It’s the annual BA IT meltdown event

Friday 9 August 2019 @ 8:48 pm

Another day, another IT meltdown at British Airways causing problems for travellers all over the world. Nothing new, this is exactly what you get when you outsource jobs to India in the name of “cost cutting”; Cheap, incompetent, clueless, script-reading drones who can barely string a sentence together.

Still, this is to be expected when you have the likes of Alex Cruz in charge of BA. Cruz used to run budget Spanish airline Vueling and seems to think he can use the same approach with BA. No surprise then that since he took over British Airways, it’s become Bloody Awful. Cruz was told repeatedly that outsourcing the IT systems and relying on Indian “expertise” would lead to outages and system downtime but didn’t listen. The board should have sacked his useless behind long ago but as usual, all they care about is the share price, dividends and to hell with the customers.

And when Cruz finally does get the sack, it’ll be the usual merry-go-round of safe jobs for the boys where incompetant spivs like Cruz leave with a golden goodbye and are simply parachuted into the next cushy number with a golden hello. Welcome to Club World where every failure is rewarded.

Anyone surprised that Samsung Mobile profits have crashed?

Tuesday 2 December 2014 @ 6:20 pm

Not me. The Q3 results showed a steep decline in profits (over 60%) caused by weak demand for the shitty Samsung Galaxy S5. Serves ’em bloody right.

The S5 was launched in a blaze of the usual publicity earlier this year and has failed to live up to expectations. It’s not hard to see why either. Like the S3 and the S4 and pretty much all of the so called flagship mobiles, the Galaxy S5 has no compelling value proposition to encourage users to upgrade. Hell, it doesn’t even have a quarter of a value proposition.

The heart rate monitor shite is as dumb as it sounds, the screen is far too big and the battery life is beaten to a pulp by the far more desirable and elegant Sony Xperia range which has also been dust proof and water proof for years, long before Samsung decided to jump on that particular bandwagon.

That leaves the fingerprint sensor (shyeah, riiight) and 16MP camera. Fair enough, the camera will do the job but you’d need your head examined to buy the S5 just for the camera. As for the fingerprint sensor crap, this is supposed to allow you to make payments and unlock the phone and used for other security features. Only problem is that it’s not half as useful as the Apple version so don’t expect it to work. As with pretty much everything Android, it’s all buggy, laggy, sub optimal and offers the kind of end user experience that you leaves you snorting in derision.

Oh, and if you were expecting a premium finish, tough, it’s the same plastic crap, albeit with a mock leather back thing, that Apple fanboys will be mocking you again for like they have the last two years. The flagship phones from Huawei, a company far more on the ball with Android than Samsung, put the S5 to shame and are far more premium.

So there’s nothing on the hardware side but what about the software side? Specifically Samsung TouchWiz? Well, if you like the worst kind of bloatware that can’t be removed and that comes with two versions of everything, Google’s snooping apps rubbish and Samsung’s feeble stocking filler version that nobody will never ever use, then this is the handset for you.

No surprise then that there are warehouses full of Samsung Galaxy S5 stock which they can’t shift for love or money and which has accelerated the development for the next pointless version of this shitastic mobile. Samsung have said they are going to reduce the number of mobiles they bring to market (currently around 20) and focus more on the ones they do which is every bit as vague as it sounds. They might want to start by making a smaller, and by that I mean sub 4” screen, more premium handset with a useful battery life instead of being locked in the ridiculous hardware race with ever more ludicrous specs.

Welcome news then for any change in direction by Samsung, but don’t go expecting anything revolutionary. For a lot of people, Android means Samsung and those sheeple will happily buy anything with a Samsung sticker slapped all over that plastic casing. Plus, with a market as crowded and as stupid as the Android one, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate against other more compelling handsets.

If Samsung are to move back into the black, they will have to do a lot more than just churn out yet another tired Galaxy handset with a few rubbish upgrades.

HTC profits continue downward spiral (is anyone surprised?)

