NB if you are reading a paper copy, the latest version is on www.a-b.co.uk/pps/index.htm including a table of contents!
Jobs undertaken by Colin Pearson
full time or part-time (with SU or with PPS Ltd) - permanent or contract
May2009 - Although retired
from Staffordshire University as an Enterprise Reader, I am
continuing part time with Expert Witness work and assisting in the
certification of other ICT companies.
I handle both commercial and criminal cases. I am trained as an SJE and have experience with Encase, which enables me to look at hidden areas of computer systems. I also have colleagues who can handle mobile phones, data recovery and employee misuse. I specialise in criminal defence work, including LCS funded work, and civil contractual disputes. PPS is approved for Business Link's www.SelectSupply.co.uk
The www.AccreditUK.com scheme is a newly established certificate of competence for ICT companies, not just in West Midlands. Not only did my own company attain this standard in 2009 but I,personally, am also trained as an assessor and would be delighted to assist your company in achieving certification or with any other management issues.
I am also deeply involved on a voluntary basis with several of the British Computer Society Special Interest Groups, including Internet, Law, Consultancy, Cyber Forensics.
Feb2001-Apr2009 - I was employed by Staffordshire University in a variety of roles both strategic and technical, culminating as an Enterprise Reader but previously IT for Business Manager and also Placements Manager finding sandwich year jobs for over 400 students but continuing with Expert Witness and Enterprise work such as (a) linking local business with grant and other facilities (b) lecturing on e-commerce and networking (c) carrying out research into Healthcare Computing Workflow engines by 2010 - click to www.FCET.Staffs.ac.uk/cbp1 for more details of my activities - which ALSO www.FCET.Staffs.ac.uk/diary includes a diary of forthcoming computing events of interest to Businesses in Greater West Midlands Region.
To perform these latter roles, I did a great deal of marketing by email newsletter and other CRM database activities. I also both lectured and studied on a part time Masters' degree in E-Business (including some legal modules) at the University (for more details of this visit www.fcet.staffs.ac.uk and click on link in bottom right corner. To see my first submission visit www.a-b.co.uk/pps/sticky.html . I have also been doing research into computing facilities for Health Services in Europe and especially patient access to records.
Feb - Dec 2001 - I was working on a full time short term contract with SU which linked SMEs in deprived areas of Staffordshire and other parts of West Midlands Region with Research and Evaluation facilities provided by QinetiQ (formerly DERA under an EU grant). My role is as a salesman and a facilitating project manager including some 30 computer projects and several others including psychometric testing and even sport facilities!
I have a very broad base of hybrid business & technical skills which are "most sought after" (John Miskelly, CW p40 Aug 10th) and keep up-to-date by attending many Continuing Professional Development meetings organised by British Computer Society, Society for Computers and Law and other professional bodies. This is particularly helpful in my preferred role as a "bridging" interface between IT dept / supplier and end user but I can (and do) turn my hand to many other aspects of IT..
I previously worked for 18 months in South London as a troubleshooter on Sage/Tetra Chameleon/CS3 Accounts with an Informix 4GL front end suite for a large privately-owned company, part of an international group. I was exploring and setting up links between standard packages for vehicle routing and their own 4GL suite, both investigating feasibility, providing specification and even some programming - also BOS operating system. I have made Tetra turn various somersaults with parameters and blisters and also procured some add-on extras. I recently completed a short local contract as an analyst programmer writing a replacement SOP module for Tetra CS3. Subsequently I have worked on three legal cases, two of which involved retail sales. I have also worked on telephone bill accounting for a major company.
My major roles are as Champion (an ICI term expressing rather more than just a Project Manager, including Ambassadorial functions such as internal marketing, lobbying etc), Project Leader, Business Analyst. I have a good overview of Millennium Issues. My experience is equally suited to Bridger, Systems Analyst, Support Consultant, Implementation/Acceptance Tester, User Liaison, Trainer, Systems Manager, Data Base Administrator, Team Leader etc. I have recently undertaken an MCP course in NT Administration.
My particular skills in Forensic work or ITT/Supplier Selection are rarely mentioned in advertisements but are particularly useful for some short term requirements. I have attended a conversion course for Woolf rules (including the new SJE role)
I have also programmed, and continue to run, a commercial web site selling books to Cricket Umpires worldwide! Apart from e-commerce, I also have considerable knowledge on Y2K Time Bomb matters, having written some papers for Business Link (Staffordshire) about Avoiding Millennium Mayhem also facilitating workshops for them and for Action 2000's "Last Chance", whilst some of this detail is obviously out of date, most of the principles still apply and they demonstrate my technical writing ability.
