mugshot

Whine whine

Since I've been working here we've had two motorised filter wheels in a box waiting to be fitted to the microscopes. The advantage of these is that they can be driven by a computer, so they make certain sorts of timecourse imaging possible. Last week, after most of a year, the supplier's service bod - from a big reputable company that you'll all have heard of - turned up, finally, to fit them.

One of them was DoA. The other got fitted and worked. For most of a week[1]. It, too, has now died. To be fair, the dud has already been replaced by a fresh one which arrived in the post on Monday, but that's small consolation at the moment.

Why is nobody capable of supplying kit which actually works? I got used to hearing, for years and decades, about how the private sector is wonderfully efficient and can make things happen and is kept lean and competent by competition and constantly armwrestling Adam Smith's invisible penihand. Can I please be put in touch with some of that competence now? Constantly dealing with these shitehawks is starting to get to me.

[1] Correction: Almost two weeks. Doesn't time fly? That's certainly good value for a grand's worth of . . . well, a motor, a position sensor, a bearing and some folded metal. I certainly don't feel that the taxpayer is being shortchanged.
  • Current Mood: pissed off
Competition leads to companies releasing products before they've been fully tested.

I remember when I worked for Network Rail, we purchased a huge 6 Terabyte SAN (basically a large array of hard disks) and before we could use it, an engineer had to upgrade the firmware. Without the upgrade, apparently we could have loaded all our data onto the disks and lost the lot due to a random glitch within a matter of a few days.

And this firmware bug apparently made it all the way through testing and QC. *shakes head*

We then, over the course of the next year, had to bring the system out of service about once a month for more firmware updates.
That's wonderful. Truly impressive.


You'd be amazed at how little there is of this to go wrong, though, and it still does. Two of them, in fact.
We've actually come to expect this with software, Windows releases a product announces it doesn't work properly and expects us to get the stuff and fix it ourselves, they don't do this at Ford ... yet.
We've actually come to expect this with software

I was going to say use GNU/Linux, but most GNU/Linux distributions have to release updated RPMs/DEBs/$their_distro's_packages to address bugs and exploits too. I think the difference is in the ease of installing the updates and in the speed at which they appear once a bug is discovered − usually days rather than weeks. Also generally with a Linux-kernel-based OS, the chances of a buggy application taking the entire computer down with it are very slim.

they don't do this at Ford … yet.

That would kill people, and then Ford would get sued, which they don't want.
I generally assume that open source stuff is of better quality because it's less restricted by launch dates and similar business imperatives.
Did you end up banging your heads off a desk? I would have done. That's just cretinous.