At the recent ContrOCC workshop on ad-hoc reporting John Boyle was reminded of a paper he wrote in 1984 suggesting that the ‘on button’ for a simple calculator (one that could perform addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) should be replaced by a ‘test’ button. On pressing the test button, the screen would display a simple, but appropriate, test: for example, 7 * 8. If the human entered the correct answer, only then would the calculator switch on and the user[...]
Here at OCC we are celebrating a double sale of our contract management system ContrOCC. Cheshire West Local Authority has recently purchased both ContrOCC Adult and ContrOCC Children and we also have a number of tenders in progress with other local authorities. This is a really positive step, given the anxiety at the moment surrounding the public sector cuts, showing that local authorities are prepared to and feel that it is still worth investing in contract management.
At OCC there are regular presentations between the engineers on any technical topic of interest. We’ve decided to post a recent one on a technique called Object-relational mapping. Object-relational mapping in computer software is a programming technique for converting data between incompatible type systems in relational databases and object oriented programming languages. So it bridges the gap between the database and the code that uses the data. ORM can be used for Fast prototyping and any data-based product that doesn’t have[...]
Flowplayer is a Flash-based video-player that supports streaming video using the Adobe’s Real-Time Messaging Protociol (RTMP). Amazon CloudFront is a content-delivery network (CDN) tied in with Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), and can stream via RTMP. Great! This is a simple-to-set-up, cost-effective, and reliable video-on-demand system. Where you can get a little bit tangled up is the way the video resource is identified to the player. Following the recipe for Flowplayer with the RTMP plug-in, you need two values, the[...]
OCC software is being submitted for approval by MCERTS. This is the Environment Agency (EA) Monitoring Certification Scheme. As OCC provides software for air quality monitoring, we have attracted interest from “MCERTS for Software” which is new. As the EA document puts it: Problems with Data Management can have a number of serious adverse effects Nothing new there. So what’s involved in MCERTS certification? It’s one of those happy occasions where a standard imposes reasonable and not too onerous restrictions[...]
The oldest software process is “code and fix”. This actually works on small one-man projects, but as a system grows, bugs become harder to fix. A typical sign of such a system is a long test phase after the system is “feature complete”. Such a long test phase plays havoc with schedules as testing and debugging is near impossible to schedule. The classic response comes from engineering, whose methods try to plan the software process in detail for a long[...]
Windows 7 64bit platform viability and new shortcuts.
Have you heard of the “smart grid”? The national generation and transmission of electricity is one of the defining problems of our time driven by concerns over energy independence, global warming and emergency resilience. To make the most of our resources and incorporate new power sources, such as wind, we will need a grid that is flexible, responsive and efficient. At National Grid work towards the smart grid has long been underway. Traditionally power is “broadcast” from a few central[...]
The conventional approach to making videos or other data available online is to buy a server and host it at an ISP. This requires up-front capital costs for the server, and development of systems to keep track of backups, redundant copies, and scaling up as your needs increase. An alternative approach is to use storage web services, such as Amazon’s Simple Storage Service, or Amazon S3 for short. Your files are stored on the same highly scalable, reliable, fast, inexpensive[...]
OK, so as a technology savvy business I’m sure that I don’t need to tell you what ‘Web 2.0’ and the whole social networking sphere is, but if you’re asking yourself should I be doing this? or if you’re already doing social marketing and not seeing results, then I may have some answers for you. Now that 2.0 is in full swing, businesses of all shapes and sizes are getting involved and investing significantly in activities around social networking and[...]