General Background of Colin Pearson
Accounts Experience & Implementation Project Management
I have implemented many accounting packages (often linked to special applications), usually in a project leader role with prime responsibility. Major ones include Prodstar for George Woolliscroft (Sales, Purchase & Nominal, Production schedules) in 1989, Control/Trader for HMG (similar) in 1991, I did some Sage and Paccioli in 1992, Multisoft Purchase & Nominal at TRL in 1993, Tetra Chameleon 2000/CS3 at ICI, Acer UK, OCS Group, 20:20 Logistics and Singlepoint 4U between 1994 and 2001. I have also worked on Pegasus with Wood, Agrico, Davenhill and other clients. At Smarts in 1999, I converted information from Global / BOS accounts to CS3 via Monarch.
I have particular experience in Order Processing for manufacturing, including bakers and book-shops (on line EDI). I have investigated government procurement / purchase order procedures and several retail operations as well as Housing Associations, solicitors and small hotels.
Contractual Negotiation, Licencing & Configuration
For many clients, I negotiated contractual terms following replies to my ITT and, in some cases, evaluated alternative solutions involving the utilisation of existing or legacy systems. I am aware of licencing, copyright and other implications. I have prepared legal reports for some clients. I review vendors' capacity planning.
Many clients have systems delivered in a standard working configuration as they are too small to justify sophisticated controls. However at my last three Unix sites, I have had to take an increasing role in such matters, partly because of the size & complexity of connecting networks but also to increase the performance of Unix and other software. I have also liased with the people responsible for the DOS & Windows networks tuning.
Avoiding Millennium Mayhem (Year 2000 Issues)
The dti asked Business Links to raise awareness of this issue. I attended several national events, organised local seminars & spoken to numerous groups on the subject. I am aware of the issues of embedded systems and the need for extremely careful project management through the planning, inventory, triage, remedy & testing stages. I produced 7 issues of a technical newsletter which received national recognition. I was a facilitator for Action 2000's occasional "Last Chance" workshops.
Currently at Staffordshire University, I have direct line responsibility for 4 members of staff and dotted line responsibility for the actions of 2 academic supervisors and over 50 visit tutors. Whilst with ICL as a Senior Analyst and Principal Engineer, I had line responsibility for two or three members of staff. Within my own business, I have three part-time staff. In most of my projects, I have technical responsibility and have to influence client staff into performing what is required - which is probably more difficult than direct line management. Whilst at ICI, I led a project team drawn from more than 10 departmental heads with conflicting political agendas.
In my voluntary activities, I have been "in charge" of over 470 instructors through a management structure, and it is even more difficult to get them to do what is required since they have the ultimate sanction of withdrawing their volunteer labour!
More seriously, with UK/EC Grant Research, I acted more as office manager than anything else. There was one secretary & the owner when I arrived. Whilst the owner recruited the sales force, I interviewed and oversaw most of the office staff (6 or 7) - leaving only when I recruited a permanent manager. I administered the sales force which was recruited on a commission only basis and had started more than 50 by the time I left. This included regular meetings which I had to address as well as organise.
I am very active in several British Computer Society groups, including acting as an assessor at interviews for professional membership grading where we ensure that candidates meet the various criteria laid down in the Industry Standard Model. I regularly attend meetings on Project Management, Electronic Publishing and Legal matters. I am Treasurer of both Internet and the recently founded Bridging specialist groups. I have been a member of Chartered Institute of Arbitrators since undertaking Expert Witness training in 1988 and continue to update those skills.
You should be aware that I am a "doer" as well as a leader. If I cannot get the right people to do the job, then I will roll up my sleeves and do it myself, whether setting up parameters, reports or just keying a list of names & addresses or balances at midnight etc. I take precautions to ensure that I am doing the right actions and rigorously document them. I try to plan for all eventualities but am not afraid to take pragmatic decisions instantly when needed. My time at ICI also proved my qualities both as leader and as team member. I had to motivate some 20 staff for whom I had no direct line responsibility and who had several different objectives!
