Back to Profile: irascian


  • London Niners: Tour, Drinks and Debate

    fdisk wrote:
    Here. Let's try this. Your undying enthusiasm for this site is really odd. Are you trying to get hired by them?

    If you'd spent more than 5 minutes here you'd know that working for Microsoft is the last thing I want to do (nothing against Microsoft it's just that having worked for IBM, Amdahl, Oracle, Ford and a whole bunch of other companies in the past I feel I've "been there, done that"). Not that I haven't had friends inside who've tried to persuade me to go for interview. I prefer being my own boss although age will undoubtedly start making that more difficult as time goes on.

    I too have been a coder, a software architect and a bunch of other things. None of which bears any relevance to posting stupid comments like "Does this constitute drinking on company time?". What exactly was the point you were trying to make, other than to make some pathetic snarky comment? And so what if it HAD been on company time (as stated above, it wasn't) - who cares?

    fdisk wrote:
    Why do I feel like you have this huge chip on your shoulder?

    I see absolutely nothing in Sabot's post (to which your quote above was a reply) that would indicate that. Your posts on the other hand.....

    footballism wrote:
    Ian is really really an old man. I am just curious whether or not he's still writing code

    Well thanks for making my day!

    I've been self-employed as a "developer/lead developer" for the last 10 years (spent a brief period as an architect but missed the hands-on and took a rate cut to move back to being lead developer in that same organisation).  The longest down time I've had between contracts has been 4 weeks (my choice - I wanted to go to New Zealand) so yeah, I still write code and people seem to be happy to keep paying me to keep writing code and (touch wood) renewing a contract has never been a problem - when I've left a company it's always been my choice. 

    I think the problem for most of my clients over the last 10 years is they've typically hired all those wet-behind-the-ears youngsters who are too focussed on what's "cool" rather than what's cost-effective or what their customers want, so they hire an old fart like me to pick up  the pieces of disasterous projects and mentor the silly young puppies Tongue Out

    rory wrote:
    Bloody hell, Ian. I miss you

    I'm flattered! Miss you too, mate. Not going to make Tech-Ed this year but seriously thinking about Mix-07 as I've never been to Vegas and it's a chance to mix business with pleasure. Hopefully you might be there with Channel 9?

    sabot wrote:

    Ian/Barry/Sarah wanna come ?

    Hard for me to commit to anything at the moment - things are incredibly manic on the work front with a deadline at the end of October that can't be moved. I've also (somewhat optimistically given the work situation) got a ton of stuff on with the London Film Festival which continues through that weekend. 

    DDD4 will be better for me, or if you push things over into November I'm hoping to have a free weekend then and could manage a trip oop North.

    sabot wrote:

    Ian does great hugs

    You're still sulking 'cos I said I didn't fancy you, aren't you! Tongue Out

    I'm not a "huggy" person other than with people I know really, really well. Or with women who offer a hug first and seem far less hung up about that sort of thing than guys.

  • London Niners: Tour, Drinks and Debate

    fdisk wrote:
    So...does this constitute drinking on company paid time?

    Fdisk, you're becoming extremeley tiresome lately. What exactly is your point? As it happens the video was recorded on a Sunday afternoon/evening, but your comment is ridiculous anyway.

    As for the moderation question, things can turn into a witch hunt very quickly (just look at some of the responses in that competition thread). What people who keep crying for moderation are really saying is they can't turn the other cheek or ignore people who say stupid things. Whenever this subject has come up it's usually been "I should be a moderator because Charles is never here". In my experience moderation ends up starting more flame wars than the posts that allegedly were the reason for its introduction. Look at some of the abuse that's been aimed at the moderators here in the past just because they've gently chided someone for a post. That situation will get a hundred times worse if you start acceding to the "I wanna be special so I've got something to brag about - make me a moderator" brigage Tongue Out

    Beer28 was something else in that he totally dominated the forums and turned trying to destroy the place into a full-time job. Worse he started threatening people off the boards with time-wasting legal threats etc. The guy had a screw loose and got to the stage where he didn't deserve anybody's respect. I can't really think of anybody else in the several years I've been here who came close (well, OK, possibly orbit86). He was the exception that proved the rule!
  • London Niners: Tour, Drinks and Debate

    Well that was embarrassing.

