Archive for the ‘Spreadsheet’ Category

Ageism

Tuesday, 5th June, 2018

is real

well I bet that’s what those lawyers hope anyway.

I bet you thought it was just me being a grumpy bad loser, but no, its true, no one wants to employ unmanageable grumpy old farts who won’t do what they are told by inexperienced buzzword bingoistas. Or maybe that’s just me??

Talking of which is anyone having issues with pivot table refreshes being slooooow in Excel 2016?

Excel 2016 is breathtakingly slow, I keep having to remind myself it is actually meant to be production code, not alpha. Or maybe my new lapper is not up to the job.

I heard Cray were the only ones certified ‘Ready for Office 2016’, and maybe Big Blue?(The IBM tompooter not the epic Blackpool big dipper ride). Its a big investment just to manage shopping lists…

btw – today I have mainly been doing doing XLM in Excel 2016. Get in!

(Thank you Excel team for your consistently epic backwards compatibility story)

You know you are on the long tail when Google insists on ‘correcting’ your technology.

XML my arse

Cheers

simon

 

 

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AI – artificial intelligence or absolute idiocy?

Tuesday, 29th May, 2018

I’m not on faceache as I have a life, but I was busy on losergram for a while.

I went on recently to see they have ‘improved’ the relevancy of the feed. ie its completely repetitive samey stuff now.

If I like 1 picture of trees, all I see is trees. but I already liked my tree picture for the day, now I want to see other things.

Apparently pootube is the same, they re moving from a simple time based list to ‘targeted’ and/or customised lists from channels.

We are all being trapped by prior choices with no clear way to see something new. It reminds me of two things

1. All this GDPR stuff – lots of people have highlighted how ‘targeted’ adverts only ever show them things they already bought, and are therefore absolutely not in the market for.

and 2. When Microsoft introduced the ribbon with ‘context awareness’ – it showed you commands relevant to what you had just done, not what you were about to.

So, for me as these systems become more aware, developers misuse that the make them more stupid, and more irrelevant.

Its just arrogance, these people think that because they have a bit of info on what we have done in the past they can predict with worthwhile accuracy what we currently want. Whilst that may be the case (very) occasionally, it really isn’t often enough for their systems’ positives to outweigh the trapped echo chamber negatives.

So for me, Absolute Idiocy.

 

FoxPro

Thursday, 24th May, 2018

I thought VBA was old and outdated. Then I just saw a job for a foxPro developer.

Now *that* is a blast from the past.

(2007 apparently)

 

Excel Javascript UDFs

Tuesday, 8th May, 2018

“Office developers have been wanting to write JavaScript custom functions for many reasons,” Microsoft says,

My Arse!

I remain sceptical of the whole webbification of Excel. It started with the Toytown UI in 2007 and just keeps going downhill.

MS have been trying to tempt mainstream developers to Excel forever, and have completely consistently completely and utterly failed. I doubt chucking a bit of javascript at it will have web devs thronging in either.

Here is a fact:

Office development is just not ‘sexy’.

‘sexy’ is pointless navel gazing arguing about ‘is a’ v ‘has a’ (inheritance v composition)

‘sexy’ is arguing whether your new pointless feature should be a property or a method, and then arguing about whether to put it in a concrete class or create a new abstract base class to inherit from so you can also tick the polymorphic box in your 60 line sort routine. (don’t even think about range.sort – are you mad??)

getting the work done quickly with no drama is just not, not now, not ever again seemingly, ‘sexy’.

It used to be appealing, now? not so much.

It might be that some Excel devs do see value in js, I think a genuine focus on a more mainstream language (than VBA) could be useful. I think friction free access to the whole web infrastructure could be good (web queries are excellent, as far as they go). Python would be more use than javascript I think.

So, No I do not believe for one second that ‘Office developers have been wanting to write JavaScript’.