I have created my own commercial web site (www.acumenbooks.co.uk) in May 1998 which continues to receive a satisfactory number of hits and, in 1999, set up a parallel site (www.acumenbooks.com) which takes credit cards online in several currencies (US, India, Australia etc). I have attended a course on HTML and set up two other domestic sites (www.audley.net and www.cricketumpire.net). I have explored and registered with a multitude of search engines and take an interest in more strategic issues. I have been elected as Treasurer of BCS's Internet Special Interest Group (currently at www.isg.org.uk - but I am not author of that site).
Presentation & Communication Skills
I write reports, user guides, minutes, newsletters etc in a style appropriate to the particular audience. All generally avoiding jargon that would be unintelligible to the particular reader. As a trainer, I am experienced both in speaking to audiences of 200+ and conducting small discussion groups. I can relate well to all levels from Director, through technician to junior clerk.
I have considerable experience of chairing meetings, ranging from project working groups at ICI to my voluntary activities as Rotary District Vocational Chairman, current Club President and also Training Board Chairman of The Association of Cricket Umpires and Scorers. I held this latter position for 17 years, being re-elected annually by 20 people with whom I worked directly and have built from less than 100 to more than 470 instructors world-wide. I have initiated and encouraged others to initiate many special projects. I am now a Life Vice President.
Basic Details for Colin Pearson
Technical Knowledge (at various levels - most recent first)
I have been involved in 30 cases, ranging from simple or preliminary
investigations, preparing reports for Counsel, to giving evidence in
court and am now on several official registers
Relevant referees have been provided to both British Computer and Law Societies' Registers but can be contacted directly with moderation if necessary. This involves both commercial and criminal cases.
Chronological Summary of Projects
Generally (Freelance Consultant and Expert Witness) - I work on a number of small clients too numerous to list in detail and several legal cases (details of which are sensitive). These small infill projects have including obtaining PC486 hardware and standard software for SK and ACSP, also preliminary investigation for Builder's Merchant; Pharmaceutical Manufacturer; implementation of bookshop EDI package and advice on upgrade to Insurance Brokers. Notable preparation of legal case alleging copyright infringement, faulty EPOS retail systems etc. Also feasibility study for replacing Tetraplan and support to GWS. involved Windows, DOS, Unix & Informix SE v5, SQL and HPUX. I have recently undertaken a refresher course in Windows NT administration. Work continues on web sites using HTML, Homesite and Dreamweaver and e-commerce using Click and Build.
Feb2003-Apr 2003 (Staffordshire University, Acting Placements Manager) required at short notice to take over the department which finds industrial (and commercial) placements in UK, EU, USA and elsewhere for over 400 students as part of their BSc (Hons) or MSc degree. This involves finding suitable vacancies, co-ordinating student applications and interviews and then arranging academic tutor visits. I have been arranging online vacancy bulletins, prospect databases etc. I have continued to do some enterprise work (see below).
Jun2002-Jan2003 (Staffordshire University, IT for Business Manager) involves finding SMEs mostly in West Midlands who can take advantage of Staffordshire University services, such as research, consultancy, short courses etc. I also performed some of this work, including commercial and criminal litigation such as defence reports in cases involving alleged accidental downloading of child pornography.. Also networking between clients.
Jan-May 2002 (Staffordshire University, IT for Business Manager) continued enterprise work but spent most of my time on a project for Health Service evaluating a proposal for applying Workflow engines to integrate primary and secondary care pathways with accountability to patients. Also two legal cases involving professional practices and intellectual property rights.
Feb-Dec 2001 (Staffordshire University, IT for Business Manager) similar to enterprise work above but concentrating on SMEs in EU Objective 2 areas with suitable projects (mostly computer but also Psychometric testing, RSI and even cricket's SkyScope!) and assisting them to obtain grants to work with QinetiQ Group Ltd (formerly Defence Evaluation Research Agency). This involved considerable diplomatic and persuasive expertise in baby-sitting a large government agency into the commercial world.
2000/1 (Singlepoint, Business Consultant) providing business analysis and documenting their existing Tetra and Eppix system which processes a massive database of mobile telephone sunscribers, also investigating new business opportunities and reorganising their despatch facilities!
