Oct 28 2013

A storm you say?

Mr Stuff

So there was a bit of a windy storm last night in Southern England and after watching some of the news coverage of it I have to say they’re doing a piss poor job.

The number of properties without power seems to be the universal gauge of weather events but the people without power know they don’t have any and the people with power don’t really care much.

They keep showing new pictures of downed trees, some of which are on cars. But a picture of a downed tree is pretty much the same as any other picture of a downed tree. It’s not adding anything to the news story and they keep asking people to send in new pictures of downed trees. Why?

They keep analysing what happened, which for meteorologists would be useful, but for news viewers is completely useless. It was a weather event that has happened and no-one had any control over it.

One of their tickers said it “advised against travel on the south west main line”, that’s a train line. So either they’re running trains and advising people not to use them or trains aren’t running. Either way it’s a bit idiotic to point it out.

They’re reporting delays on the London underground. There are ALWAYS delays on the London underground!

In conclusion BBC News 24 really needs to take a break, maybe show some videos of kittens or something else because they’re doing a proper shite job of reporting news.


Sep 19 2013

A dinosaur in the technology age

Mr Stuff

I’ve been testing games since 1992, I’m good at it and really enjoy the work. But recently I’ve had to look for QA jobs outside games, mainly due to commuting, and am surprised at what I’m finding. Automation.

I know of, and am learning, Selenium for testing web stuff but there are so many more testing suites that developers are wanting their testers to learn, and of course the programming languages to go with them. So now most QA jobs require C#, C++ or Java to be able to drive these tools, as well as £750 worth of ISTQB certification, but it still pays as badly as it always has. Within games QA has always been an entry level position with the progression through the department into a Producer role but that’s just in the games industry. Outside it the role seems to still be deemed an entry level dev job but the experience and skill levels required are well above entry level.

Suffice to say I don’t know C in any form and will see how my Selenium playing goes, but it seems that my 15 years of active QA isn’t enough to get me in the door in most cases. I have had 2 interviews with the same company in the last few weeks but haven’t heard back after the 2nd interview, and I’m thinking the lack of communication is telling me their answer.

So my choices are to learn a whole bunch of stuff that I’ve never needed before to stay in QA or move away from QA and see what else I can find


Dec 6 2012

Now that annoys me

Mr Stuff

The news is full at the moment with news of a royal baby and how whats-her-face is suffering from terrible nausea, how very debilitating it is etc, etc. Now I don’t like the royal family to start with, I don’t follow them out of blind loyalty and find them to be a massive waste of money, effort and news coverage. In 2012 we really don’t need them.

But that’s not the bit that annoys me, all this talk of terrible nausea does. I’ve been suffering with chronic nausea for nearly 5 years and not one of the medical professionals I’ve spoken to seems to get that it is really debilitating. They just seem to think it’s a bit of an annoyance. But as soon as one of the pointless gets it they build it up as the worst illness you could ever get. I’ve said repeatedly to 2 doctors and about 10 gastroenterologists that if they can rid me of the nausea I can live with the pain, the nausea is the biggest issue. But they never get it, sigh.


Jun 2 2012

A double edged sword

Mr Stuff

I’ve heard a lot recently that it’s good to see the old Mr Stuff coming back, but I’m not sure people really remember what they’re in for. The old Mr Stuff I ranty and opinionated, will rarely let something stupid go unnoticed and will leap upon hypocrisy like a hungry jackal. The rants don’t have favourites and I’ve ranted to mates a lot in the past, sometimes it upsets people and I’m usually apologetic for doing that but the point still stands.

I’ve been called many names for being a bi mean, but I wear my opinions on my sleeve and am always up do a good rant. So for people saying how good it is to see me back, remember I WILL rant and there’s a chance that I may rant about you, most likely to you. And if I happens remember that’s me, it’s what I’m like and if you don’t like it then talk to ME about it, not rabbiting to people behind my back. That will just make me rant more.

And talking of rants, I’ve been ill for a long time and have had many people say to me “if I can help please let me know”, which is nice. Until I try to ask for help only to get slapped with a “sorry too busy”, which after the 3rd time I read as “I only said it to be polite”. So please don say things to me to be polite, if you don’t mean it then please don’t say it. We’ll all be better off that way


Feb 29 2012

Had Enough

Mr Stuff

It’s no secret that I’m not a big fan of the BBC News coverage, so I decided to send them an email via the Newswatch website. They probably won’t pay any attention to it and I’ll be surprised if I get an answer but it made me feel good to get this rant out of my system. Enjoy the text :)

There was a time when the BBC news was seen as a respected broadcaster with professional journalists covering stories that matter, but it seems with your 24 hour service that this has is no longer the case.
You seem intent on covering breaking news from other broadcasters and then only covering the pieces that are least likely to offend anyone, rather than reporting on the actual content of the story. In essence your news channel has become nothing but a glorified Google search for other peoples’s headlines using the terms “boring celebrity” and “Olympics”
As for your home grown stories, the last one I saw was about biscuits! You caould have reported on the almost civil war in Syria, the Levison inquiry, Workfare or any of the other stories with actual content that affect people. But you decided that the launch of a new biscuit would be better. I’m also fairly sure that Rupert Murdoch thanks you very kindly for all the free publicity you gave to the Sun on Sunday.
You also seem convinced that pointless outside broadcasts with reporters that know less than the studio staff seem to be a good way to go, mainly during a breaking story. You try to expand as much as possible on what little facts you have by repeating them endlessly with every other word being “urm”.
In conclusion I think you should take the “Britain’s most watched news channel” tagline off your title screens as I don’t think you could find news with both hands in a lucky dip full of headlines.


