General

What is the Maximum Size of a FAT-32 Partition?

Looking to format a USB drive as FAT-32? Asking people what is the maximum size of a FAT-32 partition seems to get a dozen different answers. So exactly what is the biggest possible FAT-32 partition?

Maximum Size of a FAT-32 Partition
Some sources seem to confuse the FAT-32 limit of Windows XP as the maximum size, but this is an issue with XP, not FAT-32. The most reliable sources seems to indicate that the limit of a FAT-32 Partition is 8TB.

Check out the following link for the definitive explanation Maximum Size of a FAT-32 Partition at techcosupport.com

Thursday, December 6th, 2012 General, Support Comments Off

Think Tank Slams Government IT

According to an article in Computer Weekly, a government think-tank has proposed dismantling the IT systems and business ecosystem established by Labour’s drive to computerise government. In an eBook entitled Better for Less: How to make Government IT deliver savings, posted on the Network for the Post-Bureaucratic Age website, Liam Maxwell and six other named contributors slam the track record of the government in IT procurement.

Using headings like An Evolutionary Dead End, Bad Systems Concreted In, and Very Successfully Resisting Change, the paper describes how the UK Government has enabled a small group of overly influential System Integrators to corner the market, and dispensed with appropriate transparency in the name of Commercial Confidentiality.

The other fundamental problem outlined is that Government IT has been steered away from the IT mainstream, which encompasses open platforms, open competition and rapid innovation, and diverted the huge number of captive users into an expensive, proprietary sideline, where there can be little competitive leverage. Security is cited as the smokescreen which hides the truth about poor systems implementations and inexplicable policy decisions, although commercial exploitation of the ignorant and helpless is the most likely explanation. We would argue that this is a deliberate policy by the IT suppliers which allows them to act as the only consulted advisors, and so helps to perpetuate the situation and their continued revenue.

Just to be clear, Liam Maxwell has slammed the whole way that Government IT procurement is handled, which is about time. He has identified at least seven examples where savings could be made without massive changes to the infrastructure

  • A test environment for development companies with easy access to rack-space
  • Open Source on the desktop through the use of Open Document Format
  • New models sought for software framework (may we suggest Apache, My SQL, PHP for a start)
  • Commoditization of Email and office productivity
  • Common Security Framework
  • Migrating Schools to Free email services
  • Prizes for IT innovation in education

The view we take is that because you need as many people to monitor and manage the contract than you employed originally, to deliver the service in house, and attempt to innovate where innovation is stifled, it can and will never save money. Furthermore, because the outsourced supplier never delivers all the services that were provided by the in-house team, you have to keep most of those staff on to fill in the gaps. The net result is an increase in staffing costs, less flexible service because of the overheads of “governance” and a worse service to the consumer, and in the end the tax payer.

We would like to take this even further, as the policy makers likely do not read this blog, any more that the suppliers do! Although legal constraints prevent us from actually calling for the sacking of specific individuals for incompetence (remember that quote from Microsoft’s Ed Bott that “Any IT professional who is still allowing IE6 to be used in a corporate setting is guilty of malpractice“?) or naming the guilty parties who are preparing to roll out unsupportable version of operating systems and software on new platforms going live about now, remember we are watching you.

We commend Liam Maxwell for putting in writing what many people have known for a long time: Government outsourcing using the existing framework does not work. We recommend everyone involved in Government IT procurement, on either side, should read Better for Less: How to make Government IT deliver savings.

Finally, the warning to the IT suppliers should be clear, but if not we will restate it to make sure the message gets home. Remember the following three fortune cookie quotes:

  • Use of IE6 in a Corporate Setting is Malpractice
  • More than two software versions behind the current manufacturer’s recommendations is effectively deploying obsolescence
  • Ignoring the calls of reason from the little guy is commercial suicide

Click here to read Better for Less: How to make Government IT deliver savings

Sunday, September 19th, 2010 General, News Comments Off

IAP Autumn Conference Notes

We are just back from a great conference hosted by the Institution of Analysts and Programmers (IAP), which was held in the headquarters of The Magic Circle in London, near Euston Station. The theme was The Intelligent Environment, and covered aspects of the design of robots and software avatars, medical data capture, ethics in computing, and challenges in our power distribution system.

The event was kicked of in the sumptuous theater which has been the stage for performances by numerous great magicians in the past. Following the open remarks from retiring Director General Mike Ryan, we were treated to an interesting series of discussions by the guest presenters.