    Just in case anyone's interested the Larkware site that Dave mentioned (which each day summarises interesting stuff found on the web for .NET developers) can be found here: - definitely worth subscribing to their feed and checking the daily update if you're a .NET developer.
  • An interview with Jamie

    Good interview and fun to get to see and hear one of the regulars here. Nice one Jamie and whoever it was (why not tell us?) who did the interview?
  • PDC05 Buzzcast #8 - Contest Winners

    The Download link gives a "Not found" error and clicking on the "Play" button in Media Player causes nothing to happen.
  • PDC05 Buzzcast #6 - Stuart Celarier on BOFs at PDC

    Stuart Celarier wrote:

    Yes, that's me. Nice of you kind folks to remember. 

    Don't let them get to you Stuart. YOU had the moral high ground and the law is on YOUR side whatever the views of the bunch of Warez users and students who have decided to react to your stand with nothing but personal attacks.

    Anyway on to the subject at hand....

    I can't get into the Birds of a Feather web or session web site (see separate long whinge thread in the PDC bar) despite being registered for PDC, but I'd like to see something on Accessibility. In the UK we have DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) which is our equivalent of the US's Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998.

    Microsoft have been notoriously bad at supporting Accessibility with many of their products, although they tend to pay lip service to the minimum requirement levels and there have been some hotfix rollouts to fix SOME of the problems with VS.NET 2003.

    But even with those rollouts anybody trying to use ASP.NET server controls out of the box is strictly speaking breaking the law on DDA compliance and it's a ton of work to wrap these controls and "fix" the many problems with them. Whidby goes a long way to solving most of the problems, but there are signs that it still doesn't meet the level of requirements most of us would like.

    I think it would be good to have a discussion on the future of Accessibility support in Microsoft's products - whether we're talking far greater use of CSS, fixes to ASP.NET server controls that don't meet the highest level of standard some of us would like, acessibility improvements in IE7 or whatever. Today meeting the legal requirements of DDA compliance and aiming for the highest level of compliance adds significant cost to development projects and it would be good to find out how companies are dealing with these challenges.


  • Mike Swanson - Adobe Illustrator to XAML converter

    Larsenal wrote:
    I haven't used Coreldraw in years.  Anyone else besides leighsword really like it?

    I'm still using Corel Draw 10.

    I can't really draw but find it enables me to do enough to export something to Photoshop which I can then use to make it look half-decent. The fonts and clip-art alone made it worth the purchase price.

    But each new release after Corel 5 seemed to offer less and less (they even stopped giving you the clipart 'hard copy' book after Corel 8) and yet the cost and machine requirements went up and up more so I stopped at Corel 10.

    I've had Illustrator since version 8 (currently on CS2) but I can't get on with it - I find Corel much easier. I keep meaning to invest the time in Illustrator to make proper use of it but somehow the time never seems to happen.
  • Longhorn (heart) RSS

    Will be watching the video later this evening but already I see some folks are very upset about the whole thing: 
  • Ken Levy, XML Tools in VS 2005

    Harlequin wrote:

    I'm glad I didn't talk my company into XmlSpy licenses, they're quite pricey now anyways...

    Tell me about it! And to add insult to injury their new release schedule is very aggressive and usually involves an "upgrade" price that is almost as much as the full price.

    Nice to see some decent competition at long last.
  • Rick Laplante - Talking about Visual Studio Team System, Part I

    Great news for the individual consultant on Team Server pricing here. I know precise details haven't been fleshed out yet, but it's great to know Microsoft are looking at the issue.

    Thanks for listening!
  • Pablo Fernicola (and others) - An hour with the Avalon Team

    Beer28 wrote:
    I'd challenge Scoble's comment about it being easier with xaml than with other tools.

