Waging War

Posted on 9th December 2010 by Chris Lewis

What an interesting couple of years it has been! The economic crisis has impacted everyone on a global scale. Economies have been in melt down, businesses going bust, almost everyone forced to re-examine the things that were previously taken for granted and try to work out how to avoid being dragged down into the doom and gloom of economic uncertainty.

Systemation introduces CXAIR in The Netherlands

Posted on 25th November 2010 by Chris Lewis

Stafford, United Kingdom/Gouda The Netherlands, 25th November 2010 — Today we are pleased to announce the partnership between Systemation, the application integration and modernisation experts, and Connexica, the developer of CXAIR (formerly known as NetSearch) the leading next generation business intelligence (‘BI’) tool. Based in Gouda, the Netherlands, Systemation will be the national distributor for these innovative BI tools in the Netherlands.

Has Everyone Gone Barking Mobile?

Posted on 22nd November 2010 by Chris Lewis

The answer is yes. Is this a new topic? Well no and yes.

Nowadays when you mention mobile, most people will immediately equate this to mobile phones.

Retiring the Heavy Weight Losers of BI

Posted on 16th November 2010 by Chris Lewis

Here are some thoughts following the Audley Harrison versus David Haye fight on Saturday…

Death of the Desktop

Posted on 8th November 2010 by Chris Lewis

When I thought about writing this blog it was going to be called “death of a PC”. This was going to be about what happened to me on a recent sales trip to Dubai when a demo machine we had setup remotely from the UK died before my eyes a few hours before an important presentation.

I ended up doing the demo on my laptop and averted what could have been a total disaster; however it made me think a bit about how we can avoid this kind of thing in the future… don’t use standalone desktops for demos and make sure you have a backup plan for starters…

Strip Back the Excess

Posted on 1st November 2010 by Chris Lewis

In these difficult times, people have to be more and more careful about how money is spent.

Many of us will have made impulse buying decisions in the past; be it a CD, computer game, wide screen TV, camera or at the other end of the extreme, a car, a holiday home or a yacht.

At the time it’s a great idea. What would I ever be able to do without one? In fact, is one enough? Should I buy two? A few weeks later, it’s still in the box or still in the drive or moored at sea several hundred miles away.

Antavent and Connexica announce next generation Business Intelligence partnership

Posted on 24th October 2010 by Chris Lewis

Stafford, United Kingdom, 19 October 2010 — Today we are pleased to announce the partnership between Antavent, the business system integration and modernisation experts, and Connexica, the leading next generation business intelligence tool provider. Based in Dresden, Germany, Antavent will be selling these innovative BI tools within central Europe.

Connexica attracts VC funding from Midven

Posted on 22nd October 2010 by Chris Lewis

Stafford, United Kingdom, 29th September 2010 – A Staffordshire company which has developed unique Business Intelligence (BI) software has received investment from one of the region’s leading venture capitalists.

Connexica, based in Stafford, has attracted an investment of £250,000 from Midven’ s Exceed Midlands Advantage Fund – a recently launched £18m fund financed by LDC, Advantage West Midlands and the European Regional Development Fund.

Auto Updates – a Process Too Far?

Posted on 18th October 2010 by Chris Lewis

Have you ever returned to your desk to see a little progress bar on the screen saying that your system is about to be restarted in 30 seconds time?

Even worse, have you got back to your machine to find that your system has magically re–booted and the documents you were in the middle of reviewing, the web sites you had been browsing, the reports you had been viewing etc… are now toast!

I have.

Beware the Demo Dolly

Posted on 8th October 2010 by Chris Lewis

How often have you seen a demonstration of a product and been left feeling “all might not be exactly as it seems”.

We have all seen “slideware”. Some carefully hand crafted screen mock-ups in PowerPoint, designed to wow and amaze the target audience without having to reveal too much about “how” it works and indeed whether it does.

Sometimes it might just be a load of “vaporware”. Software that’s nowhere near finished or in some cases not even started!

The World’s on Standby

Posted on 1st October 2010 by Chris Lewis

I remember watching an episode of Dragons Den a good while ago when someone was pitching a new power saving device that cut all power to an appliance when it was put on standby.

The new super adapter plug would retail for around £15 and would pay for itself in 135 years or something like that.

Over the past 18 months I have noticed my house getting gloomier and gloomier. Perhaps this is due to general malaise (which is obviously directly linked to the economy) or something a little more sinister…

The Outlook’s Cloudy

Posted on 20th September 2010 by Chris Lewis

Working in IT you have to constantly keep your eye out for the latest innovative gizmos and tricks of the trade that allow you do flashier and flashier stuff in your web browser. We keep searching for new innovative products and services that spring up out of nowhere. Looking to back the ones we think might take off and become main stream in the next 6 to 12 months.

The pace of change is rapid. Hardware is getting faster, software is getting sexier and yet at the same time things are getting cheaper.

Going Green – A Bit Of A Rant

Posted on 10th September 2010 by Chris Lewis

Going Green – now there’s a phrase that normally raises my hackles. Turn the fire up, open the windows, I am paying for this stuff so to hell with the environment…

Or am I missing the point?

What is going green? Traffic lights go green. Dead bodies go green. Doctor David Banner goes green. What’s going green got to do with IT?

I think IT is already green.

A Sticky Future

Posted on 2nd September 2010 by Chris Lewis

When I started to develop commercial software in the early eighties the general approach to writing code consisted of finding something that someone else had written that was similar to what you wanted to do, hack it around until it did what you needed to do, change the author and then show off at how fast you had been able to write the code from scratch.

This worked fine. It got me quick results and the code generally worked after a few compiles.

Keeping Ahead of the Future

Posted on 25th August 2010 by Chris Lewis

I remember when someone was asked to come up with a phrase that described some new high tech software we had just come up with about 10 years ago.

They came up with “how about keeping ahead of the future? ”

I looked at the guy quizzically and tried to sound impressed whilst my mind tried to work out whether this was complete clap trap or actually quite clever.

The World Is Getting Smaller By The Day

Posted on 20th August 2010 by Chris Lewis

Born in the late 60’s and not knowing any friends who had flown until my teens or even had relatives who’d worked, lived or holidayed abroad is almost unbelievable today.

People think nothing of flying halfway across the world for a week in the sun or a business trip. The world seems so much smaller.

When I was younger I did what most of my friends did for holiday. We stayed in the UK and went to Wales.

Brand Over Substance?

Posted on 16th August 2010 by Chris Lewis

I come from an age when the Spectrum was the new kid on the block. I remember the smell of the machine when I took it out its box. The comforting heat omitted from it when I switched it on and sat at it writing code for hours on end.

For those of you who don’t know, the Spectrum was a competitor to the BBC computer, Commodore 64 and later the Acorn. Despite it’s rubber keys and the need to be some form of contortionist to get the keyboard to type “Beep” or “Poke” I loved it.

SQL Ninjas Need Not Apply

Posted on 16th August 2010 by Chris Lewis

Some thoughts on the dark art of hard core SQL and why there might just be an easier way of doing things.

I first got introduced to SQL in 1989 when the company I worked for embarked on the development of a new system using what was then a fairly early version of Oracle.

I was lucky enough to be sent on a couple of courses to learn about Structured Query Language (SQL) and an Oracle Forms course in Reading.