The first speaker was Professor Peter McOwan, whose talk Living with Robots, explored the blurring boundaries between cognitive science and biologically inspired hardware and software, and how much had been learned from studying human interaction with pets. The scope included robots, games playing machines, robot companions and software avatars. Peter gave an insight into the EU funded Living with Robots and Interactive Companions (LIREC) project, and provided plenty of scope for further study of the subject.

Keith Errey then gave his views about the current state of medical data capture in his talk Connected Freedom – Delivering the Promise of Wireless Digital Healthcare. In a though provoking session he identified how most of our medical data is derived from very sick or even terminal patients, and that we generally have little information about the data stream which could stem from a healthy person. He scotched a few common held medical myths, and showed how earlier diagnosis of problems would lead to better outcomes for patients.

After the break, Blay Whitby gave another thought provoking presentation on The Ethical Implications of Smart Homes and ‘Caring Technologies’ with a subtitle of Would you choose to be cared for by a robot? This covered the social impact of new and emerging technologies, and he was animated in widening public engagement in science through debate.

The final part of the official programme was a tandem presentation Rachel Cary senior policy adviser at the Green Alliance and Jon Bird, entitled Smart Grids: More than a Network Issue. Between them they explored the concept that our power distribution system needs to change substantially to cope with the implementation of green technology. Paradoxically, as people switch to electric cars to save fossil fuels, the capacity of the grid may need to increase.

After a tour of the Magic Museum in the basement, lunch was served and debate was lively. The lively debate was interspersed with amazing displays of prestidigitation by our host from The Magic Circle, who baffled and intrigued each of the tables with a personal display. Sometimes the truth can be right under your nose, but you will not be able to see it. We particularly liked the watch trick which resulting in a a quick trip back through time for a watch belonging to Mike Manisty from Gartner. This would be really useful for project management!

We look forward to the IAP Conference next year!

Friday, September 17th, 2010 General Comments Off

Why Projects Fail and What To Do About It

Back in 2002 the UK Office of Government Commerce (OGC) and National Audit Office (NAO) agreed eight common causes of project failure which were disseminated to Government Departments in February 2003. These are listed below for ease, but should be read in conjunction with the NAO Report.

  1. Lack of clear link between the project and the organization’s key strategic priorities, including agreed measures of success.
  2. Lack of clear senior management and Ministerial (for ‘Ministerial’ read ‘Board Level’) ownership and leadership.
  3. Lack of effective engagement with stakeholders.
  4. Lack of skills and proven approach to project management and risk management.
  5. Too little attention to breaking development and implementation into manageable steps.
  6. Evaluation of proposals driven by initial price rather than long-term value for money (especially securing delivery of business benefits)
  7. Lack of understanding of and contact with the supply industry at senior levels of the organization.
  8. Lack of effective project team integration between clients, the supplier team and the supply chain.

In May 2005, one particularly high profile IT project was certified by the Home Office’s Programme and Project Management Support Unit as failing, and was subject to ministerial review and redefinition. The project to produce a national case management system to provide end-to-end offender management for the Prison and Probation services was called C-NOMIS, and after review was projected to be massively over budget. Interestingly, in it’s report, the National Audit Office found that C-NOMIS suffered from four of the eight common causes of project failure in full, and three in part; that must be some kind of record!

The project was laced with odd practices, which probably seemed like a good idea at the time, but in the light of day seem to be at best, short sighted. For example, the authority (the National Offender Management Service or NOMS) did not seek to revise its contractual arrangements with Syscon, the software developers, immediately the extent of the customization of an off the shelf product became clear. This is like a major corporation paying Microsoft to rewrite a substantial part of the Office suit, and then allowing Bill Gates to sell the product without a share in the profits made from the improvements. The supplier Syscon is now able to market the improved software, but taxpayers will not benefit from their investment in the product. This is not a criticism of Syscon, far from it, as they have clearly exercised their duty to their shareholders. However it does beg the question “What where NOMS thinking?”

As TechCo have decades of project management experience it is appropriate to list the guidelines we use:

  • Identify the aims of the project (including the strategic priorities) and define success in those terms. Often when you list them, there are mutual conflicts, which must be resolved before the project starts. For example deadlines around financial accounting periods (actually a constraint) and the need for a dynamic system which must respond to any change of circumstance or eventuality. If those conflicts can not be resolved, then the project should not start.
  • As the success of a project is 20% technology (the systems, processes and tools used) and 80% psychology, make sure that your key project staff are trained in people skills and team dynamics.
  • Then ensure that the board or senior management are fully engaged with the project.
  • For more information see the following links:

    Friday, August 20th, 2010 General Comments Off

    IAP Autumn Conference 2010

    Details have been released by The Institution of Analysts and Programmers of the 2010 IAP Autumn Conference, which is to be held on 17 September 2010 at the Magic Circle headquarters, not far from Euston Station. Its theme this year is “The Intelligent Environment” which shows how systems of many kinds are moving from traditional one-way command structures to be more interactive systems and mimicking intelligent behaviour.

