I’m back!

Two years ago (almost), I stopped posting to my blog. Two years ago (almost) I took the opportunity to switch roles within the company I worked in at the time from developer to development manager. The two events are of course linked. It was a big move for me. I’d previously been a team leader; I’d previously had responsibilities for managing groups of people, but each time I’d carried on spend at least some of my time developing code. This role was different though. This role was 100% management. Coding became a thing of the past. There was lots of new skills to learn: people management; product management; project management; finance; and – with hindsight the most important skill learned – expectation management of commercial desires of the company.

So why didn’t I blog about these new discoveries? To put it simply, I was unsure about what was appropriate to post; how to talk of what I was learning without compromising the commercial confidence of the company. I couldn’t post about the negatives and the positives always seemed almost mundane and hardly interesting reading for others. So time passed and the blog died a slow death… Continue reading “I’m back!”

England finally gets snow, in April!

With this year’s January and February being so mild, I’d assumed we would get no snow this year. When it started this morning, I dismissed it as a brief flurry that wouldn’t settle. Luckily I was wrong and we enjoyed a great snowball fight with the neighbours and built snowmen after around 10cm fell in the morning.

Snowing in April in Lewes

Snowing in April in Lewes

Snowing in April in Lewes

From whence the visitors come

The web is a fascinating “place” in both the way that it can make the world seem such a small place and the way that people seem to move around pages and end up in all sorts of odd locations. Take this blog as a case in point. I’ve been posting to it for just three months now and due to it being just one of thousands (millions?) of blogs out there, there is no obvious reason to assume anyone would bother reading it. At times this simple reality can make it feel like I’m talking to myself. So I decided to monitor the visitor traffic to see if anyone did visit. Rather than plough through nasty log files or set up a google account to monitor it, I picked one of those drop-in graphical gizmos that various web companies offer.

So four days ago I signed up for a ClustrMaps map, linked to to the site and waited. After four days, I’ve had a total of 68 visitors (not sure if that is unique visitors, I’ve a suspicion that the majority are me if not). Not a brilliant number, but the amount I’d expect after such a short time. The thing that surprised me though were the locations people were from: various parts of Europe, the USA, Canada and even India. It is all too easy to take the world for granted these days, but I still find it really amazing that someone on the other side of the planet might have found their way here.

So if you are one of those people who live outside of the UK and who have stumbled across this blog, please add a comment to this post to let me know where you are from and how you found me.

Where to begin?

MeThere is, in my view, a huge stumbling block to writing a blog: what to write in the first post? So I have decided the thing to do, is to write a short intro about me and what I hope to get from producing this blog.

I have been writing software now for just over 25 years. Things have changed a hell of a lot in that time. My first programming experiences were standing in WHSmiths at the weekend programming a Sinclair ZX81 looking forward to the day I could afford to buy one and program it at home. With its 1Kb of RAM and a “fast mode” that involved turning off the 256×192 pixel monochrome display to get the thing to run four times faster, it was pretty rubbish even 25 years ago. The software changes from those days have been dramatic too. From those early day, where BASIC and Machine Code were king to today, the changes have been huge. Anyone remember such programming gems as 100 GOTO A*1000?

Over the years I have tried out, and sometimes been employed to use, numerous languages: Basic, Prolog (a language I love, but sadly seems to have no real-world use beyond teaching people recursion techniques), RTL-2, Coral 66, C, C++, Ada (painful to use, but it taught me all about generics), Java, PHP, JavaScript and, most lately, ActionScript and C#. To mind mind, the best of these by far is the last one, C#. Its many features just seem to fit comfortably with the way I like to program. My least favourite moden language is JavaScript: its lack of class-based OO and the lack of data typing of variables are serious deficiencies. The other great “evil” of programming of course is pointers and it amazes me that people today still willingly use C and C++ with all the nasty problems that pointers bring to those languages.

So that is a very brief summary of where I’m coming from with software. With that out the way, I can start posting articles…