The curse of metadata

Posted by & filed under IT & the Internet.

For the last seven years of my professional life, one issue has dominated above all others, and that is metadata. Metadata is a simple notion really, that of describing things in a summarised fashion so that they can discovered by searching catalogues and then used in a practical way. A library book index is an… Read more »

Cheltenham moon

Posted by & filed under Personal, Science, Travel.

Last weekend I spent a couple of days in Cheltenham visiting an old school friend, John. I had a great tour of most of the pubs and clubs and can confirm that yes, the place is small and peaceful, and just a bit upmarket (maybe too much for an unsophisticate like me), whilst at the… Read more »

My schizoid workplace

Posted by & filed under Software engineering.

In the organisation where I am employed there is a dual, almost schizophrenic, nature to the work that I (and the other software engineers in my team) do there. Our funding comes from several sources, but a large portion comes from academic research councils. The nature of this funding is that it involves short-term projects… Read more »

Why I love Google Maps

Posted by & filed under IT & the Internet, Software engineering.

I spend a lot of my time working with and developing Geographic Information software, especially graphical mapping applications. Recently I have been working a lot with the mapping data and JavaScript API provided by the Google Maps service, and I am very impressed with it. It’s very simple to use, and makes adding mapping capabilities… Read more »

My macabre interest

Posted by & filed under Books, Military/Aircraft, Mountains & hills.

I go walking a lot in various parts of Scotland, especially the more mountainous and hilly bits, and I have a secret about this that that I don’t tell many people; I’m fascinated by aircraft crash wreckage that you find surprisingly often in these sorts of places. I’ve written in detail about this here.

The 80:20 and POGE software engineering rules

Posted by & filed under Software engineering.

There is a well-known ratio in engineering; 80:20. This ratio crops up in software engineering too and refers to several rules-of-thumb that sound a bit flippant but in my experience are valuable real-world guides when managing software development projects. This is also called the ‘Pareto Principle‘.

In defence of Cowboy Coding

Posted by & filed under Books, Software engineering.

At the organisation where I am a software engineer, discussions and debates about software development methodologies and tools (such as UML, Agile, XP etc) has gone on for a long time. There is a general feeling that these are a Good Idea, and that we should embrace them, but variety and complexity seem to be… Read more »

Ben Starav

Posted by & filed under Military/Aircraft, Mountains & hills, Travel.

Yesterday I climbed to the summit of Ben Starav, in Glen Etive, at 1078m (photographs here). The walk starts at sea level and goes straight up to the summit via a 3km rocky ridge, so is a relatively hard slog. I’d tried to get to the top of this mountain two years ago, in January… Read more »