Old site

Content imported from my previous website, which was active until April 2007.

Moving on

I’m no longer a software risk consultant; I start at the Board for Actuarial Standards at the beginning of May. Consulting has been fun, but it’s time to move on.

News update 2007-04: April 2007 =================== Contents: 1. Last issue 2. Newsletter information =============== 1. Last issue Some of you may have noticed that this newsletter hasn’t appeared for a while, and somebody has even asked why (hi Steve!). Early this year I decided that I was going to stop being an independent consultant, and […] Read more

In my November newsletter I discussed how an error that appears small at the time it occurs can have a big result down the line. Gordon Bagot replied as follows: I too have come across this problem with a former client. A currency exchange rate was wrongly transferred from one electronic data file to another, […] Read more

News update 2006-11: November 2006 =================== Contents: 1. Small error, big result 2. Nobody will ever… 3. Just pick it up and carry it 4. Newsletter information =============== 1. Small error, big result Guess what happens when you put the wrong data in? Surprise, surprise, you get the wrong answer out at the other end. […] Read more

Women in IT

It’s official! I’m an unusual person. Just 16% of IT workers are women. Seriously, though, it appears that the proportion of women in IT is actually falling, as more leave the field than join it.

Widespread delays to the London Underground this week were caused by one of the Tube’s infrastructure operators installing new software. The new software was loaded over the weekend, presumably to minimise any disruption. There’s no indication of what actually went wrong, or whether it could have been prevented by better (or more, or any) testing.

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A misplaced decimal point has cost Clerical Medical £17m. Apparently a wrong decimal point was input to some unit pricing data in 2002.

A white paper from Lepus Consulting on The Management of Spreadsheet Use in Financial Services. Despite the title, it considers only investment banks. It’s mainly anecdotal evidence from a survey (no numbers), with a short guide to best practice.


Another web-based spreadsheet. I don’t know how it compares to Google’s.


Apparently it’s possible to use them to hack into ATMs, as well as to annoy your fellow passengers.


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