1999/2000 (20:20 Logistics analyst programmer) reverse engineering Tetra's Sales Order Entry Module (the heart of SOP and very complex table linking) and then writing a similar module with extra facilities in Informix 4GL so that users can insert batches of orders on behalf of dealers but personalised for individual mobile telephone users as part of an FM deal. Programming is not my preferred role but it was domestically convenient and did benefit from my already intimate analytic knowledge of Tetra.
Autumn 1999 (Data Dimensions / Action 2000 workshop facilitator) leading discussion groups around the country about checking their preparations for all aspects of the Millennium Bug.
1998-99 & 1996-97 (OCS Group, Support Consultant, full-time, 27 months Croydon/Balham). I provided a wide range of assistance to Office Cleaning Services (claimed to be the largest privately owned company in UK with well over 50 sites in UK, Eire and elsewhere) and their Smarts Laundry subsidiary. OCS use Tetra Chameleon ledgers as standard although not yet used by all subsidiaries, who are run semi-autonomously. OCS Group IT have developed their own very complex Informix 4GL front end using very limited resources. I was engaged on two occasions when they became hopelessly overloaded as a troubleshooter to pick up particular problems and projects as a safe and reliable pair of hands.
Later, I have been working on interfaces between their 4GL and two external packages (vehicle routing using postcodes and laundry processing under BOS). Firstly to establish the feasibility and practicality of such links, specifying changes to be made to the main core system by the development team and writing a few programs to ease the transition. I have also run help desk facilities and first line support (telephone and personal visits) to, maintaining Informix programs (including Online), upgrading from older versions of Tetraplan to Chameleon 2000 (and now CS3), also improving Unix security, setting up help pages, filtering queries, passing them on to three other members of staff whilst my manager took charge of new installations and major upgrades and another department looked after PCs.
I also completed an investigation into problems on a LAN of 40 odd stations connected to a WAN which is experiencing rare and peculiar failures and whose management were not prepared to bring in a specialist. I also assisted with resolution of EDI problems in another subsidiary.
1997-98 (Business Link,
IT Specialist Adviser, full-time, one year contract,
I was employed under one of the dti CWP II programmes to provide computer advice to SMEs (Small & Medium sized enterprises 10-200 employees), both individually and collectively for the whole of Staffordshire. One major thrust was to raise awareness particularly about Millennium issues and assist in finding suitable solutions. This involved arranging seminars and organising a computer users' club as well as visiting clients. I was very successful but seriously overloaded in this function with no administrative support. I have published a series of 7 briefing newsletters about Y2K issues for both embedded & information systems.
1997 (Whitbread Inns, EDI Feasibility Study, 2
months full-time, Luton)
Internal politics required someone external to make a detailed assessment of their present system for recording charges for, and information about, Amusement, Gaming and other Machines and make recommendations for a future online or EDI system. I completed this project single handed and very successfully within the timescale, liaising with several different departments and outside suppliers.
1995-96 (Acer UK Ltd, Business Consultant, 4
months full-time, High Wycombe)
assisted Taiwanese MIS Development manager with Unix implementation of Tetra Chameleon 2000, including writing some Informix Online v 6.0 programs to update the Sales Orders and Works Order Processing files. The company imports components and assembles computers to order for Dixons, PC World etc, handling well over 1000 Sales Orders per month amongst 60 employees. For a period, I was involved in improving performance.
1994-95 (ICI-TASC Champion/Project Manager - 8
months full-time - Runcorn)
involved especially Unix, Tetra Chameleon 2000, RPG, also IBM mainframe VM & MVS with TSO, PC Windows, TCP/IP, Novell, Attachmate, Monarch, Lotus, WP, PMW etc; Sales Order Processing, Ledgers, Billing; role: Supplier Selection, Acceptance Testing, Implementation, Project Management.
I co-ordinated the relevant work of the Finance and Marketing Depts of ICI's internal computing division, initially to analyse their requirement for Sales Invoicing and Ledger and then to choose a suitable supplier through an accelerated tender procedure. We selected and implemented several modules of Chameleon 2000 on a Unix platform with a network of PCs involving some 1,200 customers and 2,000 orders, many of them coming from 3 electronic feeds, with over 1,000,000 transactions in total. I also migrated data reference files both to and from IBM 3270 with TSO and other tools.
My role included negotiation with Accountants on existing procedures, recommending suitable nominal and other codes for both financial and marketing analysis. I also designed and organised reports for audit purposes during the system trials. I wrote the first draft user documentation. I provided first line support and supplementary training, led workshops to review progress and exchange knowledge, also to arrange further vendor training.