    You might want to check out the CTP of ZAM 3D 
  • Tony Goodhew - The path to Orcas, (future Visual Studio), studying the market research

    Lwatson wrote:
    I for one can't see the new stuff come in fast enough. My one issue with the new is how to deploy to something that only now, got the old. (How can I justify to my clients that the need exists for a rollout of the 2.0 framework when they only recently got the 1.1 framework and all its patches in place, is one example.)

    By and large the new stuff coming in the next VS and perhaps the one to come after that on the surface appear to be pointed at coding style rather than methodology. Doing things with generics or partial classes rather than learning a whole new language and api. The framework is still there, there is just some new stuff along with it. Some if the NEW stuff is really compiler tricks (ie Partial Classes) not really new paragigms for development. Really now the .Net framework and the C# language is approaching 5 years in the wild now. I hardly think that its been radically changing overnight.

    Well to be honest, I think that a lot of the stuff (like generics, like a designer that doesn't screw up your HTML and generates XHTML) should have been in a first cut of the product. Look at the pain that's been caused with DDA etc through Microsoft bringing VS.Net to market without thinking through all the issues - too obsessed with rushing out new "cool stuff" instead of fixing the basics first. New stuff is fine but Microsoft seem happy to flood us with new stuff and then abandon it after a few short months usually the day we've deployed it to production. Remember IDC/HTC before ASP? Remember their first rush to do XML schema's (obsoleted a year later) SOAP, WSE, AJAX (correct me if I'm wrong but we seem to have had ADC then RDC and then XML Data Islands all trying to do the same thing and all pretty much broken on first release) Get the basics sorted out first instead of obsessing over being cool.

    Some examples: Who in the world ever thought that a designer that screwed up your HTML was a good idea? and why has it taken so long to fix? Why do so many of the class libraries break Microsoft's own programming guidelines and are now having to be replaced? How can we have a "we bet the company on it" product that even in its second incarnation shows up some pretty fundamental flaws within minutes of using it: Try knocking up a form with a text-box label that is right-aligned in a bold font and marvel at how the font gets truncated mid-character on the right regardless of the video driver you're using - this is pretty basic functionality! I would argue that basic bugs like this arise because of the obsession with delivering gimmicky "new" functionality that doesn't actually work instead of focussing on the basics that most of us need to deliver solid, performant and reliable solutions.

    Of course if I were a rather naive student with no real job to worry about then I'd probably be raving about cool new stuff and complaining about old farts working in the real world too Wink

    Visual Studio Team System is, from what I've seen, a good example of this rush to deliver stuff without properly thinking through the requirements. At the roadshow day it was scary how often in answer to a question (the event was attended by IT professionals not over-enthusiastic students!) the answer invariably appeared to be "We'll be looking at that in the release after the next one" (ie the THIRD release) - we're talking pretty basic requirements - and that's several months before even the first retail release is out the door! In the meantime we'll no doubt spend the first few years of release 1 and release 2 battling our way around incomplete products, appalling bugs or lapses in functionality, getting up to speed with things that just don't work waiting for the version that should have been released to come out. It's such an unproductive waste of time.

    I remember the time wasted writing my own web farm session management, trying to work around all the bugs in MDAC that stopped ADC or RDC working - pain and long, long wasted hours that could have been saved with just a bit of thought about what the real world requirements were.

    OK, I'm playing devil's advocate a bit here (as evidenced by the fact I've been playing with Beta 1 and am downloading Beta 2 as I type) but attitudes like that of dotnetjunkie, to me, smack of naive hobbyist rather than realistic IT professional. It was frightening how many times the answer to some pretty basic questions at the recent VSTS roadshow seemed to be NOT that it would be in the retail releas, or even in the next release after that, but in the release after that. And in the meantime we'll have to jump through all the same time-wasting hoops, learning and unlearning tricks that wouldn't be necessary if someone just said "What is that the business NEEDS for this to work?"