    As with most IT fields, Women are under represented in the IAP, so if you are a working in Programming, Technology, Information, Business Analysis, Project Management or any other related field, when would now be a good time to join the Institution of Analysts and Programmers? Visit the IAP Website to learn more.

    Friday, July 9th, 2010 General Comments Off

    Plymouth City Council fined £12000 for WEEE breach

    Plymouth City Council has been fined £12000 by Plymouth Magistrates Court after being caught selling electrical waste to unauthorized recyclers, in a case brought by the Environment Agency. The council was fined £8,000 for the breach plus £3,742 costs. It has now carried out a thorough review of its procedures.

    The European Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive was first ratified by European ministers in 2003, and was eventually meant to pass into UK law in August 2006. However, delays by the Department for Trade and Industry held it back. As of 1 July, the new regulations are intended to ensure that major producers, rebranders and importers of household electrical and electronic equipment are signed up to pay for the responsible disposal and recycling of their goods. The WEEE legislation finally came into effect on the 2 January, although those affected have had until July to ensure they’re fully compliant.

    If you are interested in the disposal of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment, the Government Guidance Notes on the WEEE Regulations, and the Code of Practice are well worth a read:

    Sunday, June 27th, 2010 General Comments Off

    Space Shuttle Discovery in Record Launch

    The space shuttle Discovery launched today on one of Nasa’s final stockpiling missions to the International Space Station, and in the process will set a record for most women in space. The three women on board will join the female scientist already on the space station.

    A former schoolteacher, Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, is among the female astronauts, and two aerospace engineers, Stephanie Wilson and Japanese astronaut Naoko Yamazaki. The three will join chemist Tracy Caldwell Dyson at the International Space Station.

    Once combined, the shuttle and station crews will number 13: eight Americans, three Russians and two Japanese.

    Tags:

    Monday, April 5th, 2010 General Comments Off

    Government Publish their IT strategy

    The Government have just published their IT strategy on the cabinet office website. This describes the strategy for UK Information and Communication Technology over the next 10 years.

    According to the strategy, this will ensure that the IT infrastructure used by government departments will go through a process of standardisation and simplification based on the premise of a common infrastructure designed to enable local delivery suited to local needs. Hopefully this will help to remove duplicate infrastructure solutions across different areas of Government services.

    However, not all comment is overwhelmingly supportive; Andrea DiMaio from Gartner, argues that the underlying message is that cheaper is stronger than smarter or greener. It sounds like the Treasury is the principle driver pushing through the cost savings that every government department is required to achieve.

    To read more about this click on the links below:

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    Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010 General Comments Off

    Do something differently – take Risks

    Are you a woman who is in a male dominated industry and hesitate to take risks for fear of rejection?

    We know that Women are under represented in Technology, that is a fact, both in the UK and worldwide. Many of the women who are employed in IT are clustered in the lower skilled and lower paid areas of the industry, rather than the more professional and technical positions.

    Do you hide your intelligence to remain safe or unnoticed in relationships, at work, in life? Many women play at less than 100%. They feel if they reveal all their greatness, their talents and their intelligence that somehow they will not be safe or will set themselves up for rejection. It may feel easier to hold back than take a risk.

    If you want to do something different, RISK4Results will help you manage that fear and take the risks necessary to have maximum results in your career, relationships and life. To learn more about this interesting program visit Pink Biker Chic Risk for Results

    Wednesday, March 18th, 2009 General No Comments

    IAP Spring Conference 2009

    Details have been released by The Institution of Analysts and Programmers of the 2009 IAP Spring Conference. This year’s meeting will be based at the Museum in Docklands, close to Canary Wharf. Occupying a converted warehouse, its mix of galleries and function rooms will provide a comfortable and interesting venue for the IAP.

    The event is open to members and non-members, and for details of the programme and list of speakers see IAP News. If you are interested in joining The Institution of Analysts and Programmers see the page How To Join

    Wednesday, February 25th, 2009 General No Comments