new lapper

Monday, 25th June, 2018

In an alarming and uncharacteristic case of actually doing what I said I would I just pulled the trigger on a new(ish) lapper.

I went for a Dell xps, I got a windas one rather than linux cos I can just partition it anyway. That way if I need to work slooowly or pick up viruses I can use windas.

Theoretically it should be smaller lighter and faster than this cackbook, we’ll see… It would be nice also if it didn’t run so hot, and maybe if the battery lasted more than 20 mins – one can but hope…

I was mainly persuaded to update my Microsoft world as I am back doing a decent amount of ExcelDNA development. And I am currently working on a big 2010-2016 migration and my spidey senses tell me that might not be a bad career move for the next 12m or so.

Don’t take it as a vote of approval for the latest Microsoft creations. I think Windows 10 and Office 2016 are utterly shit. But they are still popular. Whenever I am working in this new stuff I just feel like I am using something a 13 year old ‘designed’. All valueless whistles and bells no core features or performance. I am astounded every day by just how slow and unresponsive it is, for simple stuff like opening a file. Often I have forgotten what I was doing by the time the dialog has deigned to appear. (I am knocking on though I guess..)

One (begrudging ;-) ) positive for MS though is the quality and amount of stuff they are finally giving away these days. A usable Visual studio – free, SQL server Express – a proper database – free, SQL Server Management Studio – free. Just need to put me hand in me pocket for Office, not bad at all. If Visual studio was as good as intelliJ I could almost convert. not. (Well maybe if they brought back the MSDN roadshows with those lovely little danish pastries)

Still chipping away at the Android too, I wasted a whole day not being able to find a completely stupid mistake I made the other day. It would be funny if I didn’t have so many better things to do with that wasted time. And I know I’ll do the same again (soon), perhaps with a different tech though.

cheers

simon

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Office Headshaker

Tuesday, 19th June, 2018

I’m working on Win10/Office 2016 these days, well I spend most of my time waiting for it. And shaking my head…

I was on the beta programs for Office 2007 and 2010 and those early betas were more reliable and performant than this ‘production’ 2016.

I have a feeling its a lot to do with Windows rather than Office, but my god its slow.

Alt tf to get options – 3 second wait before the dialog come up. Alt f11 for VBA, 5 seconds before the editor lethargically appears.

I know I am not on a super computer, but its not a total lemon either, a perfectly serviceable corporate machine. Or it would be without this combo.

10 seconds to open Excel, but its all forgiven because they have animated the activecell movement when you change selections.

10 seconds to open Word but its all ok, they animate the carriage return…

for real…

In ye olden days I had a dumb terminal onto a mainframe across a phone line that was more responsive.

All the animations made me sick, and not just because of the wasted cycles, so I turned it off in Windoze settings. Does some Microsoft UX expertidiot really fucking think people want to watch the computer slooowly respond to basic commands, slooowly???

Its like back in the day when we didn’t turn screenupdating off so it looked like we were doing the work manually instead of tossing it off in a little netscape window to geocities and alta vista.

Today alone I had five 10 minute plus application freezes, Excel, SQL Server Management studio, notepad++, and some other stuff. And Windoze Explorer crashed. This is what makes me think its at least as much a Windows problem as Office.

I was thinking I might consider a wondows lapper next now macbooks are shit, but it looks like it would be unusably slow or uncarriably heavy and bulky (and probably too powerful for a battery so coming with a 50m power cable on a reel). Never mind their ridiculous intrusive prove you’re not a pirate, frequently, features.

So maybe it will be a linux Dell finally, as system 76 only offer US keyboards (and sticker sets for johnny foreigners (like me)).

Unless you have a better suggestion for a (non wonkdoze) laptop?

How is your win10 Office 2016 experience?

cheers

simon

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

 

 

stackoverflow dev survey 2018

Thursday, 31st May, 2018

Is out now, here.

Its really interesting (if you are a developer, or interested in that sort of thing), loads of interesting details to avoid work

a few highlights

  • Most Dreaded Platform – Sharepoint. ha ha ha ha hahahah
  • 2nd most loved language – Kotlin. Agreed, this is the best language I have ever used.
  • About 7% of devs are over 45 – maybe that’s because no one loves us…
  • The UK has the highest proportion of independent devs. Germany the most part time.
  • Functional languages pay the biggest bucks, especially in the US
  • Javascript, the most common language, is also the worst paid.
  • Most devs want to stay in dev or do a start up, few want to go into management.
  • 50% of devs use a standing desk. ‘Have used once’ I could believe, but 50%? regularly? I’m slightly dubious on this one.
  • Everyone is doing (fr)Agile or Scum.
  • Most devs are using git and generally check-in a few times a day
  • Mobile devs are almost the worst paid (another great career choice from me)

and finally, as per last year I think….

  • Most dreaded Language – VB – any flavour!

Again

I must admit, although I use SO a lot, I don’t really participate. Most of the questions have better answers than I could provide and there are a few too many milk monitors.

I did have a poke around their job site for a while looking for remote jobs. There weren’t many and the search seemed a bit random. I got my latest job from Jobserve as usual, not remote, also as usual.

Have you got any SO insights?

cheers

simon

 

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)

 

GDPR phishing

Wednesday, 16th May, 2018

We are still a few days away from the data slurppocalypse and my inbox is bulging with ‘privacy improvements’ messages. All include links to log-in or sign up or learn more. Many from complete randoms.

In general I’m ignoring them, but it does seem a great opportunity for the ne’er-do-wells to do a bit of data slurping of their own.

stay safe…

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 mark  – 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!

Apple Engineering

Sunday, 6th May, 2018

I watched a great video recently about Apples engineering ‘quality’.

Its not very complementary.

But as I have changed 3 hard drive cables on my Macbook estate, and two have screen hinge problems, and on this current one the letter F keeps falling off… I have some understanding of his point of view.

Talking of crap keyboards…

Anyone feel the need to sign this to encourage a recall (yeah right!) of the latest Macbook pro with the slimline fragile keyboard?

I had vaguely thought of updating my machine but I really don’t think Macbooks provide what I want these days. So I need to find another supplier, who doesn’t insist on installing (and charging for) Windows. And who supplies Europe sensibly, with a suitable keyboard. No rush though…

cheers

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