Mostly Bollogs, I'm afraid

But occasionally, a glimmer of truth.
If you find one, please let me know.

Friday 19 March 2010


Leg Iron has a rather good post today (or was it last night?) in which he puts forward the case against socialism. I agree with him. Normally when I start going off on one about such things people manage to compare me to A. Hitler, so I don't do it too much any more.

I'm not sure I'd say socialism in itself won't work - I think a degree of it is fine, but once you get to the thick end, which is what we're treated to by Blairowndelson, it is insidious and will not work in a million years. However, what it managed to do was to bestow unimaginable prospects on a great many people and thus generate the Blairowndelson Party lots and lots of votes. And lots of votes they had, twice. Sadly, this isn't sustainable, as anyone with an IQ on the scale of Leg Iron's (I'm not going to say what mine is, because I'm too embarrassed) would have guessed before the start of the fiasco.

Anyway, that's all done, and plain to see. And Leg Iron's done this one miles better than I would have done.

But I leaked in a post on Obo's blog that today, I'd be blogging about technology. Wish I hadn't done, I don't know what to write now.

Ah, yes. I often wonder, being an old fart, when the world I use to know started to become the world I knew no more. I remember, very clearly, the times from when I must have been around six or seven when I walked to the shop next to an open borstal to get my dad half an ounce of Old Holborn and a packet of green papers, to the times when I used to play on building sites with my brother (who is still a cunt), and we used to build rafts out of pallets and sail them across huge gravel pits full of water and try to tip each other off his raft (my brother still can't swim), to the times when me and my mate blew up the air raid shelters at school, to that glorious day when I found that I'd failed all my 'A' levels. Quality job.

In today's world, I would certainly not have done, or been able to do, any of those things. I couldn't fail an 'A' level now if I tried - trust me, I've seen the papers.

So I got a job, because my old man told me that that was one of the choices. The other was to fuck off.

And I got a job working with computers. There weren't many of them at that time, and the one on which I worked is now in the science museum. Really and truly, go and see it, it's worth it.

What follows is what happened as I remember it. And it's real. Forget anything else you've read, but bear in mind that I am English and for the most part worked in England, so the American perspective will be missing. What the government did while this was going on is in italics, so you can skip the most boring bits. It's worth reading if you like tits.

Shortly after I started, these computers became more and more prevalent. They became smaller and smaller. They became cheaper and cheaper.

When I started, and this wasn't when they were driven by steam, these machines were meant to be able to add up and take away faster and more accurately than people. This was a Good Thing, because the people were expensive, inaccurate and slow.

I must make the point here that the computers were not meant to take away the jobs of the people involved. Those people at the time were drones. Jobs for them were still there, but were more interesting, and generally those people were happier. Someone will argue with this, hopefully, but that someone will be too young to remember and will be spouting a socialist mantra.

The government had some of these computers. Not many, because there just weren't many. They used them for the right reasons, to do things faster and more accurately. And more cheaply. But they were crap at £:s/d, so we went decimal.

This continued for a short while, then a company called IBM started making minicomputers. In today's terms, these were huge, but compared to their forerunners they were tiny. They had integrated circuits (chips) in them, instead of transistors and ferrite cores. And more people could afford them, and so more companies used them.

The government had some of these computers. Not that many, because there still weren't that many. They used them for the right reasons, to do things faster and more accurately. And more cheaply.

Soon, a chap called Clive Sinclair, who was actually quite a bright guy but one who did some daft things like inventing the black watch and the C5, made a thing called a ZX80. It was pretty useless. I bought one or, rather, swapped one for my drawing board. Biggest mistake I made since I sold my bassoon to buy a Puch Maxi moped. The ZX80 had a horrible BASIC interpreter and you could connect it to a tape deck and download programs on to it. They took forever and usually didn't work either. Cunning people in garages wrote games for these machines, such as Space Invaders. They were shit and you were better off going and playing it on a pub table machine. Or just having a beer instead.

The government, to my knowledge, had none of these computers. That is mainly because they were shit.

As the years went on, companies produced smaller and smaller and cheaper and cheaper computers. ICL (before it was Fujitsu) brought in one called the DRS, the Distributed Resource System. Cock, but a nice colour. Lots of companies bought these, because they were cheap, and there was some software available to run on them which was a bonus. Instead of just sitting them in a corner, you could actually do useful work. At this point, companies began to realise that you could buy a computer and use it to do the jobs of people. There was sadly nothing left for the people to do, so they were made redundant or just not replaced.

