Instagram

Friday, 9th February, 2018

On a more positive note (one of my teenage kids said I was acting like a stroppy teenager moaning about that recruitment process), one of my teenage kids (a different one) suggested I cross promote my Instagram here.

Bloody teenagers think they know everything!!

Anyway for 2018 I am aiming to post 1 pic per day to my instagram account. I am mainly doing black and white landscapes, if you are interested…

My account is here.

Here are a couple of my favourite images to give you an idea

Birds fly. Vevey. Infrared

A post shared by simon (@simurphyphoto) on

and

More infrared mountains

A post shared by simon (@simurphyphoto) on

Feel free to not bother

(There is no spreadsheet angle to this post at all)

cheers

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VBA test exercise

Tuesday, 6th February, 2018

I have just been offered the opportunity to do a VBA test (“should take no more than 3 hours”!) for the chance to get an interview… for a 3 month contract!

I didn’t find out how many had been selected for the ‘opportunity’. I could have been 1 of 2 or 3, or 1 of 2-3,000. I would guess 10-20? that’s a lot of people wasting 3+ hours

I told them to do one obviously, but I couldn’t help taking a peek at the exercise and scoping it out (wasting a ton of time which I am annoyed at myself for doing, but there you go).

I could do a pretty half arsed job of it in 3 hours, but to do it properly and considering some of the ‘peripheral’ elements (date integrity, error handling etc) there is no way I could do it to what I would consider an acceptable standard in 3 hours. Add the fact that some of the specs were wrong (do I do as per spec or what I think is correct?) and it was at least a full days work.

Bearing in mind this is a test, that will be reviewed so needs to look the part not just functional.

Perhaps if I had ready to go VBA libraries and components I could cobble them together within the timescales. But who has loads of libraries they actually have the right to use? I have a lots of stuff from all the codematic and xlanalyst stuff, but the bulk of the code I have written belongs to clients. (and some of the more useful stuff appears to only be in C, C++ or C#)

The other red flag was advice to do it in a object oriented way. IN A NON OO LANGUAGE FFS!

This may be contentious, but Object Oriented in Excel VBA is utterly retarded. Fact!

(There may be some exceptions but if you are combining data and operations in VBA ‘objects’, what are you using the Excel grid for? Or are you duplicating all that data?)

So I have a few problems with this company’s recruitment process:

  1. Its unduly burdensome on the potential candidates
  2. The timescales are for an amateur standard hack
  3. pre-built components may not be owned by candidates
  4. OO approach smacks of boys playing at being men.
  5. Spec was vague and incorrect
  6. Required effort will put off many candidates
  7. Some of whom might be ideal but too busy to risk 3+ hours
  8. 3+ hours for a chance of an interview for a 3 month contract is a very poor risk return compared to the rest of the job market.
  9. 3+ hours feels more like they want hobbyists rather than professionals.
  10. lack of respect for candidates time doesn’t bode well for the future role

I mentioned it to one of my contractor mates: “for free? fuck that”.

precisely!

 

Freelancer sites

Friday, 22nd December, 2017

I had a little sniff around the freelancer sites again, as I do from time to time…

Previously I have excluded rentacoder as they wanted to install some spyware on my pc so ‘clients’ could check what I was doing.

This time I actually registered on PeoplePerHour a few days ago. I just deactivated, over my short residence I was unable to decide if it was just a giant scam or not.

I realise that as the service provider we are the ‘stock’ of these sites but when the freelancer site has more, and more onerous, terms and conditions than an investment banking employment contract, shits messed up. right? Their T&Cs maybe aren’t quite as long as Apples, but run it close.

On Pph you have to pay to send a proposal to a someone offering a project. You get a few credits initially, but then you have to pay real cash money. The proposal needs firm costs, unless its an hourly rate project. So…

When the full and complete project description is:

“I need android app developing”

How much would you quote? Would you pay money (even toy money) to apply? (I might be doing something wrong here – 30 other people have already applied)

Then pph take 25% of the fee you quote the seller (upto 500 per month, a bit less after – but its hard to see how you could earn more than 500, tbh. Maybe that’s a skillset thing?). Most UK agencies take less than that these days, and they provide a bit more (just) than a contacts website.

Like RAC, Pph are obsessed with keeping all comms on site – of course, it would be so easy for people to connect there and then take the project offsite and keep their 25% cut. But the downside of that is as a supplier its hard to leverage non pph resources to differentiate. For example I can’t point people to codematic to suggest I know a bit about Excel dev. The fragility of this particular point I think, dooms these sites to long term failure. Certainly on a 25% cut.

If it was 5 or 10% and they were offering useful workflow and customer management tools then maybe, but at 25% the benefits of moving offsite will be irresistible for too many I think.

I had been advising people to use these sites to build up experience and a visible portfolio, but now, having done so I don’t think I would again.

Do you have suggestions for better freelancer sites?

Define better? supplier friendly, reasonable rates, sustainable process, significant work opportunities, reasonable T&Cs.

cheers

simon

Agile

Wednesday, 20th December, 2017

If agile is so good, why do we need so many Agile coaches?

