* Posts by Pete Franklin

7 posts • joined 28 Mar 2007

It's ace that UK.gov 'in 2030 will be joined up, trusted and responsive' – but what about now?

Pete Franklin

"What you will also have to abandon is old fashioned ideas like "specification","

Interestingly, what @Mike_137 described was a lot closer to agile than to a document driven waterfall process, in that it clearly valued maximising learning from real experiments, rather than spending a fortune on pointless paper speculations - or 'specifications', as the deluded like to call them.

But that's a digression. On the original point, I never met a GDS person who understood legacy, or even transactional systems. Most of them had a background in Digital media, a fundamentally different thing to a digital business.

Forget razors and blades, APIs are the new gotcha

Pete Franklin

Obviously true, but how is that relevant to this article?

Top IT bod Sally Howes leaves the UK's National Audit Office

Pete Franklin

In defence of massive companies

I do get fed up with this routine bashing of the big SIs (yes, I work for one). People who work for SMEs are not automatically more skilled and morally superior to those working for SIs - in fact a large proportion of them wouldn't get to a second interview with us. On the other hand I'm not claiming all SIs are entirely blameless, there have clearly been cases where they have not displayed the competence that might have been expected - and neither have the SMEs.

Successive governments have created a situation where there is no expertise actually within the civil service, and most senior IT bods there are now contractors on ridiculous rates. Couple this with procurement departments whose ideas about good practice are at least 20 years out of date, and projects founded on the whim of a politician who isn't even vaguely up to speed on his brief and you have a recipe for failure. We would obviously love to deliver successful projects, and we are more than capable of doing so when our efforts are not sabotaged at every stage by our customer.

How can I widen my wireless network?

Pete Franklin

Second AP works for me

Connected to the first using Powerline ethernet out of one of the 4 ports on the original router.

The kit I bought allegedly worked in repeater mode but I couldn't get DHCP to work through it. Set them up as above, turned DHCP off in the second AP so that requests would go through to the original one. Seems to work fine with a variety of laptops pdas and phones.

Virgin throttles national cable network

Pete Franklin

Hmmm...

Can anybody tell me what legal use they make of all this bandwidth? It seems to me that complaining that Virgin are making it harder ( actually just a bit slower) to steal things is just a litle bit...weird. It seems particularly strange when the 'victims' complain about Virgin's business ethics. But maybe I'm just being a bit old-fashioned?

Is the relational database now a commodity?

Pete Franklin

Developers

In the dark days of client/server, where the protocol between client and server was SQL, developers had to have at least a grounding in SQL and some idea of the consequences of their queries. I have noticed that many of todays developers have less than a basic knowledge of the database - more than once I've seen result sets pulled in to memory and then sorted, or pulled into memory so that the program can iterate through and discard records(objects) that are not wanted. So while today's SQL engines may be more powerful than ever, they are frequently being only used in the most naive way, and unfortunately the first places to look when an application has performance problems are the database and the queries. On the upside, the presence of JavaDB/Derby/Cloudscape in the JDK may lead to developers getting more awareness of the niceties of data access - or is that a triumph of hope over experience?

Software is never done… Or is it?

Pete Franklin

Reality intrudes

Kurt, Simon et al, your insistence on defining everything up front ("If you don't know in exacting detail what's required, by when, and what impact each thing will have on your customer") is fine, but conveniently ignores reality. The customer frequently doesn't know what is required, and we frequently don't know how whatever it is can be achieved. These are the problems that agile approaches try to solve, applying common sense to the situation and recognising the way people's minds work best. By iterating our way to a solution, we allow the customer to better develop their ideas as to requirements, and we as developers are able to offer better advice as to costs and benefits of various approaches.

Building software is not analogous to any other form of manufacturing, but is closer to the design process, where iterations are commonly used (cf James Dyson's 3500 prototypes of his vacuum cleaner).

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