PraxIS September 2003                    ISSN 1649-2374

03-09 Contents: Emergency Planning, Pre-Euro countries, Spreadsheet audit course, best practice weblog, ICS charity PCs

This issue online at


Systems Modelling Ltd.: Managing reality in Information Systems - strategies for success

1) Risk management
   Emergency Planning Society of Ireland inaugural meeting 

2) The Euro and pre-Euro countries - a question for readers
  What countries have heavy cents? 
  Scotland: Euro membership needs 'hard work'
  Official links for the Euro and the UK

3) Course in spreadsheet auditing/testing Sep 26, Dublin
   For auditors and end-user trainers and developers

4) Weblog for more frequent PraxIS updates
   My new "best practice" blog launched
   The immigration officer's intelligence source: Google!

5) Irish Computer Society: refurbished PCs for charity

6) On the lighter side

13 Web links in this newsletter
About this newsletter and Archives
Subscribe and Unsubscribe information



Please let me know what you think of this newsletter - I'm always interested in receiving your comments! Thanks for reading,

Patrick O'Beirne



1) Risk management

Emergency Planning Society (Republic of Ireland Branch)

Cumann na Pleanála Eigeandála (Craobh Phoblacht na hÉireann)
Conference Stillorgan Park Hotel Dublin
Thursday October 16th 2003 09.00 – 17.30
Title: Integrated Emergency Planning – Impacts on YOU

"This conference marks the launch of the Report of the Working Group of the Republic of Ireland Branch of the EPS on Integrated Emergency Planning in Ireland.

Emergency Planning operates at all levels from local to national to international and within all sectors. Within a business it is essential that departmental plans be drawn up in an overall business context. Equally within Emergency Services areas and at a national level there must be a system of drawing together the plans of all of the parties involved, of ensuring that they are compatible, and that together they form a cohesive overall plan."

Fee: EPS Members €150 Non-members €200
Contact: Emergency Planning Society, C/O The Mews, 15 Adelaide Street, Dun Laoghaire Co Dublin.
For further information contact Michael Gallagher, Tel +353 87 2347788 or e-mail gallagml-at-iol-dot-ie


2) The Euro and pre-euro countries

Reader response requested

Marion Bywater pointed me to the euro exchange rates at

where she noted that Cyprus, UK, Latvia and Malta will have the same problem as Ireland, that their currency is heavier than the euro and so prices will seem to increase; and IT systems will have similar re-conversion problems!

Here's a question for my well-informed readers: for other countries like Sweden, Denmark, Czech Rep, Slovakia, Slovenia, Poland, Lithuania, Hungary, and Estonia, do any of them have a smallest coin or amount of payment that is heavier than the euro cent?  For example, in Belgium, although there were nearly 40 francs to the euro, the smallest coin was 1 franc, so it was worth about 2.5c.

Please pass on this question to your contacts in those countries with a request for a reply directly to me - thanks!  Oh, and if they would like to sign up for this newsletter, they're welcome!

So as not to forget the UK, here's an item I noticed on the EuroItemsOfInterest YahooGroup:

Scotland: Euro membership needs 'hard work' 

Scots Secretary Alistair Darling has warned that hard work was needed to make sure Scotland was ready to join the single European currency.

He spoke out at the first meeting of the Scottish Euro Preparations Committee in Edinburgh.

The Euro and the UK

The main information site for British preparations is, the UK Treasury's euro business website. It was last updated in June 2003 with the third outline National Changeover Plan and Local Authority Euro Preparations Guidance.

Information on UK Government policy on Economic and Monetary Union is available on the main Treasury web site:


3) Course in spreadsheet quality Sep 26, Dublin

On Monday Sep 26 I plan to run a one-day course at the Centre for Software Engineering (on the Dublin City University campus). This will cover auditing tools and good development practices.

Who should attend:

- End User Testing experts
- Internal IT Auditors
- Consultants and Risk Management advisors
- Financial planners and Accountants
- Spreadsheet modelling specialists
- Quality assurance and development methods experts
- Audit and testing tools vendors and trainers
- End User Computing training and support staff
- Skills Certification testers
- Business and Economics specialists, financial modelling especially
- Management Science experts, modelling especially

Outline of training course in SPREADSHEET DEVELOPMENT and AUDITING

1. Overview: when a spreadsheet is the appropriate tool.
2. Tailoring a lifecycle from a risk analysis.
3. Outline of user skills certification testing.
4. Outline of a spreadsheet style guide.
5. Examples of good practice and process improvement
6. Demonstration and practice: auditing software utility.

More info:

_______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________

4) Weblog for more frequent PraxIS updates

Some people want to hear news as it happens, others want a monthly digest. How to keep everybody happy? Enter the blog! I am using Rael Dornfest's Blosxom ( pronounced "blossom", see ) to organise articles that I upload every couple of days. The blog is at

or a more readable entry page is

The first few entries focus heavily on spreadsheet risks, but the content will broaden as time goes on.

