sites. Also, the widgets of WordPress provide a much easier way to add banners and other random stuff to your sidebar instead of editing raw html.

Admin

WordPress.com provides you with a dashboard with many useful features like statistics, overview of your comments in all of wordpress.com, tag management etc. Blogger has, frankly, jack shit.

Community

The only community issue that blogger has is the top navbar which allows you to jump to another random blog. Not very useful

WordPress.com has the exellent possibly related posts feature, the classic navbar, tag surfer and tag subscription. If you want to find related stuff in the blogosphere, it is much easier. Also, by supporting trackbacks correctly, you actually see who is linking back at you immediately and it can actually act as a comment (as is the point of trackbacks).

They’ve already included a way to track your self-hosted wordpress blog through wordpress.com so I’m eagerly waiting for the plugins that will allow me to become a member of the wordpress.com community as well.

Btw, the profile setup of blogger leaves a lot to be desired for.

Features

Not only does wordpress.com seriously out-gun blogger in turns of features, it also has the extra benefit or being free software. That means that the quality of the service not only increases but that speed accelerating with the more people that join. What this means is that the rate that new cool features are being introduced increases exponentially.

On the other hand, blogger finally managed to allow scheduled posts just this month. A feature that has been standard for ages everywhere else.

Also, the fact that WordPress.com is open sourced means that, if for some reason, you wish to leave, you not only have the option of hosting it yourself (since the administration is identical) but you can bet that you can easily find alternatives as well that may fit your needs better.

Finally, I mentioned that wordpress.com is based on free software. This makes it superior ethically as well. While if you pay for features in blogger, you just hand more money to the ultra rich google, by supporting wordpress.com, you are paying the developers who in turn can use their time to provide a software that anyone can use.

So what are you waiting? Just give it a go and see if it works. It’s as painless as it gets.

You’re not certain how to do it? Let me give a hand:

How to migrate your blogger site to wordpress.com

Feel free to link to this section

  1. Create a new wordpress.com account and blog
  2. Go to Manage -> Import
  3. Import from blogger
  4. Admire how much better it looks.

If you have an already established user base, in order to avoid losing the users who read you through feed or bookmarked you you can do the following:

Feed

  1. Create a feedburner account and a feed for your blog (just follow the instructions)
  2. Redirect your blogger feed to the feedburner feed. This can be done though your Blogger Dashboard -> Settings -> Feed. In all honesty, If you have not done this already you’re missing out.
  3. Once all your users have moved to the new feed, perform the migration to wordpress.com and then edit your feedburner feed so as to draw the wordpress.com one instead of blogger.
  4. Done and none’s the wiser

Ninja Site redirection

This is just a way I thought off the top of my head. Unfortunately you might have to crack open your wallet for it to work. If anyone has a better idea, lemme know.

  1. Pay blogger to allow you to use your own domain name.
  2. Wait until everyone has updated their bookmarks.
  3. Migrate to wordpress.com
  4. Pay wordpress to allow you to use your own domain name.
  5. Redirect the domain name from blogger to wordpress.com
  6. Done and none’s the wiser

Alternatively, just make a final post and inform people to visit and bookmark the new site, you cheap bastard.

New bloggers

Why are you even using blogger anyway? If you’re reading this you should have deleted you blogger already and preparing a trackback from your new wordpress.com or baywords blog to tell me how right I was.

As new users, you have nothing to lose and, hopefully I’ve convinced you, a lot to gain.

Now, Git! Save me from having to use the crappy blogger comments again.

My first Cease and Desist notice

So today I got an interesting email. It came from the legal department of a previous company I worked for (which wherewith will remain anonymous and called “the company”). Inside, in firm legal speech, I was informed that I was breaking Greek and international laws concerning anonymous enterprises and privacy. Therefore, I was ordered to remove all references to the company within 24 hours as well as any mention of software/hardware or people involved in a employee relationship with the company.

They also reserve the right to see on receiving damages resulting from the content of my site

My initial reaction was: WTF!!?

My surprise was mostly due to the fact that other than the company name (in a tag related to the post) and various generic information, such as a mentioning the operating system when I run into a computer problem, or mentioning the classic Greek ERP system when advertising the requirements of an IT position they were trying to fill (FFS! I even did that for free), I did not mention any names (specifically, I did not mention any names in a libelous fashion, but only in positive ways) and nor any other identification data.

Seriously, my worst post must have been one where I mentioned a christmas party and how boring it was. Or some random tech quotes (that every tech has) that had only my name on them. Oh and some pictures.

My impression is that apparently someone at the company saw some of my not-so-positive posts and recognized themselves in the anonymous mention, then got quite angry/insulted/whatever. Failing the option to fire me, they decided to bully me around.

So now I am pissed.

I have privatized my posts about them (even though, I really shouldn’t) until I know how much danger I am in. I know that Greece is notoriously behind in electronic rights (as exemplified by the Tsipropoulos case) and they may side with the company just because they don’t know what the hell is going on, but I want to think that International or European rights are a bit more advanced. But I just don’t know.

So I’m turning to you, my readers (yeah right I hear you say?). I want to ask any of you, especially those of you with legal background and especially in Greece, if I should worry or not and if the following are considered intellectual property or libel.