The government, and local government too, bought shedloads of these computers. This was mainly because ICL was a British company and the councils were therefore instructed to do so. The rot set in about here, I think. Council tax was all done on these things, and letters went through people's doors with a demand for £0.00.

Not long after that, and in parallel, IBM, or Big Blue, invented (or rather developed) the PC. The PC was, and still is, a Personal Computer. It had a screen and a keyboard, and a big metal box with a processor in it. I seem to remember that most, if not all of them were driven by processors made by Motorola. That might be complete cock, but I don't believe so. On the home side, the BBC brought out a Model B. Too little, too late, but it had a wicked game of Elite.

The government, local government, everybody with a taxi firm and most window cleaners bought one of these. They took a week to load and crashed every five minutes, so they saw that it was good.

ICL, not to be outdone, copied it. Apple, on the other hand, were a bit slippery and improved it. While IBM and ICL were struggling with an operating system called DOS, Apple were making a thing called Macintosh. It had a mouse. Apple were a bit short-staffed, so they enlisted the service of a chap called Bill Gates who, in his garage, undertook a bit of work for them (this is where I get sued). While he was doing this work, he ripped off the clever bits, the bits that made these McPC's do things which looked "cool", as in a bit graphical, and worked with the mousey thing. He then created an operating system called Windows. It was shit. It is still shit, but is now a whole new crock of shit.

The government abandoned the old PCs and replaced them with this new crock. And Apples. And because the government isn't allowed to get rid of people in huge numbers, they just invented job titles and gave them to the people who used to do the jobs that were now redundant. So the people carried on, and kept calm, and spent a lot of the time in the pub.

Because these PCs were now so prevalent, a number of companies sprung up to develop more and more complex chips to drive the things. Motorola were pretty much shafted by Intel and the lesser-known competitors such as AMI, so they made a thing called a mobile phone instead.

The government saw the potential for the mobile phone so sold licences to the highest bidders to provide the services. Meanwhile they continued buying PCs and giving people stupid job titles.

Finally came the internet. With the internet it was no longer necessary for people to buy porn, they could just download it. Here is a gratuitous example of porn, to try to make the blog more attractive:

I wonder if the readership will top 100 today?

Now the computer was so well-established, industry and commerce were going for it in a big way. They employed IT specialists by the zillion. They saw opportunities in finance, insurance, manufacturing, even the arts, to utilise this stuff.

Because of the humble PC with its low price tag and constantly-improving performance and reliability (ROFL), new markets emerged. Many were a Good Thing. Many more were bad.

And a whole new sector was born. Service. IT service. A heap of suits who know little more, and often less, than the person to whom they were providing the service.

Most people who have a PC on their desks use it hideously inefficiently.

The government have zillions of computers. I would suggest that every single desk in government has a PC on it, if not more than one. I would suggest that for every half-dozen or so of these, there is someone employed in their support operation. I would suggest that the people who use these things would be better off looking out of the window, if they don't already, and use their brains instead of typing away.

And that, so far as I can see, is where it has collapsed into a steaming pile of irredeemable cack.

I admit that I am one of these IT people. More accurately, I am an engineer. A software engineer. A heap of thes PCs, admittedly quite big ones, run this huge plant by which I am surrounded. It is a 3 Megawatt production plant, which makes stuff, very efficiently. Sometimes I feel a bit like Homer Simpson, a twat surrounded by a heap of very clever stuff, press the wrong button and I could seriously make a hell of a mess. So I try not to.

The government have huge IT projects. You will have heard of many of them, such as the NHS database. You will not have heard of many of them, because they are secret. I have worked on some of them and I can't say what they are because of the OSA, and the men in black suits. Suffice to say all bar one of them have been complete shit, and the exception was pretty shit, and very expensive shit at that. The government waste massive amounts of money developing these systems, and they usually don't work properly, if at all. This is partly the fault of the government in that it will only deal with a very few suppliers, who are large and inefficient and not particularly good either, and in that the government can never agree exactly what the system is meant to do.

Jack Straw famously said quite recently (and I'm not going to bother looking up the exact words) that IT people should be forced to speak in plain English so that people can understand them. That makes him a cunt, because people in IT communicate the way they do because otherwise it would take all day to convey what they are trying to say. I suspect that Jack Straw, and the rest of them, should try to find a way forward out of the current financial and economic and hapless health-and-safety-nanny-state mess into which they've got us, rather than looking for a use for all this technology that they probably shouldn't have wasted your money on in the first place.

[lady blogreaders - if you'd rather I didn't put the pictures in let me know. I'm trying to get my readership up!]


Cold Steel Rain said...