I see these roles advertised all the time and it makes me sad. Your development *process* is so involved you need a full time specialist just to show you how to do the *process*. Its mind numbing.

I have never seen a role for a RAD coach, waterfall coach, or an ad-hoc coach, or a slap-dash coach.

You have to be pretty sure your current process is beyond rubbish if you can justify a full-time equivalent overhead to coach your team in the new way. Will they really deliver so much better software so much faster than if you recruited another dev to your current process?

Plus the rates are amazing, nearly as good as SAP job-fer-lifing, another shitfest I aim to avoid.

I won’t mention scum master, or scam master because I just can’t bear to talk about scrum its so retarded. Well maybe it isn’t when properly applied to an appropriate project, I have seen more unicorns. Mind that’s another well paid zero value none job, of which there seems to be more and more.

Shame no one seems to want Rapid Application Development any more, even if it was sometime a bit more slow app dev. Hey ho.

Happy xmas if I can’t be arsed to post again before the big day. :-)

cheers

simon

Unicycle manager

Friday, 15th December, 2017

I REALLY need to update my glasses.

I do actually have a unicycle – but I am rubbish on it. Or more accurately near it, as I am rarely on it for long.

Anyway its not that relevant for a LIFEcycle manager role.

Good job I spotted that before sending my application!

Gods own football team

Wednesday, 6th December, 2017

Not content with being 11th in the 2012 Olympic medals table, Gods Own County is launching it’s own international football team.

Class.

There is already a Tour de Yorkshire, where will it end?

Next of all they will have international arrest warrants out for the council on charges of sedition and rebellion.

 

 

Universal apps

Sunday, 26th November, 2017

That don’t include Office? What sort of universe is that? not any business universe that I have been in.

“Start building Universal Windows Platform apps”

That was the tag line from the MS Visual Studio site.

I finally managed to get their virtual machine working (it’s 40 Gb fully expanded, not 20). It has Visual Studio alright, but no Office. I am amazed that MS do not see Office as a development target, or at least not enough to put a copy on their development trial virtual machine. unbelievable.

I might chuck a 30 day Office 2010 trial on it, I think I have one on a pen drive somewhere. All the other stuff needs an MS account, which is just too much like going back in time.

In other news Android studio 3.0 is just out, with Kotlin as a first class language. All free, and easily accessible.

Anyone else had a play with the MS dev vm I mentioned a few days ago?

Well that was underwhelming

Saturday, 25th November, 2017

 

Bothered my arse to download their 20 gigs of pap, and lo it doesn’t work.

Unfortunately I have hit my buggering around limit now so the only outcome I can note is that I tried their Win 10 dev environment and it didn’t work. It was shit in fact. waste of my time. I’d like tuppence back for my bandwidth please…

I accept I have probably done something wrong but I didn’t see any instructions to ignore.

It’s now stuck on ‘importing windev eval’ been there for two hours. A fail.

 

Cutting Excel out of your process

Thursday, 23rd November, 2017

Some CFOs keen to see the end of Excel.

Why don’t these people understand? Excessive Excel is a symptom of crap systems. Normally caused by decades of underinvestment in IT and piss poor IT McMissManagement.

They made a cynical strategic decision to cut investment in IT and let end user ad-hoc analysis take up the slack. Now they want to eradicate (well hide) the symptom (well evidence).

And should the systems eventually catch up with requirements (even a little bit), those users have so little confidence in IT after decades of under delivery, and unreliability that they will continue to prefer their existing proven approach. surprisingly! (Thats assuming they are ever allowed sufficient access to do their job of course).

Anyone who thinks outsourcing and offshoring your IT will help this Excel eradication process, is a dumbarse. Not quite as dumb as the people who think the solution is a crack team of overpriced under-experienced fresh graduates posing as consultants, but nearly.

The obvious solution is a big integrated system, like say SAP. A couple of spotty yoofs should be able to get that up and running in a few weeks and it will solve everything. Even cheaper – get someone in a different timezone to do it. I would do it for them but I am tidying my sock drawer that day.

Its not a technology thing, putting your shitty inadequate systems in the cloud just make them less secure, and more available. And who needs more availability of crap data and irrelevant analysis?

The actual solution is a minimum of 10 years of high quality IT management to implement fit for purpose systems. So start today and in 2027 you will be sorted, call it 2028 to give you a few months to recruit that high quality management.

Free Win 10 Developer virtual machine

Tuesday, 21st November, 2017

Our good friends at Microsoft are giving away time limited virtual machines with Win 10 and VS2017 on board. They expire mid Jan so don’t get locked out.

Its for developers to get up to speed with the latest and greatest. However there is no mention of full fat Office. So I guess its not for ALL developers. Unless its a given that developers need a proper office suite not a mickey mouse online one.

I’ll download it and take a proper look as soon as I find a device with 20 gigs of free space. If you look first let us know if it has proper Office with VBA (If so I might delete a load of shite off here to get it up and running)

cheers