  • Mentioning the name of the company I used to work for and my position there.
  • Mentioning specifics of the company (such as saying that they were using such and such OS, or this program or whatnot). Not that I did before, but I’d like to know…
  • Pictures of me and other company stuff in events
  • Mentioning of Operating system used in an event (such as when creating a guide on how I fixed a computer). Can I say something like: “So when the Vista pc died, I had to replace the harddisk and reinstall SAP”. Can they actually consider this intellectual property?
  • Can I mention doing unpaid overtime? Am I allowed to complain about my treatment? Can I mention my salary? How about salaries of other people that used to work in there? What does the law allow me?
  • Can I rant on the incompetence of users without mentioning names. Does the fact that they work in the company make my rant a libel?
  • Can I mention the incompetence of management?
  • If I do not mention IP address’ or specific dns/netbios names, is it a violation of the company’s IP or security to mention a router or other piece of hardware vaguely? (i.e. “The router at Tsimiski”)

So I would really appreciate anyone’s advice on this, as it came out of nowhere and caught me unprepared. I do not like to be bullied and this kind stuff really gets me angry. Before I did not care about the company, hell, I even went beyond the call of duty too many times with them but this is preposterous and I would like to fight back.

Thanks!

Το κέρατο μου το τράγιο

Γαμώτω πως να μην τσαντιστώ απίστευτα τώρα.

Σήμερα αναγκάστηκα να κλείσω το unofficial information dump που είχα στήσει για την ECB όταν ένα email που έστειλα ξαφνικά βρέθηκε στα χέρια ενώς manager (Συγκεκριμένα, της Marjut ) η οποία έστειλε ένα μήνυμα στο Mike για να το κατεβάσω γιατί φρίκαρε οτι θα το έβλεπε όλως ο κόσμος. Αυτό με κάποιο τρόπο έφτασε στα χέρια του HansJacob ο οποίος κάλεσε τους Team Leaders (Mike & Scott) για να τους ρωτήσει τι εστί βερύκοκο. Μετά απο αυτό ο Mike ήρθε και μου είπε οτι καλύτερα είναι να το ξηλώσω όλο γιατί δεν ξέρει ακριβώς τι θα συμβεί και ο HJ θέλει μια λίστα απο τις σελίδες που είχα ανεβάσει για να δουν τι ρίσκο υπήρχε.

Φυσικά και δεν υπήρχε ρίσκο μιάς και δεν είχα ανεβάσει ούτε μισό κωδικό αλλά άντε να τους το εξηγήσεις αυτό.

Κατέβασα την σελίδα. Έκλεισα το domain και άλλαξα τοπόθεσία στον κεντρικό φάκελο για να είμαι σίγουρος. Η ψυχή μου πήγε στην κούλουρη αλλά ευτυχώς ο HJ φάνηκε να μην έχει πρόβλημα με αυτά που είχα ανεβάσει και μάλλον το θέμα πέθανε εκεί.

Ελπίζω να μην ξαναβγεί σαν ζόμπι για να με κυνηγήσει…

Αλλά γαμώ το κέρατο μου το τράγιο, ποιο αρχιδάκι σκέφτηκε οτί θα ήταν καλή ιδέα να το στείλει στο Management…Ο απίστευτος ηλίθιος ο Kiefer…τι να πω…

Είχε και το ειρωνικό σχόλιο “Ummm…Marval KB?”

Αρχίδι!

Θύματα

Μπράβο για ακόμη μια φορά θύματα, κορόϊδα έλληνες (με μικρό “ε”). Καταφέρατε να ξαναγβάλετε κυβέρνηση αυτούς που μέσα σε 3 χρόνια σας πήγανε 20 πίσω (δηλαδή τώρα πια, μετά τα 20 πίσω του ΠΑΣΟΚ, ζείτε στο 1967. Άλλη μια τέτοια ωραία, μαζί με τα φασισταριά του Καρατζαφέρη, και θα έχετε την Χούντα που τόσο φαίνεται να πωθείτε)

Πολύ χαίρομαι που δεν ζω πια μαζί σας ξεφτιλισμένοι κακομοίρηδες γιατί θα έκλαιγα την μοίρα μου να έχω συμπολίτες που είναι πολύ χαρούμενοι να καταστρέψουν ότι κερδίθηκε με κόπο από τους προηγούμενους ώστε να μπορέσει το παιδάκι τους να έχει καμία συμβασούλα (του κώλου).

Εύγε, και εις ανώτερα! Του χρόνου και με καθόλου δέντρα…

Και μετά ξέρετε ε…ΠΑΣΟΚ! Γιατί σε 4 χρόνια…ποιός θυμάται τι καφρίλες έκαναν εκείνοι πριν απο 7. Σίγουρα καλύτερα θα είναι απο τους ΝΔίτες ε;

Mobaaargh

Damn sonnova…my [tag]mobile[/tag] b0rked last night. I noticed as I was to set up my alarm. The screen just went completely white and although the OS behind it seems to be working, I cannot see anything. I have no idea hat caused it but I took it to the T-Punkt and they say that they need to send it back and give me a replacement. Which means that I will lose all my settings. 🙁

Just a heads up to anyone who might be trying to contact me. Until I put my sim in a different mobile, I won’t be able to receive sms (I may lose some as well). Hopefully I’ll be able to backup the contacts through the data cable but there is a chance I’ll lose all telephones 🙁

Damn luck…

…that I had – UPDATE @ 9:00pm – As I was looking desperately for the mobile’s install CD I turned it on and lo and behold! It works!

Wo0oo0o0hooo!