But Microsoft consistently misses the markĀ  – they need to target existing Office devs and give them what they actually want, not web devs and not Visual Studio devs. Whatever happened to VSTA? does VSTO still exist?

I’m not totally ranting here, when I was on the Office Developer Advisory Panel for Office 2010 we said exactly this – give us a decent IDE. what did we get? the Toytown UI! They eventually disbanded the panel, probably cos they were sick of all the greybeards refusing to sing from the koolaid hymn sheet.

If there was a decent IDE for Office development every aspect would improve, regardless of the language (even brainfuck or fetlang!).

But Microsoft don’t want to give Office developers what they want, they want Office developers to want whatever shallow gimmick Microsoft wants to play with this week. Which hasn’t been pragmatic, getting the job done stuff, or respect for old/working stuff since the MSDN generation took over from the Raymond Chen school of thought over a decade ago.

Probably… I do most of my spreadsheeting in LibreOffice these days, and developing in IntelliJ, so what do I know!

LinkedIn Zombie account

Thursday, 3rd May, 2018

I shut my LinkedIn account down last year as I didn’t like their new terms of service.

Imagine my surprise then to get an invitation today from another user to connect.

I was also able to update my account preferences, for an account that should not exist, that I can’t log into. But still receives invites?

Has anyone actually managed to get off there? can people still see my profile?

I thought I had deleted my account apparently its just pining for the fjords!!

I can feel a GDPR violation report brewing….

cheers

simon

 

spurious correlations

Tuesday, 1st May, 2018

I assume you all know 90% of statistics are made up, but I was delighted to find some great examples of co-related variables. That aren’t.

I can’t remember now, but when I studied stats I seem to recall an R value of over 0.9 or so being suggestive of a high correlation (but not causation). I guess it depends too on sample size etc. etc.

Anyway here is great website with enough doubtful correlations to calm down even the most ardent pointy haired boss on a ‘data driven mission’ to do something retarded.

Have fun, and don’t eat too much cheese.

Spreadsheets ahead of the game

Monday, 19th March, 2018

I am fairly regularly bombarded with negative news about spreadsheets. Excel in multimillion pound error, Excel causes wrong contract choice, etc etc.

I get it, spreadsheets have errors…like most things.

Anyway, on my quest to understand why something as ridiculous as Object Oriented programming has pervaded our world I came across this, which paints spreadsheets in a much more positive light (IMO) .

A video where Simon P-J, (a Microsoft boffin), points outs something I have been bleating on about for a while – that Excel is the most widely used Functional programming language in the world.

If you don’t know what functional programming is, it’s the future. OO was vaguely useful for one or two specific use cases in the 80’s, but in the modern world, apart from those selling books or consulting on how to make OO less completely shit, most people are recognising Functional approaches as more useful.

Functional programming is what we do in a spreadsheet grid, a key tenant of which is no side effects, which is why UDFs have such limitations on what they can do. Although I notice Ms has opened these up a little in recent times.

So anyway, when all the propeller heads from IT are moaning about spreadsheets, its probably because they are locked into a 1980s paradigm and don’t understand our functional approach.

Bless…

2018 UK Excel meet up/conference

Sunday, 25th February, 2018

Would anyone be interested in an Excel related conference in the UK this year?

Probably summer time, probably that London, probably one day (with pissups before and after hopefully). Cost – unclear, probably between 50 and 200 gbp depending on numbers and the type of event. (the room I hired in 2012 has gone up in price 1,000%!, for real – 10x more expensive now!!!)

It could be user focused or developer focused (state your preference)

It could be classic Excel, on stuff that works on every version for the past 15/20 years, or it could be on the new stuff in 2013 and 2016 (again state your preference)

No promises, but if there is enough interest a few of us might try to get something organised.

At this stage we are just trying to gauge interest (do we need a phone box or the Albert Hall?)

So if you might be interested please leave a comment. (no commitment (either way))

Venue suggestions welcome too.

ta muchly

 

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

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