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This is a question The Dirty Secrets of Your Trade

So, Television is a hot bed of lies, deceit and made up competitions. We can't say that we are that surprised... every job is full of this stuff. It's not like the newspapers currently kicking TV whilst it is down are all that innocent.

We'd like you to even things out a bit. Spill the beans on your own trade. Tell us the dirty secrets that the public need to know.

(, Thu 27 Sep 2007, 10:31)
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This question is now closed.

Popcorn!
I used to work at a cinema called the Odeon.
The popcorn came pre-popped. It arrived in plastic bags, which were packed four to a cardboard box, which were packed in a massive fuckoff HGV, and driven god-only-knows how far across the country to our asbestos ridden, smeg-hole of a cinema. Madness.
(, Tue 2 Oct 2007, 18:05, Reply)
Web cheats
We don't do it, but have come across it and it seems like common practice...

A company goes to a web design company for a website. Full service, the site, the domain, the lot.

Then two years later of the site doing sweet FA because it's rubbish the firm decides to get a decent design company (dare I say that's us?) to do it properly. But will they hand over the domain name? Oh no... it can be rented for £200 a year, or some other ludicrous fee, and no, they won't sell it.

Of course, a court case can soon settle trade mark issues like this, but it's painful and expensive.
(, Tue 2 Oct 2007, 18:02, Reply)
With so many people pissing on our products and services in this week's QOTW
I'm waiting for someone to speak up about the goings-on of the pregnancy test production line.
(, Tue 2 Oct 2007, 18:01, Reply)
Another IT related one for you here
Working in the control systems industry can be pretty funny, when it's not extremely laborious and annoying because you have some suit standing over your shoulder deciding what shade of green they prefer for their "new button" on their touch panel...

I worked for a company that had sites all over London, one of which was a certain telecommunications company. They had a theatre, decked out with control system and massive projector. It also had a rather lovely set of PMC speakers to boot. It was seriously high quality (presumably they still have this).

Anyway, we got called to site once to implement a locking mechanism for the touch panel as the cleaners had been going in and watching hardcore pornography on the mahoosive rear projection screen!

At least we didn't have to clean any suspicious substances from the touch panel!
(, Tue 2 Oct 2007, 17:59, Reply)
bearpookie
It would appear that you are confusing me for an American.

Edit: Septic. There's some rhyming slang for you. I'm not one.
(, Tue 2 Oct 2007, 17:24, Reply)
Kroney: but what about
So what about jerky, and grits? Sounds like some sort of rhyming slang!
(, Tue 2 Oct 2007, 17:22, Reply)
Sadly..
it's a not very dirty secret, that IT is one of the trades right up there in the inability to pull anyone. It's not sexy although it can be fairly well paid. No orgies, hell, frequently no opportunity for anyone tasty. *sigh*.

OK, further on in the unsurprising 'secrets' : if you don't pay lots of money for security, your software will not be secure. It will have architectural flaws, holes, exploits, unprotected data, etc, etc. If pushed to release products sooner, even *less* time will be devoted to it.

It's important to remember - no one ever got covered in glory for a great backup solution, firewall or data storage, and everyone hates things that makes their life less convenient (i.e. security).

MI6 have lost more than one laptop when pissed in a pub, why do you think the rest of us are any better when we're not getting paid well and have no thanks for an invisible, yet important support service?
(, Tue 2 Oct 2007, 17:01, Reply)
Black pudding is fantastic
as is haggis, *good* sausages etc. I'm not going to try tripe though.

On other vaguely relatedness, IT people may as a whole have less social skills than the general populace, but this is mainly concentrated in a limited number of individuals who are way beyond Duane Dibbley on the nerd scale. Most other people are fine..

On a side note, I have been on a course with someone who made Duane Dibbley look suave. If you work for Lambeth council, you might know who I mean if they still work there..

There's also a distressing lack of beer swilling, coffee chugging, pizza eaters out of all the IT people I know. They all exercise regularly.
(, Tue 2 Oct 2007, 16:53, Reply)
Not my trade, but:
I know someone who "makes homoeopathic remedies" for a well-known firm here in... well, nevermind. As most people realise, homoeopathic remedies are 100% distilled water or sugar pills soaked in same.

It should come as no surprise that all the arsing about that supposedly causes the remedy to become potent is frequently eliminated altogether. In other words, the tincture that is supposed to get super-diluted and succused gets chucked down the toilet, and they fill up the little bottles with plain old distilled water, at £5 - £20 a hit. Of course if his boss, who believes in this mumbo-jumbo, were to find out it would mean instant dismissal. But as he says, how would they prove it?

