The Register rejoices in the fairly unusual status of having a remarkably clueful readership. This article - a database professional's evaluation of the massive screwup whereby a U.K. government agency lost personal (including banking) details of nearly half the nation's population in the post - is a gem, but the comments are even better. The article suggested that the agency's protestations that removing unnecessary fields from the data before sending it would have been prohibitively expensive are tosh, with the author saying that he would estimate about half a day's work, at a cost of £500, to do the work. A commenter pointed out that this is only in the world of sense. In the world of government / business, it goes something more like this:
"I think that there might be a markup put on your work as well as some overhead of writing the requirements, formulating the demand for extra IT work when costs are being reduced, 5 layers of management to get the request approved after choosing the appropriate budget line, possibly a committee or two to pass through, then the costed proposal from the outsourcer, the quality plan for the work, fully detailed PERT chart, test specifications, approval process, proposed modifications to service level agreements, approval of tea breaks (oops, only kidding) etc. etc. etc.
Techies like you make things sound EASY. ;-))"
Would be funny if it weren't true...
I've been playing Super Mario Galaxy for the last week or so. Every time I play a main series Mario game I'm struck again by how unreasonably far ahead of the curve Nintendo still is when it comes to pure game design. I have never played a game made by any other company which produces so much pure enjoyment from ridiculously simple designs. I'm just incredibly impressed that you can give a Nintendo designer a set of blocks and a couple of enemy's with AI about two lines of code long and they can come up with about seven thousand different puzzles that will leave you grinning stupidly and playing till 4 a.m. without even noticing it. I've played games that are as good as Galaxy, but never in quite the same way, and never with quite the same level of pure simplicity. Anyone with a Wii must go buy it right now, and if you don't have a Wii, consider getting one.
I made chocolate spread yesterday. This would probably be incredibly easy with a food processor, but I feel rather embarrassed using any cooking gadget which my grandmother managed to live without till well into her 80s, so my method involved crushing chocolate chunks and roasted hazelnuts together with a mortar and pestle. I've never had bruises on my palms before. Tastes good, though.