Aug 4 2011

Stand up and be counted

Mr Stuff

There was a survey released of (alleged) smartphone use in the UK and the results are being used by the media to refer to all users. But that’s just a bit wrong.

The survey was of 2073 adults and 512 children/teens, and anyone that knows maths will know that the answers of 2585 people do not scale up to tens of millions of people. But the lazy media have decided that it’s the way.

It just annoys the crap out of me that they just can’t be bothered to do surveys properly and with a decent pool. It’s very similar to Colgate saying 300 dentists polled about the toothpaste they use means ALL dentists use it. And don’t get me started on make-up ads where they poll 50 people.

Just shite really. If you’re going to do a survey and scale the results up to tens of millions of people at least put the effort in to get enough people rather than stop when you get the percentages you want. Btw I’m not saying Ofcom did stop when they got the results they need or tweaked the figures but it does happen.


Jul 27 2011

ATOS Affect

Mr Stuff

Yesterday there was a report released which dealt with the effectiveness of ATOS and the tests they carry out as part of qualifying for Employment and Support Allowance (new Incapacity Benefit). Not surprisingly the report wasn’t favourable.

To sum up the bits I’ve read it says that people undergoing the tests feel as if it’s a cost cutting measure to get them off ESA and they don’t trust the test. The number of appeals that go on to overturn the original decision is growing and the tests feel very superficial, and from personal experience I completely agree with all I’ve read.

I’ve had 2 tests done by ATOS, both said I was completely fit for work, and both of the officials doing the test failed to listen. They look at physical activities you can do, move an empty box along a table for example, and then decide that you’re not ill. In my case it doesn’t help that my condition hasn’t been properly diagnosed and the symptoms are all internal, looking at me I don’t look ill. It took no account of my pain, nausea, anxiety or the fact that food smells can send me into a vomiting fit without warning.

They also fail to take into account any evidence from primary health professionals, looking only at a 15 minute exam. Letters from doctors are only considered in the appeal process. So I feel like I’ve been forced to jump through their hoops with no regard for my health, and no regards for the psychological effect of being told you’re effectively trying it on.

I’m appealing my decision and will be getting evidence from my psychologist next week. But the whole process is deeply unpleasant at a time when I need to try to help myself as much as possible. My psychologist can’t promise to fix me but he has promised to help me with trying to deal with the symptoms better, so most likely I’ll be living with this for a long time. That’s not to say I want to be on benefits for a long time, I really want to get back to working but will need assistance in getting to that point. It’s just disappointing that the system in place to help me will always look at me as a workshy scrounger.


Jun 25 2011

Withdrawal Symptoms

Mr Stuff

Last Sunday my beloved 17 month old PS3 decided it would give me the YLOD, which is a fatal hardware failure. So I decided since it was quite young I’d take it back to the shop under the Sale of Goods act.

I figured that since it’s been shown that there are manufacturing errors shown to cause this that it would be easy, yeah right. The first guy I spoke to would not budge “12 months is our guarantee” and wouldn’t accept that the SoGA superceeds all guarantees.

Then another guy stepped in who knew more about the law. Initially I though he was going to be a dick as he started with “I covered this recently in my law studies”. But he went to the back of the shop and looked up the SoGA and came back agreeing that I had a case. Fast forward to a chat with Customer Services and they agreed to have the console fixed at their expense. So it’s currently being fixed.

This is the 2nd time I’ve done this and it never fails to surprise me how little the store folk know about their legal obligation. They know of the term statutory rights but no idea what it means.

But the blame isn’t theirs alone, the console manufacturers need to take responsibility for their product. These consoles run on the edge of failure due to the heat they generate vs cost of heating solutions, size of console and cost. MS have admitted that the RROD is a hardware fault that they are trying to fix in wach new console version, Sony won’t really acknowledge the problem.

So I’ve had no PS3 for nearly a week and it won’t be back for another. I’m rediscovering my DS but it’s not the same. Boo


Mar 25 2011

Celebs make illness real

Mr Stuff

I’ve been watching the news this morning and during the sports bulletin they have been going on about Michael Yardy leaving the Cricket World Cup because he is depressed, but have been pissed off by the way they are dealing with it. It’s almost as if depression didn’t exist until this happened and they’ve just discovered that it’s a real illness and being one of the many people in the world who suffer from depression this pisses me right off. I’m surprised they haven’t tried to use Brass Eye style graphics to show what’s happening.

Maybe it’s because I’m having a rough and sad day but this has annoyed me more than news has in a while, so I’m not going to watch any more for the rest of the day.


Mar 17 2011

When News Attacks

Mr Stuff

I watch a lot of news, especially during my early mornings when there is little else on. But their dealings of the current situations in Japan and Bahrain have just become laughable.

The main problem with 24 hour news is that the major networks are forever falling over each other to get the latest development out before the other. But this is when they fall into the ‘Uhm Loop’, the autocue has nothing for them so they try to expand the smallest fact into 5 minutes of screen time. Sky News score very high on the ‘Uhm Loop’ racking up 30 or so uhm’s a minute at times. Especially when trying to understand specialists trying to explain things that are way over their heads, nuclear reactors for example.

Which brings me onto the current top stories. Today they have been speaking to people in both Japan and Bahrain with the same outcome. They start by asking if the caller is scared of the situation and when the answer is no they pounce. “But you should be scared”, “I’d be shitting myself if I was there”, “Haven’t you been watching the fearmongering news”, etc. But the caller remained calm under the onslaught and explained that there is little risk if you understand what’s going on and if things change then they’ll re-evaluate.

Scared, you should be