Resident Loon: try a holiday in Scotland. We eat kippers, black pudding, PLUS haggis, porridge, brose, Arbroath Smokies, deep-fried Mars Bars and a heap of other crap that tastes great as long as you don't know what's in it or how it's made. Also, check out the Stonner, a "fat-laden pork sausage, wrapped in a doner kebab, soaked in batter then deep fried. Creator Saei Sangag, has branded it 'the most dangerous supper in Scotland'. A £3 Stonner supper with a portion of chips has a gut-busting 1000 calories and 46g of fat."

Awesome.
(, Tue 2 Oct 2007, 16:52, Reply)
EssY
You stopped short of the dirty secrets.. never mind the technicalities of purchasing hardware, have you bent the IT manager's secretary over her desk recently and had her go halves with you on a bastard?

(Apologies for the crudeness, its hormonal)
(, Tue 2 Oct 2007, 16:52, Reply)
IT trade secrets - buying hardware
Not that it'll do any good, because everyone I tells this ignores me in favour of price.

The key to buying decent hardware is Paying More (except when it's not). If it doesn't work, and is created by a big company with a half decent track record (i.e. not DLink, or Netgear(*) or someone you've never heard of) it will usually be fixed. Eventually.

Cheap network cards aren't the same as more expensive ones. Cheap 'RAID' cards are definitely not the same as pro level components.

The flip side is that if it contains *exactly* the same components, it's worth buying. However, bear in mind that if the product needs a driver, the chance of getting ongoing drivers from a fly by night company is nil - so long term it's a bad idea.

So, go for price, and search for reviews unless a) the price you're buying it from is known for low prices and high quality (Scan, Dabs, etc..) or b) it has Excessive Bling - the prettier it is, the more you pay. Match the reviews to their context - Computer Shopper reviews are price oriented and they wouldn't know proper quality if it wrote them a letter. PC Gaming reviews focus on speed, speed and more speed - they don't care about long term reliability, colour range on monitors, etc etc. Use google to look for problems..

Never, ever, ever, ever, ever buy a laptop without an extended manufacturer's warranty. You'll potentially regret it. Buy brand name kit, too (IBM/Lenovo, Toshiba, HP, Sony - if you don't care about their shit service). Gaming laptops are an especially huge ripoff. Ignore the Shiny, use your brain.

WHQL/certified drivers/hardware means nothing.

Of course I've broken the above rules myself at times - and usually regretted it..

It really is possible to get some incredible bargains on ebay. Just realise that pro level kit is usually louder and more power hungry than consumer gear and some items like cases, become cheaper and higher quality each year (in general).

(*) some may disagree. DLink are utter shit. Netgear are good for home/small office use - they will not stand up to serious professional usage.
(, Tue 2 Oct 2007, 16:46, Reply)
Not exactly a secret in the trade
But I worked in a call centre for a very short time (3 weeks actually) before I was forced to leave. I used to take call orders for a certain childrens toy magazine for posh parents (rhymes with BetterLox) and and for those cheap CDs and DVDs you see advertised on the tv. Now, the main majority of callers for CDs were elderly people who were either very rude or would not just get off the phone as they had no one to talk to. And many refused to pay postage. The secret is, you DO have to pay postage. No matter how you yell or stamp your feet, I have to add it to your order or the warehouse will not send it out! Pretending you didn't see it does not change a damn thing. And seeing how the only way to make my pay packet liveable was by getting commission and by wasting my time, I'm not earning it so I may fuck up your order on purpose.

We also have no idea about the products you are ordering so please do not call up just to ask, we don't actually know! We just log onto the company website and read the spiel on there, which is exactly what is in your brochure. The worst I got was a man calling because he had ordered a DVD catalogue and he didn't have a DVD player. He called me and I had to waste 20 minutes reading out all the videos we had on Steam Trains from the website, which in the end, he decided he didn't want. All this during our busiest time.

Oh, and BetterLox? There is no point calling us if you have the internet. If you call to place an order, all we do is take your customer details and place the order through the site anyway. You're just wasting money phoning us.

And yes, we do have to try and sell you something. When we start reading the 'Our friends at blah blah have a special offer', it's because we have to. You miss the script 3 times and you're fired, so please don't yell at us for doing our jobs.

This has been a Public Service Announcement (rant) by MissC.
(, Tue 2 Oct 2007, 16:45, Reply)
Kroney/ Loon
I hate to interrupt your private chat but as a Welshman I eat Lava Bread which is basically fried seaweed. not the stuff you get at the Chinese which is really cabbage but stuff freshly picked off the beach, bloody lovely.
dirty secret? I used to be in the local youth orchestra and went on "orchestra camp". Why? because the girls may have been "geeks" but they were mental and filthy plus being one of the older looking fellas I was able to buy booze which meant I was very popular. For once.
(, Tue 2 Oct 2007, 16:44, Reply)
TRL
Yes.

