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Dave Mandl

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Some Silicon Valley guy: wants creators to pay him, so he can get even richer

From corporate bod to startup star: The 10-month gig that changed everything

For pretty much my entire career as a techie (variously a developer, manager, and consultant) I’ve worked for very large, usually global, companies, most of them in the financial industry. A couple of years ago I decided I needed a break from that world. After taking some time off to de-stress and pursue a few personal projects …
Dave Mandl, 25 Mar 2014

App.net 'not just a way for nerds to talk to each other', boss tells nerds

Column It has never been quite accurate to describe the social network App.net, founded by developer and entrepreneur Dalton Caldwell a little over a year ago, as simply a Twitter also-ran. True, the similarities between the two are impossible to miss: App.net users have accounts prefixed by “@” from which they post (not tweet) …
Dave Mandl, 14 Mar 2014
ISC Compucolor II. Source: Oldcomputers.net

Big Data: Why it's not always that big nor even that clever

You may not realize it, but data is far and away the most critical element in any computer system. Data is all-important. It’s the center of the universe. A managing director at JPMorgan Chase was quoted as calling data “the lifeblood of the company.” A major tech conference held recently (with data as its primary focus) …
Dave Mandl, 13 Feb 2013

I watched Excel meet 1-2-3, and beat it fair and square

I remember Lotus 1-2-3 very well. It really was as widely used as all the history-of-Lotus stories claim it was. In fact, back around, say, 1984, when almost no software package had a monopoly, Lotus already had its particular niche locked up tightly. That’s right: WordPerfect was still a serious competitor to Microsoft Word …
Dave Mandl, 31 Jan 2013
Targeted Spam

Ever had to register to buy online - and been PELTED with SPAM?

Spam has been a fact of life, on a par with death and taxes, for many years now. To be blunt, spammers don’t particularly care about us. They don’t have any sense of reason or shame that we can appeal to, and they have no incentive to be accommodating. We’re not their customers. In fact they make their money from selling us, not …
Dave Mandl, 02 Jan 2013

Yes, hundreds upon hundreds of websites CAN all be wrong

One day a couple of years ago I happened to hear an old song called “The Endless Enigma,” by Emerson, Lake & Palmer, that I remembered from when I was a teenager. Listening to it again reminded me that there was a line in the lyrics that I’d never been able to understand: I’m tired of ________, with tongues in their cheeks… This …
Dave Mandl, 31 Dec 2012
hand with thumb up

When your squash partner 'endorses' your coding skills on LinkedIn...

The amount of virtual spam I get from LinkedIn seems to be steadily increasing, to the point where, frankly, I can usually ignore the majority of email that has its name on the From: line. But maybe a month or two ago I suddenly started seeing a slew of LinkedIn recommendations from friends and colleagues in my inbox. I couldn’t …
Dave Mandl, 28 Dec 2012

Trust the cloud with my PRECIOUS? You gotta be joking

Being a hardcore music geek of a certain age, I own several thousand LPs, CDs, and cassettes that I accumulated over the course of several decades. But as any serious record buff knows, collections like this are not remotely scaleable. I have several closets bursting with music in assorted physical media and I know people who …
Dave Mandl, 24 Dec 2012
Screenshot showing overriding check-in policy in Team System.

What Compsci textbooks don't tell you: Real world code sucks

There’s a kind of cognitive dissonance in most people who’ve moved from the academic study of computer science to a job as a real-world software developer. The conflict lies in the fact that, whereas nearly every sample program in every textbook is a perfect and well-thought-out specimen, virtually no software out in the wild is …
Dave Mandl, 21 Dec 2012

Annual reviews: It's high time we rid the world of this insanity

An inescapable and widely dreaded fact of life for people employed in the financial industry is the annual review. Unlike the way this process might have worked a few decades ago, and still does in most other industries, it’s not a simple matter of sitting down with your manager at the end of the year for a casual discussion of …
Dave Mandl, 28 Nov 2012

How spreadsheets (nearly) conquered and killed the financial industry

In my first job out of college I worked at a timesharing firm. For those of you who don’t know, timesharing, whose heyday was in the late 1970s, allowed companies to use large mainframe-based systems without themselves having to purchase these huge computers and hire an army of support staff. Once signed up, a company shares a …
Dave Mandl, 19 Nov 2012
An original member of the System/360 family announced in 1964, the Model 50 was the most powerful unit in the medium price range.

Easy to use, virus free, secure: Aaah, how I miss my MAINFRAME

Mention mainframe computers today and most people will conjure an image of something like an early analogue synthesiser crossed with a brontosaurus. Think a hulking, room-sized heap of metal and cables with thousands of moving parts that requires an army of people just to keep it plodding along. A no-name PC today would blow a …
Dave Mandl, 16 Nov 2012

How IT bosses turned the tables on our cushy consultancy gigs

I think I’ve been through enough economic cycles in my life to say that the nature of employment, at least in the financial-tech industry that I’m most familiar with, has changed fundamentally in the last few years. If you’re a technology worker and your job suddenly seems unusually precarious, that’s because it is: fear of …
Dave Mandl, 04 Nov 2012
interview_suit_and_tie

So you wanna be a Wall Street techie? Or anyway, get paid a lot

For at least a couple of decades now, if you’ve been a technologist and wanted to get paid as highly as possible for your work, there’s been pretty much only one place to go: the financial industry. meeting_room_empty_chair Have a seat, chum... we'll be in shortly to pick up the questionnaire on the syntax of complicated and …
Dave Mandl, 19 Jun 2012