* Posts by Deft

33 publicly visible posts • joined 15 Sep 2011

Excel recruitment time bomb makes top trainee doctors 'unappointable'


Poor simpletons

They need to upskill and use Power Query to really mangle those Excel workbooks.

Impromptu game of Robot Wars sparks fire in warehouse at UK e-tailer Ocado


Anyone done a bot count?

Sounds a lot like a deliberate distraction from these bots so some others could escape the facility. I'd be checking for missing bots, especially ones with form for insurrection.

Global pharma firm GSK opens Pandora's Box of its SAP system to find 28,000 variations on a process


Nice extras

Can't decide whether it's cool or scary, you have to develop software on top of the system to figure out how the hell everyone is using it!

I suppose if you unleash the average person on Excel, god knows what crazy buttons they will press.

State of Maine orders review of $54.6m Workday project as it alleges delivery failure and threatens cancellation


Big systems IT disasters?

I always preface my posts by saying I don't work in IT, but am interested observer and it intersects with my job as a scientist a reasonable amount.

There seems to be a common theme of these mega ERP systems being a nightmare. Presumably the majority do go smoothly, we just never hear those stories??! It must be mature technology, or as a society we sort of know how to do these things? People must have some expectation of these projects when they get started (on both sides).

What happens when cancel culture meets Adolf Hitler pareidolia? Amazon decides it needs a new app icon


I'd like to admit....

Obviously my brain doesn't process images well, I didn't even think the bendy arrow thing was a smile. I just thought it meant "we're really good at moving things from A to B". Just like a pointless Nike swoosh.

Excel-lent: Microsoft debuts low-code Power Fx language... but it is not really new


I am the low code monkey

I've really tried to get into PowerApps, being the sort of target user it's after, but it's really too annoying and hard work. Everybody likes automating Excel, because they are well practiced in its interface and that exposes lots of virtual "modules" that they can fiddle with via VBA. I like the idea of protecting tables of data via PowerApps, and hence less problems with accidental spreadsheet destruction, but just try setting up the default filtering and sorting available in an Excel table via a PowerApps gallery - it's absolutely infuriating and not even possible for some things. I also recently tried the responsive design elements and found them confusing. I'm more likely to invest my brainpower shifting to the "future of Excel automation", which someone told me was Typescript.

You're going to need to unwrap and rewrap those Pi-400 holiday gifts. There's a new Raspberry Pi OS Update


Never too young....

I think it'll be more character building for my seven year old daughter to open the Pi400 on Christmas day and learn the hard reality of life / software updates.

Google to pull plug on Play Music, its streaming service that couldn't beat Spotify, in favour of YouTube Music


Moderately aggravating

I have a large iTunes library which I've never quite escaped from. Having this run on Android has always been a bit annoying (need Apple Music subscription for the proper app). Google Play Music did an OK job of uploading my iTunes library and letting me use my iTunes playlists, though it was buggy.

Anyone got any tips? I used a 3rd party sync agent but it was also annoying enough that I gave up with it.

Microsoft finally spills the beans on everything you need to know about its low-code platform, Dataflex for Teams


Re: Massively baffling

I think that's it, there is something to be done in this area given the history of apparent need. My personal preference would be to have a couple of pragmatic software developers based in our department of 100, who would spend time watching the stupid things we get upto and having the autonomy to help us, free from some of the "global IT" politics. I imagine it's quite a weird job role, and we certainly wouldn't understand the type of developer we'd need to recruit. Scale this up to 40,000 people and you need 800 extra staff. OK that might be an over estimate but I think that's the scale of the problem we face.

As a couple of my favourite examples of funny things we do.

1) Print out and fill out a paper access request form. Scan in and email to random person in US to be added to access list for corporate IT system.