I had a Military PC once. I say had, because in a moment of unremitting fury in 1991 I dragged it from it's armoured plate and put at least 12 rounds into the bastard.

Your blog today has reminded me of that happy moment. Thanks old chap!

watching said...

Bravo Marvo.
This is the second post I've read today which I will be showing my kids. The other one being LI's take on socialism.

There is more education in blog posts than text books these days which of course are nothing of the sort.
CGP 'educational books' are made just up the coast from me by some rich twat who has single handedly dumbed down primary and secondary education with his chippy little cartoon characters and clip art far more successfully than any Liebore education minister has.

Many thanks.

Uncle Marvo said...

Pleasure. Sure the kids will enjoy the picture and the description of my brother (which is true, BTW).

Do take them to the science museum. Must take mine there!

I am Stan said...

Yo Unc`s,

Computers were supposed to make life easier were they not,I`m not sure it`s worked out that way,everything has to be done ten times faster now and there is no escape,emails,mobile`s....

Love the piccy!


watching said...

Science museum is 350 miles away from me so we'll see. Off to the beach later. Blowing a gale and threatening rain but it will be almost empty of the cretins who think the incoming tide will take their dogs doings out to sea for disposal by marine microbes so we will have it to ourselves.

My wife and I have never shielded our children from anything. No locks on cupboards, no keeping stuff out of their reach, no nannying on the web and we even have an open fire so they know that fire can and does burn if it isn't respected.

My wife works in a local primary where she is called a cunt by kids as young as six. My two both went to that primary to they are well used to such language. Funny thing is they don't use it at home which of course the righteous would never believe.
They don't do drugs, drink, smoke, own mobile phones or do anything that the socialist twats say they will do just because their mates do. We haven't told them not to do any of these things they have decided for themselves that they don't want to do any of them or have a mobile phone stuck permanently to their lug hole.
We are not saints but we do believe that a parents role is to guide, educate and protect not mollycoddle and ensure compliance with state diktat.

Youngest one is being homeschooled as well. Wish we had the sense to do the same for the older one but hey ho. Hindsight's a wonderful thing.

As for the lovely young lady well how can anybody be offended by such an image?
Especially two teenage boys!


The Filthy Engineer said...


If you visit the Science Museum you'll see the first marine Engine I ever worked on.

They were like the first computers in The marine Enginnering world. An open crankcase triple cylinder steam engine.

Hope I've got your stats up a bit marvo

hunkofjunk said...

well, that looks like a big thumbs up for the picture then!

watching said...

Filthy E
In an earlier incarnation I was a marine plumber in a bloody big shipyard and had the pleasure of standing in HMS Invincible's engine rooms.
If memory serves there was a pair huge dirty oil burners for chugging around, an enormous gearbox, the size of three terraced houses and a set of six gas turbines all lined up neatly with two more as spares hanging from the ceiling.

I wasn't on the trials of this great ship where she is alleged to have hit 38 knots and turned tighter than the type 45 destroyers!

They apparently did a quick exit from port using just the turbines and the lads on board likened it to being on a giant speed boat. They shit themselves as it was a genuine emergency exit from port test so the Navy never told anyone on board what was happening.

I also recall watching a bit of a program on the last Atlantic crossing undertaken by the QE2 and QM2. QE2 had to wait for QM2 to catch up to enter New York harbour together. But what really struck me was the comment from a regular QE2 traveller that she could go faster going full astern than QM2 did going full ahead.

Why does everything these days have to get slower instead of quicker?

No doubt Invincible class replacements, if they are ever built, will feature fuel efficient but pedestrian performance.

Anonymous said...

Hi Marv,

seems you may have been right and I've made a complete twat of myself. I did some more research at tpuc ans and checked on their wall just now apparently their training day has been cancelled and those who purchased tickets will get money returned in 'full course'. I'm gonna hang around the site for a while and find out whats going on, thx for the tip how did you know?

subrosa said...

Jings Marvo, if you were going to show bosoms you could have gone for something more than a 30A cup! But she is a reasonably bonny lassie.

Uncle Marvo said...

@UKWS: no intention to make a twat of anyone, obv, I am the biggest twat round here. All I'm trying to do it to separate fact from fiction, and there are plenty of arses around the piece as you will see.

I am a big aficionado of J.L.Seagull et al, but I'm not the Messiah, nor is John:Harris, and Ray StClair definietely isn't, although he is a Lord and probably King of Tonga by now.

Keep digging, UKWS. I am.

@subrosa: it was a long, long time ago that I was attracted to the larger cup size alone, although I still have an eye for the pretty lassie. Is that sexist?