Black pudding is generally only eaten by Northerners, who, since they habitually wear flat caps and put ferrets down their trousers, are clearly unhinged anyway.

Edit: I don't eat it because I'm a Southerner and therefore infinitely more sensible.
(, Tue 2 Oct 2007, 16:32, Reply)
Kroney: but what about
black pudding and blood sausage? From what I've been able to gather, it's basically a seasoned scab.

And we won't discuss head cheese...
(, Tue 2 Oct 2007, 16:27, Reply)
Trade Secrets
As a Brit, I have never eaten kippers, my teeth are straight and not black, I also don't live in a thatched cottage OR wear a bowler hat.

Kroney, smashing cultural stereotypes since 1980.
(, Tue 2 Oct 2007, 15:58, Reply)
Not so much a dirty secret - more proof the myth doesn't always work...
Me and a mate had been playing a few frames of snooker, I'd gone to get some more beer while he collected the balls to return etc.

Arriving at the bar, I watched the owner randomly pushing buttons on the computer which controlled the lights (some ancient Amstrad I recall). After a minute or so watching I asked what the problem was.

"It's stopped working." came the precise reply any IT guy knows so well.
"Ah," I say wisely - "Did you try turning it off and on again? usually these things can be cleared with a reboot..."
Owner doesn't look convinced until my mate appears (happens he works for IBM as a site engineer) - of course he agrees with me and suggests he try a reboot.

Anyhoo, we pay for our snooker and go on our way.

Couple of weeks later we go back for another game - the computer is still sitting there with it's dark screen.

"Still not working?" I ask (I'm so good at spotting these details)

"Not since a couple of pricks told me to turn it off..." came the reply.

Amazing how good your poker face can be in some situations...

Length? well, it was about 15 years ago and they still use a pen and paper to calculate table times
(, Tue 2 Oct 2007, 15:54, Reply)
No, I think the devil will be a proctologist.
To work in IT you cant hold a conversation without the aid of a keyboard.
Wouldnt do ol' lucifer a lot of good when he wants to roast our asses, would it?
(, Tue 2 Oct 2007, 15:34, Reply)
IT charging really isn't unfair
We never charge less than half a day, even if it's a quick job. Any time we break this rule we regret it.

You can guarantee that the 'quick job' you did for the customer because you were feeling kind will in the future need a) documenting b) justifying the behaviour c) enhancing with yet more small changes that overall add up to more hassle d) testing - and believe me that code that is provably 100% correct and 'cannot break anything' can, in fact, break lots of things because other people have put the PC in a screwy state and e) covering your arse when the customer insists that isn't what they wanted even though it's written down (*never* take on verbal specs)

IT hardware, otoh, that's another matter..
(, Tue 2 Oct 2007, 15:24, Reply)
Beelzabub
Hands up all those who think that when the world ends that the devil will be working in I.T.
(, Tue 2 Oct 2007, 15:23, Reply)
Spray cheese
is not cheese.

I don't know what it is, but it's not cheese. It doesn't have a shelf life, it has a half life.

It frightens me.
(, Tue 2 Oct 2007, 15:19, Reply)
Dirty Secrets ??
OK, so it’s another post about the I.T. industry, but the big IT companies out there have basically got a license to print money once they’ve got their foot in the door.
I work on a contract basis for a large concern, who Internationally make Business Machines, and who may or may not have been responsible for the design of the HAL computer in the film 2001.
They in turn have a contract for the maintenance of the software systems for a large manufacturing company based in Switzerland.
On occasions, this manufacturing company will identify a requirement for an enhancement to the systems. This may be something very small. Like changing the positioning of an address on their invoice. At this point, The International producer of Business Machines comes to me and says
“Hey Demeter, how long do you think this work will take?”
I then reply “Well, I can make the changes, run all the necessary testing, and produce the finished article in about 2.5 hours”…….
HAL then takes over……
By the time that a quote for this change has reached the customer, the 2.5 hours has been plugged into the HAL recalculation machine:

Programmer says 2.5 hours – so double that. We’re now up to 5.0 hours.
There will of course be a “Work Assessment element” – 1.0 hours, and so it goes on…….
Then there is the “Functional Specification” – 2.0 hours
Add on the “Technical Specification” – 2.0 hours
“Test Plan Scenario Definition” – 1.5 hours
“Risk Assessment” – 1.5 hours
“Contingency” – 2.5 Hours
“Unit Testing” – 2.5 Hours
“Module Testing” – 2.0 Hours
“Test Evaluation against Test Plan” – 1.0 Hours
“Implementation Planning” – 2.0 Hours
“Project Management” (WTF!!) – 3.0 Hours
“Implementation” – 2.0 Hours
“Post Implementation Assessment” – 3.0 Hours

So the 2.5 hours which I have allowed myself to comfortably do the job in question has now spawned over 30 hours of chargeable time to the customer, all of which will be at a rate about three times more than I am being paid.

