* Posts by Paul Johnson

11 posts • joined 2 Aug 2006

Shocked jocks' O2 calls crossed with Brummies, now everyone's cross

Paul Johnson

Not Just O2

Called my bro' from Orange last night and got a random Scot to talk to instead. He was far more talkative...


Man City drags Big Data into Big Football

Paul Johnson
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Footy + Data = :-)

Opening up the data for the sake of it is highly commendable - fine work indeed from Citeh.

I do wonder how many man-hours* will be spent finding any actionable insight. Graphs and charts are all very well, but unless it makes a measurable difference, is it worthwhile, no matter how enjoyable? There's also the pesky issue of footballers being asked to implement whatever insights the nerds uncover, plus the fact that the opposition may not play nicely and sign up to the plan.

Right, I'm off to prove that Citeh will never beat the mighty Everton ever again...

* Yes, I said man-hours not person-hours. Get over it. Women are too smart to waste time looking at footy data.


The 'experts' who never see BBM will never understand RIM

Paul Johnson
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Re: Present consumer don't always

Wise words.

Our 11 year old 'tweenager' was given my old BB a few weeks ago when he left primary school. Every kid in his old class is on BBM, without exception. Like the man says, it's unlimited P2P communication, now matter how inane, and they simply love it.

The young 'uns love for BBM is rarely, if ever, mentioned by the dull men in dull suits when discussing RIM.


First among SQLs

Paul Johnson

Cobol? SQL?

First of all, why the Cobol reference? Yes, SQL is embeddable in Cobol, but the article never touched on that.

'Proper SQL' - what's that then? The opposite of 'improper SQL' perhaps?

Mainframe-derived SQL was/is/should probably be written in CAPS, whereas *nix-derived SQL should probably be lower case. Mixed case? Ugh! Windows-derived SQL? Who cares.

Why mix database design/normalisation and SQL as topics? The two only come together after mucho-arguing when it's time to finally, like, lay down a schema. Even then the modern-fangled way is to use a modelling tool to do the doing, often in complete ignorance of DBMS-specific best practices . Pah!

Is S.Q.L. (never, ever, ever 'sequel', that's a follow-up) even a language? Not in my book.

Triggers - dangerous? Agreed. Also often expensive. They don't get a look-in on big-data MPP systems.

Remember, neat SQL is efficient SQL ;-)


Merseyside plant to punch out Chevy Volt

Paul Johnson

There is no GM plant in Merseyside

The Vauxhall plant is in Ellesmere Port, which is, and always has been, in Cheshire:


It's often possible to smell Ellesmere Port from Merseyside, but that's another matter :-)


RIM Blackberry Bold 9000

Paul Johnson

Wot No BB Maps?

Had mine since launch on Orange.


- email setup and delivery

- video playback quality

- music playback quality

- shipped with 1GB micro SD

- 8GB micro SD works fine

- standard USB cable for PC connectivity and mains/car chargers


- trackball

- QWERTY keyboard


- drops calls endlessly

- loses signal all the time and shows 'SOS' (see above)

- RIM web site support hopeless (see previous post)

- still fighting with it to work as a modem for my laptop



At least it can shoot video and supports MMS, unlike some devices I could mention ;-)


Freelancers might be taxed as employees after High Court ruling

Paul Johnson


He's personally liable.

The company setup is essentially a sham vehicle in the eyes of HMRC, even though it's insisted upon by agencies before they will supply a contractor to a client.

The company income minus allowed expenses is treated as deemed salary on which employers NI, employees NI and income tax is assessed.

Paul Johnson

Dull, dull, dull...

...hasn't IR35 been done to death?

First off, I've been a permie (like 99% of contractors) and a contractor. There are well-documented pros and cons attached to both. Some people prefer 'permanent' employment, others prefer to be contractors. Some people prefer to do one at a certain life stage, and then switch to the other, again for personal reasons. Live and let live, surely?

IR35 is law. It's been debated, challenged, fought and generally done to death. There is no 'new news' to this story, just a headline-grabbing £99k tax bill.

The guy had no demonstrable right of substitution (as acid a test as it gets twixt permie and non-permie); was under the direct control of a client permie staff member; and had 'mutuality of obligation' (MOO).

He clearly fell within the remit of IR35. To try and claim otherwise based on the evidence available is a very, very high-risk strategy. Whoever advised him to take this stance is ill-informed imho. He should have weighed up the facts and coughed up the dough, simple as that.

Some contractors are 'caught' by IR35 and some are not. This guy clearly was, so why was he taking such a high-risk approach given the sums involved? Greed? Maybe. Bad advice? Maybe.

I agree with the sentiment that the AA should give him employee benefits though if HMRC are going to treat him as an employee.


Orange can't find BlackBerry maps

Paul Johnson

Mr Fleetwood...do tell...

...how you got the maps re-enabled.

Smiley coz I sent the story into El Reg and it got published ;-)


OLAP and the need for SPEED

Paul Johnson

OLAP is not just MOLAP!

Like very many articles on the subject, you use the acronym OLAP when you are actually talking about MOLAP i.e. multi-dimensional OLAP. There are other forms of OLAP such as relational OLAP (ROLAP) and hybrid OLAP (HOLAP) out there as well...but you knew that :-)

In addition to presenting a conceptually multi-dimensional view of the data to the business user, the MOLAP approach differs from the relational approach in two key areas - data aggregation and the the (normally partial) pre-calculation of query results.

It is as a result of aggregation and results pre-calculation that we get the speed up when compared to a relational system. As you point out this speed up is traded against the query flexibility offered by the 'go anywhere' relational schema.

The majority of queries are from 'farmers' rather than 'explorers', and this group can normally be provided with access to a series of MOLAP cubes that support the predictable KPI style reports that they run repeatedly. Explorers are more typically provided with access to detail level data in the relational schema.

Interestingly, it is OLAP users themselves that cite consistently fast queries as by far and away the most important benefit of delpoying a MOLAP solution. In fact, it is cited as more important than all other benefits combined, if the OLAP Report is to be believed, and I have no reason not to!


Pervasive scraps PostgresSQL support

Paul Johnson

PostgreSQL and Solaris

PostgreSQL ships with Solaris as from the recent Solaris 10 06/06 release.

Afaik, support is provided by Sun as part of the usual Solaris support offerings.

Members of the core PostgreSQL development team have been working with Sun to make this happen.

Although this was first announced last year, when it finally did ship recently it went largely unnoticed.


Paul Johnson.