1993-94 (Transport Research Laboratory, Berkshire,
18 mths, Senior Scientific Officer)
involved Informix, Unix, Windows, DOS, EDI, Dataease, Dataflex, Multisoft Accounts.
applications: Time-booking, purchase order system, ledgers etc.
roles: Analyst/Programmer, systems administration, helpdesk, acceptance tester etc
I was recruited to conduct acceptance tests for a comprehensive MIS written by a VAR in response to an ITT from the Dept of Transport as part of "Market Testing"/ Privatisation. The system was centred on Multisoft accounts with bespoke modules in Informix and Dataflex. This runs on a DRS 6000 Unix connected to a Banyan Vines network of about 500 PCs, of which up to 40 may be active (in Unix) at any time.
My later role was primarily as an Analyst, with some programming to supplement the VAR when unable or unwilling to provide assistance. I provided first line training and system support. I project managed further developments and was involved in ongoing contractual negotiation with respect to short-comings in the initial specification. My particular interests on this project included Time Booking, generation of Sales Invoices (mostly of the time worked), Purchase Order Processing and also included EDI.
1991-92 (UK/EC Grant
Research, Cheadle - 1 year, first 6 months full time Office
DOS, Windows, Wordcraft, Quattro, banklink, online database, network & other PC software role: Office Manager, Personnel Officer, Programmer, Marketing, Systems Support etc
This was my final major EI project, nominally to advise a new and rapidly growing company on the choice of Text Processing & Accounts system. I really acted as General Manager, recruiting staff, setting up a production team, dealing with client complaints, preparation of VAT returns etc. I set up procedures and purchased seven second-hand systems for them ! It also included setting up several PCs in a crude network but especially writing some very sophisticated macros for their word processing - see also page 2 about my general management experience.
1990-91 (H Marcel Guest,
Manchester - 9 months full-time - Project Manager)
Involved Unix, DOS, Informix, Control/Trader package, Sales Order Proc'g, Ledgers, Schedules. Litigation work, Supplier Selection, Implementation, Support
HMG are a large "paint" manufacturer who had a 16 screen Unix system that seemed to be falling apart. I had to prepare a strategy which yielded four other tasks. Firstly, I had to keep the existing system limping along, while I prepared a forensic report for their solicitor, chose a replacement and finally acted as project implementation manager. This required considerable diplomacy as that the original system was hopelessly inadequate. I had to make several urgent adjustments and then re-enlist the interest of the original supplier in supporting the system whilst we found a replacement and investigated the evidence against them.
It took me some months to obtain the replacement and this included two major parallel running exercises in advance of the changeover which was finally achieved during one weekend. The testing involved replicating a day's work exactly using 8 staff and I had to resolve the discrepancies.
Woolliscroft - variable commitment - Consultant & Project
Involved Unix, DOS, CBM, RPG, Swan; Project Management, Acceptance Test, Implementing. Sales Order Processing, Factory Scheduling, Ledgers, Management Information.
I was retained by a Ceramic Manufacturer to choose & implement a major system, selecting, installing & testing packaged software, tailoring parameters and designing coding structures. Phase 1, Sales Order Processing, was complete during this time and I left them capable of doing Phase 2, Production Scheduling themselves. My role was more project leader than consultant because they failed to recruit a systems manager. This involved Prodstar software supplied by Swan, which worked under Unix. This was an early installation and I did some difficult debugging.
I had previously advised them on getting the best out of their Commodore 8000 series computer for both accounts and a management information system based on Micromodeller, a hybrid spreadsheet / programming language. I have subsequently given them some further assistance (above).
1981-96 (Miscellaneous -
throughout - mostly 10-20 days each spread over 6 months)
I have worked on other projects including retail systems, bakers, dentists, doctors and precision engineers. Apart from providing an Expert Witness service to solicitors, I have also advised several on choosing their own systems for accounts, word processing, debt collection and time booking. I did have one closer involvement with programming during this period, when I designed a rent accounting system for a Housing Association which was used by nine Associations. I sold the rights for conversion to IBM-PC to a local software house.
