Archive for October, 2012

First snow of winter

Saturday, 27th October, 2012


Its not exactly dumping it down I accept, or even settling in fact.

But still might be time to service my snowboard and get the snow tyres on the smurfmobile.

And think about a Excel dev con in Jan perhaps? (in Villars??)

By popular request the Jan 2013 conference will be in Gangnam style.

I used my 2012 xldevcon brolly this am watching the kids play footy in the pishing rain before it turned to oh so cool snow). Ross was right brollies are much better than teeshirts. What goodies shall we do this year?

Also have a think about topics you would like covering…



ps. divvent forget the crass stupidity that is clock changing is coming tonight to mess up sleeping patterns everywhere. And flight schedules apparently.

Duct tape devs

Wednesday, 10th October, 2012

I read this article by Joel recently.

I consider myself to be a bit of a one of these. I am more interested in getting something live than making something beautiful. The article gave me some reassurance after a crap interview I had recently.

Hands up, it was my fault, I did interview spectacularly badly (well in one part anyway). But as well as my own pish poor performance I also think I touched a few comedy raw nerves.

It was a technical C# interview, I had already totally cocked up the on-line C# test because I am not anal or obsessed with language history (and I am a bit rusty on C#, having been back on pure Excel/VBA/Oracle for a while). And bear in mind this was a multiskill role (with heavy energy trading business focus as well as technical), not some pure C# nerdathon.

Anyway the interviewer asked me if I had used linq, yes, I said but I thought it was a bit pointless. His eyes went wide in shock, he was dumbfounded. So much so that I had to check we were talking about the same linq (language integrated query). we were. As far as I am aware many devs would consider the database a better place to do the queries. Yes, if you have created a textbook multilevel mulit inheritance, multi interface, hierarchical nightmare you might be too far gone to do it in the DB. I am totally sure there are plenty of scenarios where it is useful, and equally plenty of times other techniques are at least as good. I’ve only dabbled with it so I could be wrong.

Then he asked me about design patterns, so I answered (honestly) that I tend to write fairly simple code, try to avoid inheritance and complex class hierarchies. More shock.

He asked me some other stuff I can’t remember but I am fairly sure I got that 100% wrong by his criteria, and 100% right by the duct tape programmer description.

It only just dawned on me that C# was his life, I am sure he has managed to squeeze every single C#/.net feature into one of his projects somehow. And is proud of that. Definitely in the 34% sparklier gang. Me, I’ll churn out the same old pap that I know works time and time again, unless I am sure there is time and justification for blue sky thinking.

No wonder he was traumatised when I suggested something he loved was ‘a bit pointless’. At least he didn’t ask me about silverlight or he would have got both barrels.

This interview made me realise I don’t want to be a ‘pure’ C# developer, in that rarefied atmosphere where technology is more important than solving business problems.

I want to use the cool tools IT departments get like VS, SQL Server, Toad etc, but I want to be with the business fixing the pain points (with the techs they rely on (Excel/Access/VBA/.net etc)).

which are you sparklier or dact tape?



Rad Dev drinks next tue in Canary Wharf

Tuesday, 9th October, 2012

A few of us Excel/RAD devs are meeting up next Tue (16th Oct) at All Bar One in Canary wharf from 7pm.

You don’t need to be very radical (eg open toed sandals and white socks might be tooo much). Even Delphi devs are welcome (and Access devs… if there are any left). In fact you don’t even need an interest in Excel, VBA, development or RAD, just an interest in drinking is fine.

Its just social drinks, as technical as you can get in the the pub after 10 pints.

Leave a comment or drop me a line if you are up for it. If you want to come along later deffo let me know then I can update you if we move somewhere nice.



Blunderful spreadsheet caused West Coast Mainline bid fail

Sunday, 7th October, 2012

I just saw this.

They are talking about refunds to bidders totalling 40 million quid, partly caused by some craptastic spreadsheet.

Not sure if it was a domain knowledge error wrapped in a spreadsheet or a pure spreadsheet error. Either way I’m glad it was nothing to do with me!

Things are calming down at Codematic towers now so I might well bother my arse to post a bit more often. But in all honesty I don’t see me returning to the 40+ hours a week I was investing in posting here in it’s heyday.