Monday 8 October 2012 @ 9:49 pm

HTC has announced its Q3 results showing a net profit of USD $133 million. To put that in perspective, its Q2 profits were USD $273 whilst 2011 Q3 profits topped USD $625 million giving it a year-on-year decline of nearly 80%. Should anyone be surprised by these figures?

I sure as hell am not, HTC have been churning out the same identikit crapware Android handsets with mediocre battery life for the last few years now and in a market crowded with other identikit bland, faceless Android handsets, HTC have no discerning value proposition.

For example, take one of their supposedly “flagship” models, the HTC One X; what a piece of totally uninspired shit this is. A battery that can barely make it through a day coupled with the same feeble design that HTC have been punting on all their android handsets, one so utterly humdrum and tedious that you wouldn’t give it a second glance even if HTC painted a pair of boobs on the back.

Samsung has exactly the same problem with their tiresome range of Galaxy handsets whilst Motorola at least attempts to offer differentiation with premium materials and a killer battery. Put the HTC next to any other HTC Android and you wouldn’t know which is which. And therein lies the problem.

Now I like HTC, they single-handedly developed the old Windows Mobile market with a fabulous range of diverse and fully featured mobiles. Their old HTC HD2 is still one of the best handsets available, capable of running Windows Mobile, Android and even the newer Windows Phone with dual boot. Their HTC Sense software is ultra slick and streets ahead of Samsung’s TouchWiz which in comparison seems to have been put together by someone whose last job was designing interfaces for an ICI mainframe in the 1970’s.

However, the software alone is not enough and HTC needs to do a lot better in a tough market. A good start would be to reverse the stupid decision to stop making any handsets with a proper keyboard given the serious lack of any decent BlackBerry alternatives on Android.

Next, work on the actual design. HTC mobiles have a well deserved reputation for rubbish battery life. Would it kill them to bump up the milliamps to at least 2,500? And quit making the same boring black rectangles; show some imagination and flair with materials and shapes. Put effort into making something that consumers will admire and covet.

Lastly, for goodness sake stop removing that damn hardware camera button from all your handsets, a touch screen shutter is just plain daft.

Microsoft unveils the next pointless release of Office

Wednesday 18 July 2012 @ 4:32 pm

With Windows 8 being primed for an October launch, Microsoft has now unveiled the latest version of their bloated Office suite, complete with rubbish touchscreen functionality, social media integration and with the same counter-intuitive ribbon interface from Office 2007 intact.

Microsoft seems to be turning into some kind of confused geriatric these days, what with their stupid Windows Phone 8 debacle, the wholesale switch to the despised touchscreen Metro interface and now this latest nonsense. Bullying blustering butthead Steve Ballmer, the man responsible for the travesty that is Windows Vista, has done his very best to run the company to the ground and almost succeeded.

Feedback on Office 2013 has been wholly negative with users pointing out the hideous new blocky interface, caps lock menus and the shitty touch-enabled welcome screen that seems to think it can create your entire document with just one click. And then there’s the pointless online integration that will have corporate System Admin’s around the world battening down the hatches to the Internet. Business users are not remotely interested in social media or storing their confidential documents to some cloud computing cack yet Microsoft seems to think otherwise.

Sure, the Microsoft lickspittles will bleat on about one unified interface across a myriad of devices for a seamless experience but the fact is that corporate users are the cash cows and massively outnumber the home users. There are few new features in Office 2013 and most users will be content with just 20% of the functionality that has been present from back in the days of Office 97. Plus, there’s no way that companies are going to buy into the whole cloud computing bollocks when you consider the importance of security, something Microsoft is notoriously lax with.

I actually like Microsoft products but I think they’ve been losing their way since His Billness left and the company was given over to that idiot Ballmer. Since he’s been in charge, not one innovative or genuinely exciting product has emerged from Redmond

So in short then, a new version of Office 2013 that nobody needs, that’s bigger, more bloated, harder to use, stuffed full of online integration and complete with a crap touchscreen interface to please the 4 people out there who will actually use it on a tablet device.

Nice one Microsoft, another f**k-up to add to the collection.

