Our planned start time of 4pm was delayed due to traffic delays. A large truck was blocking the road and we didn’t move for nearly an hour! By this stage the team just wanted to get going as the adrenaline and testosterone competed.
Finally we moved and with only an hour to go we started getting dressed and doing a kit check. Spirits were high as we drove through the most amazing Highland scenery. Then it appeared and it was time!
We jumped out of the minibus had the obligatory photographs and started climbing at 6pm. We opted for the hard start to test ourselves.
What a foolish mistake. Within an hour we were under pressure. The climb is rocky, steep and undulating and you seem to spend an inordinate amount of time looking at your feet so as not to stumble. Ben Nevis is also seriously deceiving because you never seem to be able to see the summit.
There was a common theme with our fellow mountaineers, as everytime we met people on the descent and got a progress check for the summit we were told that it was “only an hour to go” and it was “naughty” at the top. The first time it was OK, but when we asked an hour later and got the same response it was demotivating for everyone.
We eventually encountered heavy snow and knew we must be close! What a buzz as we finally made it to the top. We were exhilarated and quite emotional at the scale of the achievement. We made our calls home to family and turned for home as due to the heavy snow and fog we couldn’t see any distance. The long and precarious descent followed, the last hour in the dark!
By the time we met Oli at the bottom we were exhausted with legs like jelly. We scoffed various sandwiches, fruit, biscuits and chocolate and enjoyed some hot drinks before crashing out in the minibus as Oli started the long drive south.
As I write this we are near Carlisle just after sunrise heading for the Lake District and our next challenge.
Everyone’s an application developer these days. Your company probably has thousands of them, and you can be assured that almost none of them work in your app development teams or follow any of your programming standards. We are talking about undocumented and uncontrolled code and totally unregulated programmers.
Who are these renegade coders? Simple – they are all the people who have ever recorded a macro in Office. These people have created thousands of code snippets that do really cool stuff as far as they are concerned. They auto-size columns, fill in formulas and perform calculations in Excel and auto format fonts, sections and tables in Word. They automate the mundane and repetitive tasks that no one wants to do over and over again. Your people depend on this code, even take pride in it. Their productivity is often directly linked to this code.
Without going to extremes, you may already know that some spreadsheets actually ARE seen as applications in their own right, keeping departments running and producing critical outputs.
Your planned move from Office 2003 to 2007/2010 will need to account for these data files and their embedded code and links, otherwise when you replace these users’ Excel 2003 with Excel 2007, you could be looking at a very angry crowd the next day. Excel 2007 VBA is not 100% backwards-compatible with 2003 VBA and that is now your problem, not Microsoft’s.
You could literally have millions of different applications out there in your DATA estate. The impression might be that this is a horror story that is set to explode in your face and it could just turn out that way if you don’t get your Office Data Migration strategy right. If you don’t currently have a strategy to handle this then for you this news really is an unforeseen development.
Of course this is not a unique or insurmountable migration obstacle and there are ways to remediate these code-ridden files so that they do work after your Office rollout. All you have to do is identify the files in question, then upgrade the VBA code and fix the links, in the right sequence and with the right timing against your Office deployment.
There is no escaping the fact that you CAN do it. Chances are, however, that you haven’t done this before whereas we have. That’s why we offer an Office Data Risk Appraisal service. In short order we can give you an absolutely quantitative analysis of your risk position regarding Office Data files. It’s quick, non-intrusive and you have to ask yourself, what’s the point of carrying this much unknown risk when your bottom line depends on your users remaining optimally productive?
On Wednesday night, in homes across the South East the intrepid team from Camwood all started to lay out kit and start packing for the 3 peaks challenge!
As the evening grew later the enormity of the task started dawning. As we all watched the weather forecast in our respective homes we realised that it was going to be so cold that it would be snowing and windy on Ben Nevis our first mountain. Great! So not only could we not read maps, but now we couldn’t see the paths.
We all met at Euston on Thursday morning and agreed that none of us had slept well. Still we prepared ourselves with healthy bacon and sausage rolls and large coffees before boarding the train bound for Glasgow.
Our 3 Peaks flag
arrived at Euston thanks to one of our colleagues who had to collect it in person after being let down on the delivery.
Having been on the train for all of 5 minutes I managed to catch my shorts on the arm rest and badly tear them! Great start!
We all look the part in our matching blue Cancer Research t-shirts and are all in good form knowing that we have now raised in excess of £4500 for Cancer Research! What a great motivator for the challenge ahead.
A strange ritual is occurring in front of me as my team members are cutting up the maps with scissors. We also now have Glen on video saying, “we don’t need the maps for Ben Nevis and Snowdon”……. Who needs inspiration?
We have just received a £20 donation from Sally Thomson on the train! She commented “loved the map reading, your approach seems so rational…… NOT. This is the best entertainment ever!”.
I should point out at this point that Sally is a nurse who my well be needed at some stage! Thank you Sally.
More updates will follow as events unfold!
After a couple of mid week walks around the Caversham Heights area I joined Oli and family on Sun 16th
to scale Tot Hill which is near Newbury the intention was to get used to a some gradient walking … crikey this is not a stroll in the park .. lucky I have my walking poles but must remember to take oxygen and a new set of lungs for the real thing.
Monday … why do people do this ?
Tuesday … everyone is entitled to a rest day surely
Wednesday … come on let’s get out there … decided to walk up the hilliest parts of Caversham Heights… been past this house 4 times I think they are starting to get suspicious …. think I should knock on the door and explain … no stop the heavy breathing might not help!
Thursday – Gym review session … Instructor hasn’t turned up some people no dedication! Just a hour this time followed by a quick swim and a Jacuzzi .. let’s hope they have the same facilities on Ben Nevis.
Sunday last big walk before kick-off – This time it’s the South Downs not sure why they call it the downs coz its steep as you like …. shish kebab it must be 30 degrees up here ideal training for those snowy peaks! 2 hours of hell and thats only 1/3 of what we will do for Ben Nevis alone hopefully the guys will bring a stretcher coz I think I will need a helping hand.