Thursday, September 28, 2006

Party Conferences

It's party conference "season" at the moment, and frankly I'm fed up with it. It's all a load of bollocks, but the Press seem to lap it up. I, for one, don't care about how the Parties reach their pointless policies, which they'll inevitably default on and change anyway.
Also, I don't understand what all the "Tony Blair's Leaving" shit is all about. Surely, if Party Politics was truly democratic, it wouldn't make any difference who the leader was, as they'd only be implementing the Party's will.
It all stinks of shit, and frankly there's a whole lot more going on in the world that the Press should be telling us about.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Henry vs Back Alley Cat

Well, Henry's been fighting, so I took him to the vet last night, as he had a really nasty wound on his back leg. The vet took one look and said he needs stitches, so I left him there overnight, and I'll get to hear a bit later on about how it's gone.
It was a bit strange, coming back to an empty house. He's only been with us for four weeks, but it already feels very strange not having him around, and both Amy and I were quite upset about it.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Paging In TSQL

There's a lot of crap written about paging in TSQL (SQL Server's SQL). Then I found this article that uses SET ROWCOUNT to do it. Brilliant.
However, there's no error checking, so I've tweaked it a bit, and my results are below. Enjoy.

DECLARE @Start int, @End int

DECLARE @StartId int
DECLARE @NumRows int

SELECT @Start = 11, @End = 20

IF @Start <= @End
SELECT @StartId = addressid FROM Person.Address
order by addressid Asc

IF @@ROWCOUNT >= @Start

SELECT @NumRows = ( @End - @Start ) + 1


SELECT * FROM Person.Address
WHERE addressid >= @startId
order by addressid Asc


Anne2.0 posted a link to an article about coghead.
In their own words:

[Coghead is] A simple, powerful new way to create web-based business applications that can be used by anyone, anytime, anywhere!
Coghead developers don’t need to know how to code! With just a browser and an internet connection, they can create, modify, and deploy hosted business applications, and collaborate directly with their end-users all via the Coghead service.
Sounds like they're empowering the user - the person who wants to use the application. Sounds like a great plan.
With one major drawback. At the moment, there doesn't seem to any talk of sharing information with exisitng applications.
This is best illustrated with a story (sorry if you've heard this one before) about an organisation that allowed unrestrained use of Microsoft Access. Microsoft Access allows development of simple database applications without (too much) code. (This isn't a crack at Access, I'm sure you can do many marvellous things with it). Across this organisation, many people created applications (some quite complex) that many more people used to run the organisation.
This organisation had a a number of branches (about 300). Each branch had a number of staff, as well as a number of customers. There were about 120,000 customers in total. The organisation was required to keep track of all of this.
Now, if you can imagine, 300 Access Databases, some duplicates (because, after all, Access Databases are just files that can be copied as easily as a Word document), all with their own list of, at least these 300 clients, and all with a different (sometimes duplicate) bits information about the 120,000 customers.
The problem, of course, comes when details change (which they did on a very regular basis), or when somebody to use bits of information from across different databases. It was a nightmare.
Of course, maintianing these applications/databases was a constant struggle, because they'd usually been developed by a member of staff who was on holiday, or who had left, and almost invariable had no idea about normalisation, settling on a naming standard, or programming in general, after all, they'd just knocked this application up in their lunch break(s).
So, how does Coghead solve these problems? As far as I can tell, it doesn't. If you want to run your entire business on it, it's probably ideal, and I'm sure it'll work great, but there seems to be no emphasis on collabaration.
Now, I'm aware that there are businesses using Excel for their central database (bless), and I'm sure this is a giant leap away from that (I mean, it's got workflow tools and security). However, without addressing the collaboration issue, I think the probability of replacing a poor solution with a more powerful poor solution is too high.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Catch up...

Seeing as I've moved to blogger beta, which, as Gary pointed out, is a lot slicker than plain old blogger, and it no longer requires me to have a blogger and a google login (horray!) I though I'd better write some new content, which in fact most people will already know.
Green Man Festival - brilliant, despite having to put the tent up in the dark and rain, and taking 6 hours to get there, and the first night being a massive thunder storm, the first day being almost constant rain. Still brilliant. I think having the cottage to retreat to was a really nice extra - we got to get clean and relax comfortably. On the monday morning when we were woken up at 6am by a van stuck in the mud next to our tent, not having a six hour drive was also good.
Music-wise: julina molina was my favourite, especially as I'd never heard her before. Euros Childs (formerly Gorky's Zygotic Munkie) was very good too, albeit in a poppier, happier, more jumping round the room way that I usually go for. Tunng were brilliant too. Bat for Lashes was another good find - a bit Bjork like, which is no bad thing in my book. The dressing up was beyond the call of duty, too. Malcom Middleton played a blinding set, and Viking Moses entertained, especially with his cover of Whitney Huston's I Will Always Love You (no, it wasn't done seriously).
There's some bits and pieces on the bbc collective site.
After Green Man came Wales, or at least the Brecon Beacons. Really beautiful hills.
We were staying right by Table Mountain (near crickhowell), on the Breacons Way, and did one walk right from the door, which was brilliant. Also walked under a water fall, which was pretty neat, and up Pen Y Fan, which was really challenging, and then slightly disappointing - there's a really easy way up to the top, and so it was teaming with people who weren't out of breath. We went up the route that was shit scary, and my vertigo nearly got the better of me. The way down featured a 200ft drop on one side, which did get the better of me. The last day we did Sugar Loaf Mountain, which was a bit of a stroll. We meandered up there in about 1.5 hours, including stopping for lunch, then ran down in 30 minutes. I was quite exhilarating running down. I've put some photos over on flickr.
Coming back from Wales, we found Cate and Mike staying at our house. It was arranged, although at the last minute before we left, and they bought Henry up with them. It was cool to see them, even though we'd only seen them a fortnight before, and they were in house hunting mode... Still, hopefully they're going to based in Leeds for some time to come, so I should be able to see them more.
Henry's been cool, and I'm starting to enjoy having him around. Despite a few (nearly) sleepness nights, where he found he could get his paw under the bedroom door, and thus wake me up by scratching, it's been ok (we've kept him in the kitchen at night since). Last night, for the first time, he didn't come back before we went to bed, and hence caused no end of worry. He was outside this morning, acting like nothing had happened. He seemed quite tired when he came in and he ate all his breakfast in one go, which he hasn't done for a few weeks.
The new job, at million21 seems ok. It's actually application development, rather than web stuff, but with a strong bias towards web technologies, which is kind of my thing really. Also, there's a bloke who's fresh from Uni, who I'll probably end up taking under my wing. Been working on a project that's not connected with the rest of the company's work, so not got to see their coding standards, practises, etc... that's a treat to come. They do seem hooked on SPs though, which is something that's going to cause friction, no doubt.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Blogger screwed up my blog (or, at least, it disappeared), so I've had to republish it apologies for those syndicators who get all my content appear again.