Blosxom was recommended to me by Bernie Goldbach, an American lecturer at Tipperary Institute and tech journalist for the Irish Examiner. His blog is at ("Web intelligence snippets from Ireland") from which the following example of "counter-googling" is taken. The term comes from :

"instead of consumers Googling you before they buy your services, you should Google THEM, and instantly get more personal information than you'd ever be able to capture with traditional 1:1 in an entire life-time. TRENDWATCHING.COM has dubbed this emerging trend COUNTER-GOOGLING,"

I think this is a counter-intuitive choice of name, as it has nothing to do with being against Google, but once a meme starts, there's not much one can do.


TREND WATCHING -- I was Googled at the counter of the British immigration authorities before begin granted permission to enter the United Kingdom. That was the first "counter googling" in my life and it led to a successful outcome.

"Right," said the tall Scottish immigration official. "I've had a look at the IN-TER-NET and I know what you're on about. We've had a talk with my colleagues in Dublin and I can tell you that they are not happy . . . with my decision." So the British let me continue unimpeded throughout the European Union while the Irish had previously "refused leave to land in Ireland."

Not content with one blog, Bernie also runs a TypePad page of "microcontent seen and heard in Ireland" :

_______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________


Simply send your comments to FEEDBACK (at) SYSMOD (dot) COM

Thank you! Patrick O'Beirne, Editor

_______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________

5) Irish Computer Society: refurbished PCs for charities

"The Irish Computer Society in association with the City Centre Branch of the Dublin Lions Club pilot a PC Refurbishment Scheme.

The ICS in association with the City Centre Branch of the Dublin Lions Club request donations of obsolete/dated personal Computers & peripherals (printers / scanners / mice / modems / cables etc).

The equipment will be donated to very deserving causes who cannot afford to purchase their own (Charities / Schools / Individuals etc).

In an age when computer hardware and software becomes obsolete so quickly, and when disused equipment can be so difficult to dispose of, here is an excellent way in which to benefit others who might not need the level of computing power you do, yet who's lives could be altered profoundly by being donated equipment they otherwise would not be able to afford.

Terms: * All equipment MUST be in working order. * All equipment MUST fit our minimum specification requirements. * All hard drives MUST be erased of data."


6) On the lighter side

From the Risks Digest:

Man steals tracking device, which tracks him down

"A man stole a $2500 GPS-based computerized home-detention tracking device that had been temporarily left outside the home of the woman who was supposed to be wearing it. By the time she reported the loss, prison officials had already rounded up the thief. [Source: AP item 1 Sep 2003; PGN-ed] "

Almost a candidate for the "Darwin awards": "The Darwin Awards honor those who improve our gene pool... by removing themselves from it. "


Copyright 2003 Systems Modelling Limited, . Reproduction allowed provided the newsletter is copied in its entirety and with this copyright notice.

We appreciate any feedback or suggestions for improvement. If you have received this newsletter from anybody else, we urge you to sign up for your personal copy by sending a blank email to 
EuroIS-subscribe (at) yahoogroups (dot) com
- it's free!

For those who would like to do more than receive the monthly newsletter, the EuroIS list makes it easy for you to discuss issues raised, to share experiences with the rest of the group, and to contribute files to a common user community pool independent of the web site. I will be moderating posts to the EuroIS list, to screen out inappropriate material.

Patrick O'Beirne, Editor

"Praxis" means model or example, from the Greek verb "to do". The name is chosen to reflect our focus on practical solutions to IS problems, avoiding hype. If you like acronyms, think of it as "Patrick's reports and analysis across Information Systems".


To read previous issues of this newsletter please visit our web site at


This newsletter is prepared in good faith and the information has been taken from observation and other sources believed to be reliable. Systems Modelling Ltd. (SML) does not represent expressly or by implication the accuracy, truthfulness or reliability of any information provided. It is a condition of use that users accept that SML has no liability for any errors, inaccuracies or omissions. The information is not intended to constitute legal or professional advice. You should consult a professional at Systems Modelling Ltd. directly for advice that is specifically tailored to your particular circumstances.

Copyright (c) SML 2003

Please tell a friend about this newsletter.
We especially appreciate a link to from your web site!


We guarantee not to sell, trade or give your e-mail address to anyone.
To subscribe to this Newsletter send an email to
EuroIS-subscribe (at) yahoogroups (dot) com
To unsubscribe from this Newsletter send an email to
EuroIS-unsubscribe (at) yahoogroups (dot) com
EuroIS is the distribution list server of the PraxIS newsletter. It also offers a moderated discussion list for readers and a free shared storage area for user-contributed files. The archives of this group are on YahooGroups website