Nokia slashes price of flagship Lumia 900 by 50%

Monday 16 July 2012 @ 8:10 pm

Just a few weeks after launch, Nokia has slashed the price of its flagship Lumia 900 by 50%. This follows an announcement last month to cut 10,000 jobs worldwide and the downgrading of Nokia to junk status by the three main credit rating agencies.

On the whole I like Nokia handsets, despite their best efforts to drive me away, and reckon that Microsoft is largely to blame for Nokia’s further downwards spiral. The Lumia range of handsets are beautifully made with the premium models carrying a lightweight one-piece polycarbonate shell, curved glass screen and a superb Carl Zeiss lens camera.

The software however is a piece of cack as I remarked in a previous post. Windows Phone 7 is too gimmicky, too tightly integrated with the whole social media circus and offers precisely zero incentive for the serious business user.

Even worse, Microsoft has severely cribbed handsets carrying Windows Phone 7 by not allowing any of them to run the upcoming Windows Phone 8, effectively rendering all Windows Phone 7 handsets obsolete. That Microsoft would do this just weeks after the flagship Lumia 900 launched just goes to show how little they regard Nokia, their alleged “strategic” partner, and also the poor mug consumer who once again has been suckered into buying a platform that Redmond has no intention of supporting. Indeed, Microsoft have now openly declared that Windows Phone 8 will be rebuilt from scratch which begs the question then, why the f**k did you dump the solid and reliable Windows Mobile and replace it with the Windows Phone 7 shit knowing full well it would be obsolete within 18 months?

The answer of course is that Microsoft is desperate to play catch up with Android that has the lion’s share of the market followed by iOS. BlackBerry is sinking fast whilst Symbian has been dumped by Nokia when their ex-Microsoft chief Stephen Elop tied his lickspittle and the fortunes of the company to the mast of his former employer. The whole thing stinks of a stitch up with Nokia caught in the middle, something that this illustrious company with its long and distinguished mobile history does not deserve.

Whilst the Android market is crowded, Nokia could do a lot worse than launch a premium handset carrying their own UI which is something they’ve always excelled at designing. Like it or not, the Symbian smartphone platform laid the foundations for what see today and even the Nokia S40 series is as close as you’ll get to smartphone functionality from a feature phone.

After disastrously hitching themselves to the Windows Phone bandwagon, thanks to clueless Stephen Elop, Nokia’s position hasn’t gotten any better and they need to take action otherwise they’ll be finished for good and end up being a mere niche player.

Welcome to the laughing stock UK Olympics

Saturday 14 July 2012 @ 8:58 pm

Welcome to the 2012 Olympics being held here in the UK. Our level of incompetence in holding such an overblown, overrated, waste-of-money event is matched only by the level of utter contempt and wholesale unenthusiasm that Brits hold for having the wretched games foisted upon us by a thieving money grabbing elite riddled with cronyism. An extra special mention to our expense fiddling scamming politicians who grossly underestimated the bid meaning the final bill has ballooned from the original £4 billion to £11 billion.

Nevertheless, we look forward to athletes from across the globe taking part in one of the most corrupt, money making and pointless spectacles in the world where sporting prowess plays third and fourth fiddle to the more important business of ripping people off and making money for official sponsors. And we especially welcome our IOC (International Olympics Committee) Mollusc Olympian Overlords for the sheer contempt and disgust they hold for ordinary folk daring to question the serious business of making the IOC members rich.

When you land at third world Heathrow Airport, our warm welcome extends to keeping you waiting for a minimum of two hours to pass through border security. This is on account of our stupid, expense fiddling politicians having cut UK Border Agency staff to the bone. However, should you wish to be whisked through with any delay, please claim asylum where you will be eagerly directed to the nearest benefits centre and a bump to the top of the housing list. In the meantime, please take full advantage of our decrepit National Health Service, it is here for the whole world to use for free.

