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I thought VBA was old and outdated.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)

 

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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

 

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.

UK Excel event 2018

Wednesday, 25th April, 2018

Just a quick update as I realise I have not followed up on my request for interest for an Excel event from a month or two ago.

I personally have decided to step back from organising an Excel event this year, I am happy to help anyone else who wants to take it on. And happy to speak if needed.

No giant single alarm bells reason, just a few things that would make it overly hard.

  • I am not that involved in Excel much any more (I had expected to be more so)
  • I am a good few years out of date (stuck on Office 2010 (and Classique) for the (very) odd time I fire up a windows machine)
  • I am mega busy working on Android apps-  – which brings a lot of things that an Excel career could have delivered but didn’t (like working from home/anywhere, decent toolset, the Play store)
  • I have finally found a language that is better than VBA for getting stuff done – Kotlin.
  • The VBA IDE is sadder than a wet weekend in Brid (out of season) compared to IntelliJ.
  • The London venue that cost a few hundred quid last time now want a few thousand!

So, sorry to get everyones hopes up, I think there was just about enough interest on here to make an event viable if a suitable venue could be found. And plenty of people happy to speak, but just not something I can realistically take on at the moment.

cheers

simon

Eventbrite warning

Sunday, 22nd April, 2018

Someone recently mentioned using Eventbrite or similar for organising the next Excel Conf (I have not heard more, so no idea if anything is in the offing or not).

Their latest agreement that you sign up to (after reading carefully I’m sure) grants them (amongst other stuff) the right to enter your event , and pre and post setup/teardowns, take as much video and photos as they like of anything they like, for them to use whenever, where ever they like for ever!!!

That also means you grant them right to publish photos of any and all attendees any time any where.

Dunno if it applies in the UK/EU

Fuller details here

What an outrageous rights grab

Office 2016 Migration issues

Monday, 16th April, 2018

I have been doing some Office migration stuff recently and came across a couple of issues I wondered if anyone else has seen. and perhaps has a solution?

Word 2016

From time to time gets very upset at docs with form fields in and scatters the text all over the screen, like toys from a pram. Seems to be related to printing, possibly quick print, but printed docs come out fine. So it looks like the printer driver is upsetting the screen driver somehow. Swapping printers ‘fixes’ the issue. Anyone seen this?

Excel 2016

Application.getfilename manages to get a filename Excel can’t use? I have had to go and add a file type to the file saveas stuff, fair enough. But the (non null) file name is not acceptable??

I thinks this might be related to server paths or something?

(this is a remote project so troubleshooting is a bit of a challenge – any ideas?)

cheers

 

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…