2) I recently received an emailed Excel workbook attachment, along with about 900 other recipients. In this was a simple table of Names, Department, Geographic location. This was a listing of people who have access to a 3rd party product, for which we have a global unlimited seats license. Our collective instruction was to check our details in the workbook, add some new data in a new column, and then email the attachment back. I really hope that person wasn't going to collate 900 Excel workbooks but I suspect they were.


Re: Massively baffling

I do have a bit of sympathy for the dream / sales pitch. As part of an organisation whose business is not software related, it is amazing the sort of repetitive jobs that are carried out in an inefficient way. We always wonder whether people working at Google/Microsoft put up with business processes and systems as rubbish as this. Manual processes held together with spreadsheets and Word documents. Some of it is self inflicted, but without specific headcount to help us with these run of the mill issues it never gets better. Not big or aggravating enough to get formal IT support. So let your staff build these non-critical efficiency gaining "apps". Except as described previously, it is too complex for your average person and too annoying for a typical developer. I've never done something quite as frustrating as building a custom SharePoint Online list form using PowerApps.


Massively baffling

I consider myself reasonably versed in this stuff, and I'm an approximation of a citizen developer. A scientist who is moderately dangerous with VBA and Python. For our corporate department of 100 people, I'm the unofficial go to person for Sharepoint Online, Teams, OneDrive, Power BI etc. I've even got a few things running in Power Apps and Power Automate. The constant sprawling mess of Microsoft stuff is bewildering, and although I do like the dream of it on paper, the reality is totally different. It sits unhappily in the middle. Not really easy enough for anyone I know to crack on with, and no major corporate in house support that I can see (a company of 40,000 people).

Someone tell me this actually gets used to its potential somewhere?

Brit retailer John Lewis to catapult 111 tech bods over to Capgemini weeks after dumping 244 on Wipro


It's a shame

Those Trustpilot reviews, even with a pinch of salt, are quite worrying.

John Lewis still trades on its previous image, and if you'd asked me even 5 yrs ago I would generally try buying largish expensive items there as I liked the company ethos and customer service reputation. Seems to have gone wrong, and all these IT shenanigans are an obvious marker for that.

We're re-doing our kitchen soon and I've made a conscious decision to avoid John Lewis for all the appliances.

If you never thought you'd hear a Microsoftie tell you to stop using Internet Explorer, lap it up: 'I beg you, let it retire to great bitbucket in the sky'


Re: Can't Avoid It

If you are using ADP Freedom, I found that although the main landing page tells you to get stuffed if not using Internet Explorer, the actual username / password login pages work in other browsers.

For any other systems I do Chrome with IE Tab add-in which seems to cope with most things.

AppSheet. Gesundheit! Oh, we see – it's Google pulling no-code development into a cloudy embrace


I'm OK with it

So some perspective from the other side of the fence. I'm a hobbyist programmer who works in a scientific job. Things like this are occasionally quite useful for very small jobs or ideas. I've used a bit of Power Apps, Power Automate etc. to accomplish some business tasks. Things that aren't really large enough to become a proper IT project. My colleagues generally accept that these apps are probably a bit wonky, might break and aren't supported by anyone. Power Apps as an example though, it's an aggravating middle ground. Not simple enough for an average citizen (in my department at least) but missing some of the key things you'd normally expect in a development environment.

10 minutes of silence storms iTunes charts thanks to awful Apple UI


Re: Simple tech is good

Don't worry, those pesky analog audio outs will be obsolete soon.

Why is the Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega+ project so delayed?



I backed for the three colourful versions, intending them to be Christmas presents for myself and two brothers, all of whom played Speccy games together as children. Realistically I was expecting to play it for approximately 4 mins before reverting back to PS4.

The level of frothing rage on the comments amuses me, and makes me feel happy that I don't get wound up like that. As others have mentioned, many have missed the concept and risk involved in these campaigns.

Still hopeful something might be delivered!

Zen loses its chill: UK biz ISP falls offline for four hours and counting



I'm a Zen residential customer on one of those area codes. Thank Christ Die Hard 2 is on Film 4 to be my Netflix sub. I'll be writing a strongly worded letter to my MP.

