Tales from the office

Project Manager: The customer is using a £500 Windows tablet. We have no idea how our software will run on it. Can we get one in to test on it?
Boss: No, that’s too expensive

Later that afternoon…

Boss: Ooh, look at this smartwatch for £150. They look fun. Let’s order one in.

our reaction when:
double-facepalm

Customer’s reaction when they realise we haven’t tested it:
obama-shrug

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Benefits

Last week George Osborne announced that the UK’s welfare spending was unsustainable.

Job Seeker’s Allowance costs the country about £5bn a year. Housing benefit costs £25bn, tax credits cost about £30bn, but the biggest drain by far is pensions, way out in front at about £95bn.

So, naturally, he’s going to cut pensions. After all, pensioners cost a huge amount of money and most of them think it’s their god given right to receive handouts while making a nuisance of themselves on public transport.

Oh wait, no, he’s not doing anything about pensions; instead he’s going to cut tax credits.

I think some poorer Tory voters who voted Tory to sort out the benefit scroungers are going to be surprised very soon when they find out that they themselves are the benefit scroungers who are about to be sorted out.

It’s a tricky one really because as a tax payer I don’t approve of tax credits; it means that low wages are subsidised by the state while the rewards are taken in privately by cheapskate employers. That’s just silly. On the other hand, if you just stop tax credits then the main impact that has is a lot of people who don’t have enough money suddenly have even less, and that will reduce their spending, and that will damage the economy as a whole. Also, I don’t believe that it will force any noticeable upward pressure on wages, because an income of £12k beats an income of £0.

Unfortunately the Conservatives are ideologically driven rather than results driven, so when they say they want to reduce reliance on benefits, what they really mean is they want low taxes and low spending. If that happens to work to anyone’s advantage but their own then that is a nice coincidence, but it is not their main aim.

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Running and stuff

It’s taken me a while now but I’m back up to running twice a week consistently, just in time for British summer humidity.

The dull metatarsalgia has pretty much evaporated. It’s not 100% gone and I still get a bit of sensitivity in my heels (PF probably) which reminds me that there’s room for improvement, but it’s not affecting me any more. I attribute this firstly to going back to neutral shoes, and secondly to being strict about calf stretching multiple times a day, especially after running.

I am still getting some twinges in the Morton’s Neuroma area about 24 hours after running. In isolation these are irrelevant, but I’m pretty sure there is a neuroma there and I wonder if with consistent running it will start getting worse. I’m taking a what will be will be approach with this; months of low and no mileage after it appeared made no difference to it so I might as well carry on and if I end up needing steroid injections and or surgery, then, ok, it’s not like I’m the first runner to get a neuroma.

I’m supposed to have received an appointment for a foot clinic which should at least give me a diagnosis on the possible neuroma, but that was five weeks ago and I’m still yet to hear anything. At the moment it’s not bothering me enough to chase that up…

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Labour leadership candidates

Andy Burnham: I can’t see Burnham faring much better than Ed Miliband. He doesn’t have a strange voice (the scouse accent doesn’t count) or crazy eyes, but he’s also extremely boring and unlikely to commit to anything resembling a position.

Yvette Cooper: Needs several trolleys to carry around all her baggage. Like Andy Burnham, she’s basically a nobody who’s happened to stick around for a while.

Liz Kendall: I think she has the best chance of winning simply by not being any of the other three. I think she’s modelled her approach very carefully on Tony Blair because she correctly recognises Blair as the most successful politician of recent times, but if you watch early videos of Blair, he came across as very genuine and very thoughtful, whereas Kendall comes across as someone trying to guess what people want her to say. I think she has more potential than Cooper or Burnham as she is much earlier in her political career and could polish herself up quite quickly, but she’s nowhere near fulfilling that potential yet.

Jeremy Corbyn: Corbyn is the one to watch just because unlike the other three he doesn’t expect to win, so he might actually say something interesting.

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Snowden

The Sunday Times yesterday reported that British spies were placed in danger by the Edward Snowden leaks and had to be moved for their own safety. This was parroted by BBC news.

Today sceptical journalists have largely debunked the story, and the original journalist gave an astonishing interview on CNN where he admitted there was no evidence whatsoever, he was just repeating what the government had told him.

Nobody expects Murdoch press to publish facts, but we have a big problem when BBC News, a state funded media organisation, is regurgitating government propaganda. The BBC has a problem in that in order to avoid appearing biased they avoid doing much investigation and analysis, and this leads to them being gamed like this.

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Rail strikes

Oh, there’s no trains. WHAT A NOVELTY. WHAT WILL I DO. PROBABLY THE SAME THING I DO EVERY TIME THERE’S NO TRAINS.

In all seriousness, I support their right to strike. National Rail takes huge amounts of money from me to provide a substandard service, the least they can do is pay their workers. It’s all very well saying “inflation is 0%, why should they get a pay rise?”. They should get a pay rise because they have another year’s experience and should therefore be more valuable to their employer, and inflation isn’t zero if the bulk of your outgoings is in something not measured by inflation which inflates at around 4% a year, like rent.

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Metatarsalgia #11

Last Friday I went back to the doctors about my foot and have now been referred to a specialist, whatever that involves and when it will be I don’t know yet.

It seems to be hurting on average much less than it was in, say, February. It’s still uncomfortable at times so it’s easy to feel like it’s been going on since October with no real progress, but I do lots of things now and think “this used to hurt”. I’m still on only one run per week though, which is a bit frustrating, and walking in general can still be uncomfortable.

I feel like I’m under-pronating much less than before and my foot in general feels much happier flattening out, but there is still more work to do there. As soon as I hit rough ground it reverts back to being rigid, so running on grass is counter-intuitively a bit tough.

Unfortunately the sharp pain when I go onto my tip toes seems to be completely unchanged, despite months of literally avoiding aggravating it even a tiny bit. It’s a very sharp, localised pain that feels like a needle is being stuck into my foot. I suspect this is a Morton’s neuroma and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get better on its own, which is bad news because it doesn’t appear that modern medicine has figured out how to treat it reliably. Even cutting the nerve out doesn’t seem to always work. I will definitely mention this to the specialist, although the symptoms are practical to avoid for now, but I do wonder if my subconscious reluctance to go onto my tip toes is affecting my gait.

Overall: very slow progress, but on the plus side my CS:GO skills are going through the roof.

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