Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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.


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.



Win XP

Saturday, 22nd March, 2014

XP support ends in a couple of weeks so…

How is your (personal) migration project coming along?

We still have a few XP machines at home, and I think I might have a win 2k one somewhere. I won’t be upgrading updating them. We never use them anyway. I sort of wish I picked up a Win 7 licence before the latest Windows Lemon was released.

I read an article that banks are considering Linux for cashpoint software. Well about time!! Those things only have half a dozen options, why indeed have a fully featured fully licensed OS? Although I guess they are getting more options (top up phone, and some random other options I can’t remember spring to mind).

I also read the NHS are negotiating an XP extension. And if MS did a U turn in the face of pubic pressure it wouldn’t be the first time. They are offering a 100USD bribe to encourage XP holdouts to buy a win8 machine. I can’t see that working – they would need to pay me much more than 60 quid to use that time sink.

So are you still on XP or something older/newer/different?

Infopap re-envisioned

Thursday, 6th February, 2014

MS have announced that infopath will soon be pining for the fjords.

I always found infopath as the perfect demonstrations of how MS have no clue how most people actually use their software.

I have never actually met anyone outside Microsoft (or Contoso :-)) that has ever used it.

I read an interesting article recently about keyboards. Hopefully we all know that the current ones really aren’t very good, and for example Dvorak layout is more efficient. Anyway the article was a plea to people to stop developing new and novel keyboards and focus on making the current ones as good as they can be. The argument being that although they are poor at least they are consistent. New designs and layouts just cause cognitive friction because people always end up using more than one. (eg at work and at home)

(I use about 5 mildly different layouts which really is a pain in the arse. Worse one of my phones is qwerty and one is qwertz.)

Microsoft would do well (under its ‘new’ leadership) to optimise the way people actually use their products rather than trying to dictate their (mostly wrong) view of the best way.

I assume they will continue to recruit inexperienced graduates and lock them in airless rooms in ivory towers to imaginate new ways of doing stuff instead of rebuilding their ties with actual real world user communities. These were the ties Ballmer destroyed. The people who had already found the better workaround for product limitations.

I’m expecting more pointless products rather than a new round of MSDN roadshows!

Are you a big infopath user?

what do you use it for?



About those jobs…

Wednesday, 29th January, 2014

Looks like I picked the wrong time to specialise in financial services IT:

Lloyds cull

Barclays cull

And those are just the public ones…

So I guess FinServs isn’t going to be leading us out of the depression then?

Excel VBA certainly isn’t, at least not according to the IT job boards, I suspect the business ones tell a different tale.

Maybe its time to consider a move to the darkside? (permie – although as shown above that is largely illusionary).




Apple v Microsoft again

Tuesday, 7th January, 2014

Both Apple and Microsoft now make portable computing devices without keyboards, sometime called iPads or fake iPads.

Its Christmas (ish), both companies are trying to encourage sales (I think!!)

Apple have a lovely ad with cool music, lots of beautiful people (like our ExcelDevCon attendees:

rachdevconfvsml). Lots of narrow depth of field, cool lifestyle type shots. All in all quite aspirational.

Microsoft have got some unattractive grey bloke sitting in a grey office banging on about MS Office.

The contrast couldn’t be sharper.

Now I love MS Office – I’ve made a living from it since before the internet, but I don’t think its going to be the defining factor in Christmas tablet sales. Longer term, for IT departments, maybe, but for consumers for Xmas? no.

I really think MS need to sack off their advertising agency, and most of their margeting department and get some folks who know what they are doing. Like this guy, he could fix their image issues, probably.

Or at least they should sponsor my extreme spreadsheeting series.

Do you think Microsoft has an image problem?



Milk a joke

Wednesday, 18th December, 2013

Pen behind the ear…

Ipads and Sharepoint

Thursday, 12th December, 2013

I would say that iPads are good for content consumption, not so great for content creation. I’m thinking more of business type stuff rather than cat videos. Feel free to disagree and tell us why in the comments.

Sharepoint is ok for organising content but not so great at creating it. You can create apps for sure, and you can host Excel Services apps etc. But much of the list type functionality is related to organising existing resources like spreadsheets and word docs.

Both of these two are large growth stories.

Years ago at an Office Developer Advisory Council meeting (way back, when MS had a clue) Biggus Dickus made the point that they seemed to be focusing on managing content rather than creating it. And how was all this stuff for Sharepoint lists going to get created in the first place?

I understand the current fashion is collaboration and consumption. But surely at some point people will realise that there needs to be content creation too, or all you are sharing and consuming is old shit. Panda videos from 2004 are just as funny as current ones (as confirmed by you’ve been framed almost every night it seems). But that energy arbitrage opportunity? Bit different in 2013…

Maybe I am just missing all the ads for these content creator jobs, but most of what I see could be classed as re-presenting the same pap in a different way or different client (bloody browsers – I have even seen jobs for Silverlight – I thought that died years ago and both people who had used it had already migrated to Java?).