Once you leave the airport, a plethora of buses and trains are waiting to rip you off with sky high prices and a mediocre service that seldom adheres to a timetable. Should you wish to use a car, the authorities have helpfully blocked off large parts of London to create gridlock and herd the peasants into single lane roads. Hence, there are plenty of route closures, new no right/left turns, suspended pedestrian crossings, traffic flow direction on one way roads reversed, contraflows and altered traffic light phasing to stop traffic getting anywhere near Olympic routes.

A network of CCTV covers the worlds most spied upon country and special Zil lanes have been created for Olympics VIP’s to whisk self-important sponsors, business backscratchers, MP’s, lickspittles and cronies to and from the venue in chauffeur driven BMW’s. Do not be surprised if the traffic lights remain red for eternity to create gridlock whilst miraculously turning green for the Zil lanes, this has been expressly designed to ensure you don’t go anywhere so that corrupt IOC members who are in a hurry to get back to their 5-star taxpayer funded hotel suites to dine on caviar and champagne do not get held up. However, please do feel free to try and use the Zil lanes, there’s a £130 fine that will be shoved directly into the pocket of some grinning idiot in LOCOG (London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games) but the rest of London will cheer you to the echo for sticking two fingers up at the robbing Gestapo bastards.

Upon arrival at the official stadium, a stream of bureaucratic overbearing Olympics nonsense is ready and waiting to wash over you like a visit from the Soviet Politburo. It’s already been declared that chips can’t be sold by anyone apart from official sponsor McDonalds and that you can’t take your own bottled water or food inside the Olympic stadium. However, picnic hampers are available from the official picnic hamper supplier camped outside who will be glad to offer a range of measly sandwich options excitingly priced from 40 quid upwards.

Security for this pointless grubby event is supplied courtesy of G4S, a bunch of incompetent, incapable, inadequate brainless monkeys led by leering clueless inbred chief executive Nick Buckles who is on a £1.4 million annual package. Several MP’s, including hapless Home Secretary Theresa May, have a vested financial interest in G4S which is why the company has been awarded the contract. Rest assured, G4S has promised to not recruit enough suitable candidates or bother vetting potential applicants so you can expect a bunch of grunting ignorant chav yobs manning the gates accompanied by an assortment of eager suicide bombers and terrorists who not so much as slipped through the net as they did walk through the open door of G4S’ laughably inept non-existant security checks. Semi-coherent English language skills will be a minor bonus although should not be assumed by any means.

Once the Olympics is over, and 2 weeks can’t arrive soon enough, we expect a significant proportion of visitors, athletes and spectators alike, to remain in Britain outstaying their visa, especially from the grasping African countries and Indian sub-continent. Once again, playing the asylum card will work wonders but you can also just disappear into the economy since the Border Agency won’t bother to try and track you down for deportation. Everyone’s welcome in benefits Britain so come on in, the water’s lovely.

Meanwhile, the locals will be left to pick up the bill for the entire shitty event whilst the bent Olympics committee begins the whole sorry affair again by trying to hoodwink another gormless country into staging a spectacle that should have been paid for and staged by the bloody Greeks.

We hope you enjoy your stay in the UK, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

What to expect on a Deloitte assessment day

Thursday 10 May 2012 @ 2:55 pm

Attended one of these assessment days recently and passed so I thought I’d share the experience to help other candidates who might be called.

It’s a whole day affair (lunch is provided) that starts with a short 30 minute presentation about Deloitte and what distinguishes it from its competitors. You’re then given individual timetables that tell you who you will be meeting and when and what you need to do to prepare. Everyone’s timetable is different so some will immediately begin with their interviews whilst others will be scheduled to start the other exercises. However, there’s absolutely no need to stick to the schedule for preparation, as long as you are ready for the interviews you’re free to manage your own time however you see fit. Everyone stays in the same room with materials provided but the individual interviews and presentations are done privately.

There are four areas of assessment that each carries equal weight although Deloitte claim it’s vital you do well at the group exercise. The four assessments are a written essay, partner interview, presentation followed by a further competency based interview and finally the group discussion.

