How Strong Is Your Programming Language?

I write this with slight trepidation as I don’t want to provoke a "religious" discussion. I would appreciate comments focused on the engineering issues I have highlighted. I’m in the middle of learning some new programming tools and languages, and … Continue reading

Monday, March 20, 2017 in Agile & Architecture, Code & Development

Why I (Still) Do Programming

It’s an oddity that although I sell most of my time as a senior software architect, and can also afford to purchase software I need, I still spend a lot of time programming, writing code. Twenty-five years ago people a … Continue reading

Monday, March 6, 2017 in Agile & Architecture, Code & Development, Thoughts on the World

The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good

The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good. I’m not sure who first explained this to me, but I’m pretty sure it was my school metalwork teacher, Mr Bickle. Physically and vocally he was a cross between Nigel Green and … Continue reading

Monday, February 27, 2017 in Agile & Architecture, Myanmar Travel Blog, Thoughts on the World, Travel

Software Design Decoded

This is a delightful little book on the perennial topic of how a software architect should think and behave. While that subject seems to attract shorter books, this one is very concise – the main content is just 66 two-page … Continue reading

Tuesday, February 7, 2017 in Agile & Architecture, Reviews

Dozy Android

I’ve just spent a good couple of hours sorting out a problem with my new phone, which has no good reason to exist. In fairness to Sony, it’s nothing to do with them: the issue sits squarely with Google and … Continue reading

Sunday, January 22, 2017 in Android, Thoughts on the World

Mojo Not Within Normal Operational Parameters

I’m not sure I know why, but our leading hardware providers are definitely suffering a distinct deficiency in the Mojo department. Take Apple. I’m really very happy with my 2015 MacBook Pro, even though it was bloody expensive for what … Continue reading

Sunday, December 18, 2016 in Galaxy Note, Thoughts on the World

Form vs Function – a Tail :) of Three Mice

Just in case you think some of my recent posts have been a bit anti-Microsoft, here’s one in which (spoiler alert!) they win! Call me old-fashioned, but I very much prefer using a mouse to a trackpad or its relatives, … Continue reading

Friday, September 30, 2016 in Agile & Architecture, PCs/Laptops

The Colour Nazis

Once upon a time, not so long ago, there was a movement obsessed with removing colour, especially those whose skin colour or religious preference was different to their own. This went to great extremes, caused the greatest of all wars, … Continue reading

Wednesday, September 21, 2016 in Agile & Architecture, PCs/Laptops, Thoughts on the World

Microsoft : Busy Fixing What Ain’t Broke

There’s an interesting, but intensely annoying, behaviour by the big software companies, which as far as I’m aware has no parallel in other areas of production for consumer consumption. We’ve all been used, since the mid-20th century, to the concept … Continue reading

Monday, August 29, 2016 in Agile & Architecture, PCs/Laptops, Thoughts on the World

Conversion Challenges

I have an interesting challenge, as one of the projects I am working on want to stop their environments to save costs, but I need ongoing access to the data. I have a dump from an Oracle database, but I … Continue reading

Friday, August 12, 2016 in Code & Development

A Bit Stretched!

Apologies if there hasn’t been much activity on the blog lately. I’m deep into the invention of the expert system I wrote about previously, and that’s filling the relatively small brain of this bear, and not leaving much space for … Continue reading

Saturday, July 30, 2016 in Photography, Thoughts on the World, Website & Blog

Fashion Makes Doing IT Harder

I’m about to start building an expert system. Or maybe I might call it a "knowledge base", or a "rule based system". It’s not an "AI", as at least in its early life it won’t have any self-learning capability, but … Continue reading

Wednesday, July 6, 2016 in Agile & Architecture, Thoughts on the World

Does Your Broadband Beat a Carrier Pigeon?

There’s a famous quote "never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes bowling down a highway". Musing on this I decided to try and estimate the bandwidth of a carrier pigeon, given modern storage technology. According to … Continue reading

Friday, May 6, 2016 in Agile & Architecture, Thoughts on the World

My Travel Page

Some things don’t scale. You start off doing something, but before you know it it’s outgrown its usefulness and needs to change. So it is with website design… I started off with lists in a couple of places on this … Continue reading

Thursday, March 10, 2016 in Photography, Travel, Website & Blog

Backing Up

Coming up with a reliable backup policy is a challenge as data volumes grow. My approach is as follows. On a weekly basis I do a full backup of the system disk of the more "volatile" PCs in our collection, … Continue reading

Thursday, February 4, 2016 in PCs/Laptops, Photography, Santorini, Thoughts on the World

Weinberg’s New Law, and the Upgrade Cascade

When I started the experiment of running Windows on a MacBook (continued here and here), I really expected it to just be a "travel" laptop, continuing with something like my Alienware R17X as primary machine. That changed rapidly when I … Continue reading

Friday, January 22, 2016 in PCs/Laptops, Thoughts on the World

Platform Flexibility – It’s Alive!