Strangest thing? - The customer will invariably swallow this charge.
Who’s the Mug?

Length? Every inch turns into ten when you’re paying for it.
(, Tue 2 Oct 2007, 15:17, Reply)
Mr Loon
Thats rich coming from an American.

Squirty cheese !!!!!!
(, Tue 2 Oct 2007, 15:17, Reply)
Eeewwww...
As an American, I've always wondered what "kippers" are, having heard for ages that the British eat them for breakfast. So I looked them up in Wikipedia.

You lot eat some very strange things.
(, Tue 2 Oct 2007, 15:14, Reply)
Big Girls Blouse...
Ah thag yew.
I'm here all week, try the veal.
(, Tue 2 Oct 2007, 15:12, Reply)
Lunar Jim
It's not the end of the pier show. I think your Chubby Brown's secret love child.
(, Tue 2 Oct 2007, 15:10, Reply)
Financial Advsers
The two years I spent in the financial services put me off financial advisers, the companies they work for and the shitty under performing products they flog for the rest of my life.

Take my advice; try to limit the number of financial products you pay into. Fair enough, if you want to buy a house you will probably need a mortgage, if you have a family/dependants you should get life assurance, but that's about it. If you have spare income that you want to invest stick it in a high interest savings account, the online bank Icesave has an easy access savings account that pays over 6% interest.

I could spend pages ranting about all this, but I will pick my number 1 hated financial product: The Personal Pension (not to be confused with company pensions). Here are the things they don’t tell you about your pension.

(1) The financial advisers commission will be the first 2 years worth of your contributions.
(2) Administration charges are surprisingly high.
(3) You never see your money again. When you retire you can take 25% tax-free but the rest has to buy you an annuity (a yearly income).
(4) The annuity is taxable income.
(5) The annuity is based on the interest rates when you retire. Who knows what they could be in 20, 30, 50 years.
(6) It's not quite true that pensions grow in a tax free fund. Gordon Brown changed that in 1997, any dividends the invested funds earn is immediately taxed at 10%.
(7) Your fund value depends on the competence of a string of wide-boy city fund managers.
(8) There is a good chance that at some point in the decades you pay into your pension, all your information will be lost when the company you originally invested with got bought/merged for the 48th time and the ancient legacy computer system couldn’t cope anymore.
(9) Most pensions under perform, so after 50 years of working yourself stupid the payoff is a huge disappointment.
(10) Future benefits are likely to be means tested, which means that anybody who paid into a pension will get sweet fuck all, and those who pissed it up against a wall will get their bills paid for them by the government.

I am all for saving money, just don’t trust everything that financial adviser tells you.
(, Tue 2 Oct 2007, 15:09, Reply)
My Uncle is a Harley Street gynaecologist
Sees lots of famous and rich womens hamburgers.

He's told me in the past about the following.

1. The Footballer's wife who's snatch smells like a kipper merrily perishing on a windowsill on a hot day. Seriously, when she puts her legs in the stirrups, he says its all he can do not to park a tiger on her.

2. The female musician who has multiple piercings in her Labia Majoris. He calls them her "Beef Curtain Rings".

3. Once after examining a TV Presenters mimsy, he withdrew his hands and she let forth a deep, rasping fanny fart. My uncle did nothing to ingraciate himself with this patient by proudly claiming "I'll name that tune in one".
(, Tue 2 Oct 2007, 15:06, Reply)
Paper Thin
A few years ago I worked for a major printing company that rhymes with that brown stripe you sometimes get in your pants after less than sufficient wipeage. People always complained that our ink cartridges were too expensive and we'd respond by going on a long, winding PR inspired spin campaign about how they actually weren't and offered great value for money.
The truth is that they WERE really expensive because we had prostituted the actual printers to retailers at silly prices whilst somehow still managing to have the gall to espouse our corporate "green" credentials. How green is that £20 printer once it's in landfill you cnuts?
Oh and don't listen to any of that wonk about recycling cartridges for the "good of the environment" - it's just to stop refillers getting their stinky inky hands on them.
(, Tue 2 Oct 2007, 14:55, Reply)

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