I realise that up and down the country there are people every day slogging away creating business insight with Excel/Access and even VBA. But I am just not seeing anything like the level of jobs there was say 1-2 years ago, and not enough to sustain the output. Maybe content creation has hit critical mass and the current creator workforce are creating enough to keep everyone consuming and collaborating for the foreseeable? (my, that sentence had a lot of c words in it)

Do you worry that creating (business) content to share in the future seems to be in terminal decline?

And if not, then what tools are they using? (because it sure as shit isn’t MS Office)



Apple v Google

Sunday, 3rd March, 2013

Santa was very generous at Smurf towers this year. Especially considering how some people hadn’t really delivered on their blog updates and conference organising commitments.

I got a Nexus 7 tablet and a ipod touch. In that order.


The Nexus 7 was the worst unboxing set up experience of my young geek life. That thing is infested with Google spyware and intrustive ads. horrible. and technically impossible to use due to retarded set up requirements. (you need to go on line to set it up, but it wouldn’t let me set up a functioning internet connection with the hotel wifi. totally shit. You can’t move files on and off it via USB (in Linux). Maybe you can now several months on with some faff, but really that stuff should work out of the box. and it just did not. at all.

Google forced me to set up a new user ID whose credentials I promptly forgot. They now want me to pay them to retrieve them. Seriously. I have to pay for a password reset? Foook off.

So when Google are bragging about how Google+ has passed 1% of facebooks popularity and swiftly heading for 1.1%, bear in mind 90% of those accounts are probably zombie accounts that no one can access. Raahbish.

I used it for a few hours then I put it away and now it just weighs my bag down. It must be close to 2 months since I turned the thing on. total waste of money, not to mention the scamful cover farce with the PCWorld sharks (Yes I was so desperate to own this revolutionary piece of tech I bought from PCW!). 10 quid discount on the cover, oh, but its by internet rebate. no sorry forgot to mention there is a 3 page form to fill in. Serves me right, but lesson learned.

Compare and contrast with my iplop touche…

Great set up, limited spam, same games my kids play (their high scores tend to be min 10x mine!) and Facetime. Pur-lease – this is truly the killer app here, and all tucked away in Apples walled garden.

Our whole family is facetiming all our family and friends. Also since a few high profile kid/credit card haemorrhages its now quite simples to set up an Apple account without registering a credit card.

In retrospect I think there is a lot of sense in buying hardware from a hardware company that know what they are. If you buy from an ad pimp they are always going to be scouring through your most personal activities looking for the opportunity  to sell you Excel consultancy services!

I notice Google won’t even search properly any more unless you are logged in so they can record your every move. They are now a truly creepy company. I know they bypassed Msft’s market cap in 2012 (as predicted) but they are getting a little too crap and too heavy handed for my liking, as well as creepy and intrusive.

I know lots of people are waiting for Apple to founder, and iPhone 5 seemed to be pretty close, but whilst they have a huge stock of mini fanbois on ipod touches desperate for iPhones I think they are fairly safe.

Unlike Blackerry. My BB Bold has been the most unreliable phone I have ever owned (and I had one of those truly shitty motorola droids), everytime I unlock the screen its hit or miss if the thing is alive. I have even been contemplating replacing it with an iPhone! imagine that!!

I could probably sell or palm off my nexus, iplop and BB and scrape together enough to buy an old secondhand not too battered iPhone. Or not.

So in summary:

Google: creepy crap, Blackberry: unreliable crap, Apple: actually quite expensively good at the mo.

Have you enjoyed or endured any tech updates recently?



the only spreadsheet angle here would be the fact that if any of this tech has a spreadsheet app, I haven’t tried it, or felt the need to. Anyone thinking of implementing newly draconian office app licensing might want to think about that…

Drinks venue Tue 5th Feb 6:30pm

Sunday, 3rd February, 2013

Here ya go:

Henrys bar

Unit C, West India Quay, London E14 4AX

Lets meet up here around 6:30-/7:00 on this Tuesday the 5th Feb, for a few drinks.

If you have been before you know the score, if you are thinking of coming for the first time please do, we don’t bite. We are easy to spot

Topics of conversation:

  1. why that lazy arse Simon hasn’t sorted our conference out yet.
  2. whats the point of Office 365
  3. Why didnt we arrange to meet up on Ann Summers night?
  4. current state of the Excel/VBA/.net/SQL market
  5. Any other biz

See you there



Rate cut rumours

Sunday, 3rd February, 2013

Just as we thought we might be surfacing from our double dip depression, news hits that we are entering a triple (great for vodka or pastis (or both ;-))), not so great for the economy.

That might explain the rumour of that one large financial crimes institute (whose name rhymes with car keys) has just lopped 10% off contractor rates. I assume the management has identified a significant benefit to pissing off all the productive workers.

It seems I was mistaken in seeing the green shoots of recovery on Jobserve. In fairness there has been a few sub 200 per day jobs that required the earth, or perhaps its the same one with all the agencies taking it in turns to try and fill.

Its coming up the contract expiry time for me so I’m watching this sort of stuff closely, and also a little preoccupied, in case you are wondering why the conf etc has not progressed. I need to see where I am likely to be in March before finalising details.

Pub details for Tue to follow