You’re given 1 hour for the written assessment which involves a case study about a pharmaceuticals firm called Medicare who are implementing an ERP system (called Project 2) as part of a business transformation project in the USA. Deloitte have been hired to evaluate Project 2 and advise Medicare on the rollout of a similar ERP system across Europe. The material consists of a presentation given to the senior management at Medicare by Deloitte and the written assessment is to summarise this succinctly using full sentences and narrative for distribution to the Medicare managers. You need to pull in all the salient info whilst ensuring sensitive data is not revealed and you’re limited by ensuring it all fits into two pages.

The partner interview is straightforward enough and allocated 45 minutes. You will have already been interviewed previously and made a good impression which is why you were invited back for the assessment day. As long as you show enthusiasm and know the obvious stuff such as what Deloitte is all about along with the business area you want to join and the role specifics with relevant examples of your own experience, this should pose no problem.

A lot of people worry about presentations but I actually enjoyed this one the most. Candidates may be given different case studies depending upon the role and seniority of the job they’re being assessed for but I think the main theme is consistent which is how Deloitte is able to help the organisation. You’re allocated 1 hour to prepare a 10 minute presentation (no more than 6 slides) and then a further 45 minutes for the actual presentation followed by a Q&A session.

My case study was for a soft drinks company facing a myriad of problems such as increased competition from more agile competitors, poor data quality, distributed production centres and legacy systems that hindered the supply chain. The objective is to come up with a short presentation (using flipcharts) describing how Deloitte can tackle these problems and the opportunities it presents. It’s an individual exercise so your audience is another partner, different from the other interview, and the aim here is to test how well you communicate and structure your ideas as well as your business acumen. The presentation and Q&A session is followed by a further competency based interview where you will be questioned about your skills and experience.

The final exercise lasts around 45 minutes and is a group discussion which is by far and away the most stupid, pointless and self defeating part of the whole day. It’s not hard to see why either. The case study is a fictitious community led by a group of “Elders” who are trying to find ways to save money. They’ve come up with a list of initiatives, each of which saves the same amount of money, but each of which has very different repercussions (e.g. ban drinking, cut health care, kill all pets). Candidates are given 10 minutes to individually prioritise the initiatives beforehand by writing them down and then use the remainder of the time to discuss, as a group, how they would rank the same initiatives. The actual assessment starts when the group discussion begins and the aim is to ensure that at least 3 of your top 5 rankings are somewhere in the groups collective top 5 rankings.

However, with the Deloitte assessors watching, the whole thing rapidly falls apart as candidates quickly realise that the group exercise is actually competitive and the only thing that counts is who can make their voice heard, irrespective of whether or not a valid point is being made and whether or not their rankings are in the top 5. If you’ve ever watched The Apprentice, it’s like that only much worse because you actually have to take part in this cringeworthy nonsense. The group exercise proves absolutely nothing useful because when you have several people all trying to make their point and talking over each other, the only thing that can be assessed is quantity not quality. And further proof of how futile this absurd group exercise is comes at the end when the Deloitte assessors merely ask for a show of hands to gauge how many people successfully got their rankings in the top 5 without bothering to collect the actual recorded answers.

So in short then, enjoy the day, it’s worth attending for practice even if the Deloitte job on offer isn’t what you want but definitely watch out for the stupid bloody group exercise which is an utterly pointless albeit necessary sideshow.

Welcome to pathetic third world Britain

Tuesday 1 May 2012 @ 5:28 pm

Heathrow Airport has long been the type of embarrassing dump that shows visitors and tourists exactly what to expect from Britain. The laughably inept UK Border Agency, when not busy waiving through the worlds supply of asylum seekers, immigrants, drug dealers, rapists, thugs, paedophiles and other assorted scum of society, is only too pleased to have a single immigration desk open out of more than a dozen to ensure the hundreds of other legitimate travellers are kept waiting for hours on end.

And it’s not just the non-EU countries either, Brits and Europeans are also being forced to wait in the immigration hall as queues snake all the way back to the plane terminal. Meanwhile, the fast track automated machines remain idle because the kit doesn’t work and nobody can be bothered to get them fixed.