We have family staying at the moment and as the "IT" guy they basically assume the outage is my fault.

50c buys you someone else's password for Netflix, Spotify or ...


Am I being thick?

Things like Spotify or Netflix have viewing histories or syncing of playlists / collections. Wouldn't it be kind of obvious an uninvited freeloader is sharing the account?

UK flights CRIPPLED by system outage that shut ALL London airspace


Re: Edinburgh

I'm an Englishman travelling home so no choice for me. I would have voted "yes" for what it's worth!



Given I only fly a couple of times a year, pretty unlucky to be in Edinburgh trying to fly south right now. Doesn't seem too crazy in terms of delays. More funny to hear endless announcements of "problems down south" causing delays. Stupid soft southern nancy boys.

It's a TAB-tastrophe – 83 million fewer units to ship in 2014


Fun job?

I've always wondered whether meticulously predicting the future, yet revising those estimates with hindsight must be the most depressing job ever. The futility of it all.

Tell me, professor, what is big data?


I'm scared of big data

I work in the pharmaceutical industry and I have to admit I'm not sure I do a great job of managing my small data nevermind the big stuff.

Review: Jabra Revo Wireless headphones


Gapless = correct

I'd say gapless playback is correct in the sense that is how it would play in a CD player (as in, the intention of the artist when making the recording).

All-in-one PCs: bright star of the desktop biz, says analyst


Dell Inspiron 2320

My Dell Inspiron One 2320 is the quality you expect for the price (plasticy and makes weird casing vibration noises), and I have used the touchscreen capability for about 5 secs in the 6 months since I bought it. I did get it for decent size screen / relatively smaller and cleaner footprint though.

Apple TV surfaces on Best Buy


Upgrade cycle?

Will people want to upgrade their TV as much as their phones / iPads?

Punters flocked to all-in-one desktops in 2011


I gave in

Bought myself a Dell Inspiron 2320 a few months ago, so guess I am one of the stats. Apart from the slightly tinny speakers and plasticy feeling casing it's nice to get rid of a tower and have some space back. I would have liked a Lenovo but couldn't really find stock or options anywhere properly in the UK. I almost thought about getting an iMac to run Windows but that was a stretch (and about 1K) too far.

OnLive Game System cloud gaming console



Like most people I was surprised at how well it worked - but on my PC it chews through a steady 4-5Mbit whilst using it. As mentioned above, not for the bandwidth or transfer limited!

Griffin iTrip Dual Connect car kit for iPhone


Digital or analog audio feed?

Does it really pull off digital audio and have its own D/A converters? The dock connector has both digital and analog feeds but my experience is that most docks etc. use the analog.

Apple preps TV enabled iMac ahead of own-brand telly


Video IN

Does the current iMac have any kind of video input to use it in a normal TV like way? Doesn't look like it. I just picked up a Dell Inspiron 2320 (poor man's iMac) and it has VGA and HDMI input which is useful. I assumed an iMac would have the same.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword



I bought a Wii yesterday just so I could play this. No idea what I will do with the Wii once I finish it.

Apple admits iPhone battery suckage, promises fix


What about audio

I have had real audio problems since using iOS5 on my 3GS. Distortion on bass heavy music and I'm convinced they have changed the default "no EQ" DSP setting to make the output hotter and more bassy. There are a couple of workarounds (and perhaps some bugs relating to per track volume adjustment contained in the XML file) but I would love to see a fix (or back to what it was in iOS4.

El Reg in email address blunder



I made a mistake once, but luckily no-one ever found out and I covered it up.

Science, engineering PhDs to drop by a third


Good luck getting Industry to fund

At least from where I am sitting (Pharmaceutical R&D) the UK has been decimated in the recent years, so industry magically picking up the slack might be a bit of a stretch. Not sure where you can get those figures from though?