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Showing posts from July, 2014

One more time...

I've said it before and I'll say it again... non-functional, not functional, requirements are the key to making your solution a success. Get these wrong and you're going to lose no matter what. They cannot be an afterthought delayed until some abstract time later. You need to know NOW!

Come back Lotus Notes, all is forgiven!

** Warning: Functional rant! ** I've spent a significant part of the past few years swearing at Lotus Notes. So much in fact that this post may be slightly bias as I struggle on a daily basis with the absence of my old adversary. Oh how I would prefer to face my old foe each morning... Instead I face the miserable and shallow facade of functionality that is Microsoft Outlook and Lync. Yuck! Meetings are regular missed as the pathetic reminder slides into view in the bottom right corner - cunningly; and silently, disguising itself behind another window (must have been designed for the NSA!). Scheduling a meeting is nigh on an impossibility; if you don't get the time correct first time, start all over again. Viewing participants in a meeting? Clearly why would anyone want to.... Delegations are poorly communicated, attachments are obscured next to the subject... And so on... I admit I don't know Outlook very well and am a long term Notes user. Hands up! However, it seems none

A slight case of overbombing

Darcula + Flux @ midnight is not a productive combination! Seemed like a good idea at the time - Darcula , easy on the eye, good for long term work at the screen; Flux , nicely adjusts screen temperature to suit the time of day and help you get to sleep... The two together? Not good. Feeling tired, can't read the screen properly but the drive keeps you pressing on... Grrrrr.

La vérité surgit de la méprise

"Truth arises out of error"... ... so true indeed, and a damn fine reason to review your log files! p.s. pic is from Event by  Slavoj Žižek  - an amusing; at times horrifying, but thought inducing read.  

Alexa Topsites

Interesting list of top websites on Alexa . Clearly incomplete though with a lack of the mighty Stellarmap.com and nonfunctionalarchitect.com !  

eDNA - The next step in the obliteration of privacy online?

How your electronic DNA could be the secure login of the future  (but let's hope not). More big-brother stuff over at The Guardian  with eDNA (Electronically Defined Natural Attributes). I suspect that the NoMoreCaptchas product isn't terribly strong as it feels like it could easily be subverted by introducing more natural delays into bots but it should help  slow them down which can often make it not worth the bother. More worryingly though is that it's all too easy for a website to capture this information without you knowing. Many sites already capture key presses, mouse movements, hover overs etc., some for legitimate functional use but many are just to help the marketing guys spy on you. What if the next time you google something they can tell if you're drunk, stoned, had sex or are just plain tired... Do you really think they wouldn't want to use that information to push more targeted ads at you? Drunk => Show ads for porn sites. Stoned => Show ads for

Computation, Data and Connections

My ageing brain sees things in what feels like an overly simplistic and reductionist way. Not exactly the truth so much as a simplified version of reality which I can understand well enough to allow me to function (to a degree). So in computing I see everything as being composed of three fundamental (overly simplified) elements; computation , data and connections . Computation refers to those components which do stuff, essentially acting on data to transform it from one form to another. This may be as simple as taking data from a database and returning it as a web page or as complex as processing video data to identify and track movements of individuals. Data is the information itself which critically has no capability to do anything. Like Newtons first law, data at rest will remain at rest until an external computation acts upon it . Data may be in a database (SQL or NoSQL), file-system, portable USB drive, memory etc. (memory is really just fast temporary data storage). And conn

Interview Tales I - The Bathtub Curve

I've been to a few interviews recently, most of which have been bizarrely enjoyable affairs where I've had the opportunity to discover much about how things work elsewhere. However, I recently went to an interview for an organisation which has suffered some pretty high profile  system failures recently which I timidly pointed out; hoping not to offend. The response was, in my view, both arrogant and ignorant - perhaps I did offend... I was informed; rather snootily, that this incident was a one-off having occurred just once in the 15+ year experience of the interviewer and couldn't happen again. Humm... I raised the point having worked on a number of technology refresh projects and being familiar with the Bathtub Curve (shown below - image courtesy of Engineering Statistics Handbook ). What this shows is how during the early life of a system failures are common (new build, many defects etc.). Things then settle down to a fairly stable; but persistent, level of failures for

Data Currency and Exploding Bunnies

There is such a thing as data currency - i.e. how  current and up to date the data is. On the web, stale data is a social disease which deservingly leads to isolation and the irritating and distant tut-tut 'ing that goes with it - much like zits on a greasy teenager. We're all culpable (me in particular given the last time I updated the mighty stellarmap.com ) but I expect more from  The Guardian . So... tut-tut to The Guardian for pressing UK Gov Data from 2010 on their Data home-page today. There was me thinking I'd happen across some interesting nuggets only to find old, stale and consequently misleading data. Of course I'm not helping by providing a bunch of links to stale content myself but it's time more attention was paid to data currency by net publishers. Perhaps then this wouldn't be such a big problem. Screen grab below for the hell of it...   From a non-functional perspective an important criteria for data is how current it needs to be. Various c

'Appalling' data leak

This is why we perform design assurance and code reviews, why we have secure development standards, why we perform penetration testing and why we monitor, evolve, maintain and develop continuously. It's also why any time you hear "no-one told me" from management you should walk away. Piss poor comms, piss poor organisation. Truly pathetic.