Why I Like My MacBook, But I’m Beginning To Really Hate Apple

Battery Replacement on a 2015 MacBook I realised a couple of weeks ago, much to my horror and chagrin, that I had been walking around with a potential incendiary bomb. Not that I had done anything wrong – this is … Continue reading

Monday, December 17, 2018 in PCs/Laptops, Thoughts on the World

That Was Too easy…

There is an old plot device, which goes back to at least Homer, although the version which popped into my head this evening was Genesis of the Daleks, a 1970s Dr Who story. A group of warriors fight a short … Continue reading

Thursday, July 26, 2018 in Android, Thoughts on the World

Inferring Algorithms: How Random is Your Music Player?

“You’re Inferring that I’m stupid.” “No, I’m implying that you’re stupid. You’re inferring it.” – Wilt, by Tom Sharpe My latest contract means spending some time on a bus at each end of the day. The movement of the bus … Continue reading

Sunday, April 8, 2018 in Code & Development, Thoughts on the World

Why REST Doesn’t Make Life More Rest-full

As I have observed before, IT as a field is highly driven by both fashion and received wisdom, and it can be difficult to challenge the commonly accepted position. In the current world it is barely more politically acceptable to … Continue reading

Monday, February 19, 2018 in Agile & Architecture, Code & Development

The Architect’s USP

Very early on in any course in marketing or economics you will encounter the concept of the "Unique Selling Proposition", the USP, that factor which differentiates a given product or service from its competitors. It’s "what you have that competitors … Continue reading

Friday, February 2, 2018 in Agile & Architecture

An Odd Omission

Let’s start with a common use case… "I have a television / hi-fi / home cinema system which has several components from different manufacturers. I would like to control all of them with a single remote control. I would like … Continue reading

Sunday, January 7, 2018 in Android, Thoughts on the World

Testing vs Modelling, Detection vs Prediction, Hope vs Knowledge

The Challenge I often hear a statement which worries me, especially but not exclusively in agile projects, along the lines of “we’ll make sure it works when we test it later”. Now you may think this is an odd view … Continue reading

Wednesday, December 6, 2017 in Agile & Architecture

Does Agile Miss The Point About Engineering?

A former colleague, Neil Schiller, recently wrote an excellent article, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/agile-data-programmes-neil-schiller/, on the challenge of using agile approaches in data-centric programmes. In it, he referenced and reviewed a classic cartoon by Henrik Kniberg which is often used to promote the … Continue reading

Wednesday, November 22, 2017 in Agile & Architecture

Architecture Lessons from a Watch Collection

I recently started a watch collection. To be different, to control costs and to honour a style which I have long liked, all my watches are hybrid analogue/digital models. Within that constraint, they vary widely in age, cost, manufacturer and … Continue reading

Saturday, November 4, 2017 in Agile & Architecture, Thoughts on the World, Watches

Integration Or Incantation?

I was travelling recently with Virgin Atlantic. I went to check in online, typed in my booking code and selected both our names, clicked "Next", and got an odd error saying that I couldn’t check in. I wondered momentarily if … Continue reading

Sunday, October 29, 2017 in Agile & Architecture, Thoughts on the World

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