If you’ve been keeping up with current events you’ll know I’ve had an IT glitchathon over the past couple of weeks. The gateway on ReadWave has been misbehaving. I can’t work out if the error message BAD GATEWAY is a statement or an admonishment to the site. ‘Bad Gateway! Naughty Gateway! Go to your basket.’

Facebook has been playing up too, though most of you will know this is nothing new, since they continue to tinker with it, upgrade it, and it gets screwed. I can log onto my account, read my news feed, but on some machines I can’t write comments. Well, I can, but I can’t send them.

Then Microsoft did its usual trick of forcing some updates on me even though I didn’t want them. It took me long enough to get things working as I wanted without them updating and then knackering my system. It was like being back in the Neolithic era till I got things back to normal.

All this is a mere inconvenience, caused by some geek somewhere dickering about and making my life more difficult. It pales into insignificance compared with the recent goings on at the Ministry of Defence.

Some idiot tried to upgrade Microsoft Office across the network. This was always going to be problematic, because Office is a huge sprawling mishmash of functions that nobody really needs or uses, and is hence hideously complicated. Any change is bound to f*** something up. And so it proved at the MoD.

There was, to quote a source, a ‘clusterfuck’ that took down most or all email communications across the whole MoD network for nearly all of September and October. Soldiers, sailor, airmen, and their support staff were frequently left with no access to work computers. Things got so bad that there was even a special task force sent in to try to sort things out.

A spokeswoman played things down a bit, as spokespeople giving bad news tend to do. ‘There has been no adverse impact on the critical business of the department.’ This raises the awkward question that if that is indeed the case, why do they have the system in the first place, and why put a task force in place to fix it?

By the way, George ‘Hatchetman’ Osborne is trying to wrest back £40M the MoD has been allocated to build four new submarines. He reckons the MoD can’t be trusted to bring that project in on time and on budget. Much as it pains me to say this, I may just agree with him.

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