The last post, written largely back in November and published just before Christmas suggested that camera manufacturers should focus on opening up their products as development platforms, much as has happened with mobile phones. While I can’t yet report on … Continue reading

Monday, January 4, 2016 in Agile & Architecture, Android, Code & Development, Photography, Thoughts on the World

Do We Want Product Development, or Platform Flexibility?

There’s been a bit of noise recently in the photography blogosphere relating to how easy it is to make changes to camera software, and why, as a result, it feels like camera manufacturers are flat out not interested in the … Continue reading

Tuesday, December 22, 2015 in Agile & Architecture, Code & Development, Photography, Thoughts on the World

SharePoint: Simply C%@p, or Really Complicated C%@p?

There’s a common requirement for professional users of online document management systems. Sometimes you want to have access to a subset of files offline, with the ability to upload changes when you have finished work and are connected again. Genuine … Continue reading

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 in Agile & Architecture, Code & Development, Thoughts on the World

The Software Utility Cycle

There’s a well-known model called the “Hype Cycle”, which plots how technology evolves to the point of general adoption and usefulness. While there are a lot of detail variants, they all boil down to something like the following (courtesy Wikipedia … Continue reading

Wednesday, September 30, 2015 in Agile & Architecture, Thoughts on the World

Can No-One Write A Good Book About Oracle SOA?

I’m frustrated. I’ve just read a couple of good, if somewhat repetitive, design pattern books: one on SOA design with a resolutely platform-neutral stance, and another on architecting for the cloud, with a Microsoft Azure bent but which struck an … Continue reading

Saturday, June 13, 2015 in Agile & Architecture, Reviews, Thoughts on the World

Cloud Design Patterns

This is a very useful introduction to key cloud concepts and how common challenges can be met. It’s also a good overview of how Microsoft technologies may fit into these solutions, but avoids becoming so Microsoft-centric that it becomes useless … Continue reading

Things Which Really Bug Me About the Kindle

I  read a lot using the Kindle applications for Android and PC. While there’s a lot which is good about that process there are a number of things which really bug me. Some of these look incredibly simple to resolve, … Continue reading

Tuesday, June 9, 2015 in Agile & Architecture, Thoughts on the World

Service Design Patterns

One of the most influential architecture books of the early 00s was Enterprise Integration Patterns by Gregor Hohpe and Bobby Woolf. That book not only provided far and away the best set of patterns and supporting explanations for designers of … Continue reading

Friday, June 5, 2015 in Agile & Architecture, Reviews

Next Generation SOA

This book sets out to provide a concise overview of the current state of, and best practices for, Service Oriented Architecture. While it may achieve that for some managerial readers, it is simultaneously too general for those with more background, … Continue reading

Thursday, May 28, 2015 in Agile & Architecture, Reviews

Standardising the Mac Keyboard

My MacBook Pro is, ironically, the best portable PC I’ve owned. The Big Old Alien is slightly faster and more powerful, but you’d never use the word "portable" about it without gritted teeth, and since the PC world went to … Continue reading

Wednesday, May 27, 2015 in PCs/Laptops, Thoughts on the World

Lotsa Changes!

I’ve taken advantage of a bit of spare time to sort out our web sites, and in particular fix a few things which didn’t work quite right after our enforced emergency upgrade in February. Hopefully you should see everything working … Continue reading

Thursday, May 14, 2015 in Website & Blog

Normal Service Being Resumed

Apologies to all for the interruption to our websites and email service around last weekend. My server was hacked and used to launch DDoS attacks, and had to be taken offline and rebuilt with the latest software versions. Fortunately I … Continue reading

Saturday, February 28, 2015 in Website & Blog

Efficient Fuzzy Matching at Word Level

I’ve just solved a tricky problem with what I think is quite an elegant solution, and thought it would be interesting to share it. I’m building a system in which I have to process fault data. Sometimes this comes with … Continue reading

Friday, January 16, 2015 in Agile & Architecture, Code & Development

More Panoramas!

The astute among you will have noticed that I place a random panorama in the masthead of all my web site pages. I’ve just refreshed my album with a number of new images, which I hope you’ll enjoy. Continue reading

Wednesday, December 17, 2014 in Photography, Website & Blog