Tuesday, 15 January 2013

A Taxing Time

The last few weeks have been rather busy.  We spent Xmas with one son and family in Colne and then New Year with the other son and family in Oxford. When we eventually returned to Gecko I had to put my shoulder to the grindstone and get our tax returns completed and submitted before the deadline of Jan 31.  Being able to do this online is certainly more convenient than filling in reams of paper by hand.  On the whole the process is fairly painless but I still despair at the fundamental and stupid errors made in the design and writing of the programme.
The basic assumption by systems annalists appears to be that the punter who completes one form per year has an intimate understanding of the processes as deep as  those who spend all day working with them. This is fairly common nowadays.  In particular three things caused me to question the competence of this particular programme team.
1 - If you enter 0 (zero) in a box it is disallowed and one is advised that the value must be greater than zero or left blank.  Surely entering zero indicates that the question has been read and responded to whereas a blank field might just as easily indicate an accidental or intentional oversight.
2 - Later in the same form, however, there is a field where leaving it blank is not permitted - a zero or other number is mandatory. Why the inconsistency?
3- When entering the sort code for my bank I used the standard format - 00-00-00.
This generated a lengthy list of symbols  that are not permitted and  instruction to limit the field to six digits.  Why will the field accept more than six digits, then?
All this, you will understand, is by way of an excuse for notwriting anything for a while and an effort to divert your attention whilst I take another absence from the computer.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Black Country to Black Sea

On Oct 25 I wrote about The Longest Narrowboat Journey in thge World because we had just seen the boat involved moored on the Macclesfield Canal.  Over Xmas I  had an unexpected and very welcome  surprise: fellow narrowboaters Chris and Paul sent me a copy of the DVD which was made during the journey. What a great end to 2012.