It’s absolutely pathetic and further cements Heathrow’s well deserved reputation as the dumpiest, crappiest, most run-down main terminal airport in the West. No wonder everyone avoids it as much as possible and choose to make their connections on mainland Europe where they can expect efficiency and fast connection times as well as more direct routes to China.

Of course, this should come as no surprise to anyone who has dealt with Spanish owned BAA that has responsibility for Heathrow. As one of the world’s busiest airports, Heathrow has long been a cashcow for the lazy bastard Spaniards who run Ferrovial, the parent company which has huge debts. They have absolutely no financial incentive to improve facilities there when they can just simply take the money out to plump up the balance sheet which is why Heathrow remains the third world dump of an airport it is with sky high charges for everything.

As for the UK Border Agency, this is one of the most poisonous of Labour’s many failed legacies. An unfit-for-purpose outfit run by a dickhead who deliberately relaxed immigration rules to let in thousands of illegals, it recently cut 10% of its workforce at a time when uproar and complaints about delays are at an all-time high. And the Government’s response to this? Blame the delays on the weather!

Yes that’s right, scamming lying turncoat Tory David Cameron thinks people are complete idiots and will believe this old pony. It just goes to show how completely and utterly deluded the man is and not fit to hand out free newspapers let alone him and his rich chums flushing the country further down the toilet.

Random Annoyances: Canary Wharf

Wednesday 14 March 2012 @ 12:40 pm

London has its fair share of prime real estate locations for companies to choose from but few sites are as stupidly located as Canary Wharf.

Now the actual place itself is very nice; clean, modern, bustling, with tall buildings and a definite air of international business, a real rival to Wall Street and the City. The problem is not so much Canary Wharf itself but getting to the damn site which is woefully served by London’s feeble, decrepit and overpriced public transport service.

Whilst the DLR is reliable enough for those living in East London or south of the Thames, the sole option for anyone coming into London Bridge or Waterloo, or travelling in from North London, is the rubbish Jubilee Line that’s about as reliable as a Nigerian bank account. It’ll be even worse when hoard’s of tourists descend upon London in summer to watch the crappy Olympics that nobody wants.

Commercial rents in Canary Wharf are now comparable to the City but that hasn’t stopped the likes of Barclays, Citibank, Morgan Stanley and HSBC pitching their headquarters on the Isle of Dogs. As a result, these businesses have a much harder time recruiting than others that are more sensibly located in the City simply because nobody wants to spend a 2 hour commute fighting their way to Canary Cack, a rubbish location that appeals solely to the cast of The Only Way Is Essex.

KPMG axes hundreds of spiv management consultants

Friday 9 March 2012 @ 11:58 pm

KPMG announced today that it is axing hundreds of “management consultants”. Amen to that. We’ve had the misfortune to use these clowns and they are, like 99.9% all other management consultants (unless it’s McKinsey in which case it’s 100%), a bunch of incompetent, clueless, overpaid, and egotistical spivs. Absolutely no idea about anything, zero business sense, little time for trying to understand how an organisation works and all too eager to dump a cut and paste “report” that regurgitates whatever the shithead executive who hired them wants to hear.

Management Consultants like to think they add value to a business whereas the reality is the exact opposite. I’ve been involved in reviewing reports from the likes of KPMG and McKinsey and they are full of crap. The useful bits of analysis are nearly always copied from internal data that any competent PM could produce whilst the rest is the kind of nonsensical buzz word littered junk that would be embarrassing if it was on Wikipedia let alone on the desk of the executive board.

I remember reading one such report written by some dick at McKinsey that referred to “low hanging fruit” as the best method for monetising clients. No shit Sherlock, low hanging fruit you say? Better take your telephone number consultancy fees and fuck off back to your ivory tower whilst the rest of us ignorant brainless peasants gush over your amazingly insightful analysis.

Truth is that executive boards are as much to blame. Apart from the fact that most (including the lousy Government) enjoy wasting copious amounts of cash to make them feel important, they shouldn’t need to hire management consultancy spivs at all. If the well paid executive can’t do the executive job that their executive title and executive salary merits then they shouldn’t be there in the first place.