PraxIS May 2009

09-05 Contents: Java Upskilling, eVoting, Team Communications, Spreadsheet Conference & modelling

ISSN 1649-2374 This issue online at   [Previous] [Index]  [Next]

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


1) IT
     Java upskilling in Dublin for only 45 euro
     The end of the e-Voting Saga

2) Research
     Online Meeting Rooms

3) Spreadsheets
     Eusprig 2009 Conference Early Bird discount
     Framework Development Project
     Can you describe a financial model as a city?

4) Off Topic

19 links in this newsletter
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Welcome to PraxIS

Feedback is welcome!

Patrick O'Beirne

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1)  IT

Java upskilling in Dublin for only 45 euro
The UCD School of Computer Science and Informatics together with UCD campus company Crovan is offering training for IT professionals who have recently been made redundant. This is one of a number of initiatives that the School is currently undertaking to participate in the National Recovery Plan. The training will enable non-Java programmers to become familiar and proficient with Java and help to prepare them for the Sun Certified Java Programming (SCJP) qualification. UCD are offering two courses, one on the “Foundations of Java” and the other on “Advanced Java”, and it is the intention that both courses would be taken to bring a developer or programmer from another programming language into Java. Each course is of one week's duration (Wednesday to Tuesday) and is based in UCD.

The end of the e-Voting Saga

At last, we have the end of a story that I started mentioning in 2003:

The ill-fated electronic voting system in Ireland is to be scrapped, having cost at least €51m to date which does not include the cost of storing the machines.

Environment Minister John Gormley said a task force is being set up to oversee the disposal of the voting and counting equipment and the end of storage arrangements.

The story is also covered at:

And a fierce political discussion at


2) Research

Online Meeting Rooms

As part of setting up team communications for a research project, I've been looking into video and file communications. Skype provides a video call facility. There is a commercial service and I also found a free service for up to six participants at   says it is free for up to 20.

Have you any experience with these services? Let me know!


Bernie Goldbach ( who gets through more gadgets than I do, suggested we try as a file sharing system that quietly synchronizes folders among participants.

It seems like a simple idea and suitable for very large uploads which you want to happen in idle time rather than by email or conventional FTP.


3) Spreadsheets

Eusprig 2009 Conference: Early Bird saves 100 euro

You can now register & pay online at

The service is provided by, the merchant name on your credit card statement will be Hanut Ltd.

Note carefully - there is an Early Bird discount of 100 euro off the full delegate price until 31 May !

There is no accommodation at the ENS Cachan site. See
for information on getting there, Hotels,  Cachan Tourist Guide and Paris Tourist Information

I hope I see some of you there!

Framework Development Project

Ray Panko has started an open group project to develop a framework for thinking about spreadsheets in research and corporate management. As a start, he proposes a six‐level framework ranging from the broadest level (the external environment level) to the narrowest (the individual spreadsheet
level). He wants to discuss whether this framework appears to be a good starting off point.

Can you describe a financial model as a city?

Rickard Wärnelid's recent discussion of that title has such analogies as

Berlin (before 1989), Germany “The financial model has been built by two different modellers, with a minimum of interaction and zero integration. One half is has a strong structural integrity and the other half excels in creativity and beautiful formatting”

... which somewhat reminds me of the saying "this book has much that is novel and correct. Unfortunately what is novel is not correct and what is correct is not novel"

What if a spreadsheet was like Dublin? I guess it would be user-friendly but poorly formatted and dull.

Spreadsheet Check and Control: 47 best practices to detect and prevent errors



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

Thank you! Patrick O'Beirne, Editor

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4) Off Topic


We all know what that code means now, whether we also call it hog flu, pig flu, or swine flu.

Influenza A virus subtype H1N1, also known as A(H1N1), is a subtype of influenzavirus A and the most common cause of influenza (flu) in humans. Some strains of H1N1 are endemic in humans, including the strain(s) responsible for the 1918 flu pandemic which killed 50–100 million people worldwide. Less virulent H1N1 strains still exist in the wild today, worldwide, causing a small fraction of all influenza-like illness and a large fraction of all seasonal influenza. H1N1 strains caused roughly half of all flu infections in 2006. Other strains of H1N1 are endemic in pigs and in birds.

The new strain is an apparent reassortment of four strains of influenza A virus subtype H1N1. Analysis by the CDC identified the four component strains as one endemic in humans, one endemic in birds, and two endemic in pigs (swine).

If I want a compact summary of news items on any current story, I wait for an email from Al Macintyre, who before his present job as a computer manager was an internet researcher and well able to sift the what from the chat (stet). He found this Google map of incidents:

Here in Ireland, the outspoken head of Ryanair, "Doctor" Michael O'Leary has had his Berlusconi moment (*) when he stated that only slum dwellers are threatened by the disease and that Westeners need only take Strepsils (cough sweets).

(*) Berlusconi recently said that those affected by the earthquake in Aquila should take living in tents as like being on a camping holiday. The Italian papers referred to it as his "Bush moment".  Now his wife says she wants a divorce, citing other machinations:


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