Also notable was work done for F W Woolworth's annual Profitability Study where I designed the suite of programs to meet changing management requirements in each of four years. Consultancy work has also been undertaken for the Open University and Seminars conducted for the National Association of Master Bakers and various Chambers of Commerce. Whilst evaluating systems on behalf of clients, considerable knowledge of a wide variety of packages & applications for micros, minis and word processors, whether implemented or not has been gained.
1978-81 (ICL's Central
Engineering Division - employee)
During this period, I was a Principal Engineer on Test Software, responsible for the specification, validation and issue of test software for the 2900 series computers. This involved liaison and co-ordination between many departments as the software had to be made available to field engineers as soon as the relevant hardware feature was released. I had to ensure that it was properly tested, was copied on to the correct media and that the print room had sufficient capacity for all the documentation. Furthermore I had to collect all fault reports and ensure that the software writers cured this as quickly as possible. I had to make decisions as to whether to issue the revised versions immediately or whether to await the next scheduled release.
-1978 (ICL's Management
Services & Bureau Division / Baric - employee)
I started as Programmer/Analyst on Technical & Commercial Applications on a KDF9 mainframe, later as Planner, Marketing Officer, Sales & Customer Support before joining Corporate Information to become Senior Systems Analyst responsible for an online video enquiry service to a database containing information on Engineering Parts Lists for the Designers & Drawing Office. I was seconded to devise a compromise between various design, manufacturing & marketing departments in designing a system for reconciling product files and price books - a very sensitive area, successfully concluded.
Detailed Recent Technical Experience
Tetra Chameleon 2000 (1994 - current; fulltime at ICI, Acer, OCS, Singlepoint; 20:20 et al)
Modules:Sales Order, Accounts Receivable, Order Loader, Report Writer, Systems Manager, Accounts Payable, Nominal Ledger, Payroll etc
Overview I was responsible for specifying requirements, conducting a Supplier Selection exercise, planning and overseeing the implementation at ICI. During this period, I used almost every function, if only to write the draft user guide although in most cases I did enter some live data. I supervised the dealer during the set up period and subsequently changed certain items as necessary.
Report Writer I have written some 20 reports, including several for data validation. I have used most features including subtotals, linking files, search, sort, user defined variables, run time parameter entry. Also batch maintenance.
Files I am aware of the differences between files such as Sales Order Detail, Header and History including Credit Notes which are sometimes positive and consequently need careful handling in Report Writer.
System Keys I am aware of many implications of their settings for these modules but would refer to the manual for certain meanings or settings. I set up several new demo companies with a variety of key changes.
Form&Menu I have tailored many forms (both screen and print) and set up new menus. I set up users, including module access permissions, fast menus and printers.
Data Dictionary - I have not yet implemented changes here, but am familiar with its usage.
Narratives I have modified these look up table structures and linked them in to reports as well. I specified (and entered) all of these structures after consultation with users and supplier. I have also constructed a 3 x 5 VAT matrix.
Order Loader - I specified and tested this module finding at least one long-standing bug. This program is more powerful than Tetra Link because it accesses several files simultaneously, keeping them properly in step (eg Detail & Header)
Sales Order Entry - At 20:20, I specified, programmed and tested this replacement module and have an excellent grasp of the inter-relationship between the various tables (opheadm, opdetm, opserialm, oplistm, opcostm, stockm, stallocm, stquem, slcustm, slinvm etc). I have also rigorously documented many of the underlying features of Tetra's SOP.
Validation At ICI, I set up batch controls and took a leading part in the rehearsal period inc preparing data and assisting in the formal audit as well as routine data checking.
Somersaults At ICI, I adjusted the set up so that Tetra's statements were used as Invoices. At Acer, I wrote a routine to allocate Works Orders to specific Sales Orders. At Smarts, I modified it for Cash Accounting, alternative nominal/budget report, Sales Order reports and address updating.
I have attended sessions at Tetra HQ including new developments in Manufacturing and Management Information facilities. I previously evaluated various modules for three clients. I have purchased a complete set of manuals and an evaluation copy of the programs
At OCS, I was involved in converting old versions of Tetra to C2000 and CS3 at several independent computer sites within this large group of companies. Many have intimately linked front end processes written in older versions of Informix and need careful adaptation. My role was not fully defined but involved much front line support as well as strategic advice! I also wrote special reports in Tetra, 4GL and SQL.
I have also specified a forensic demonstration of conflicts between versions.
Unix Experience (1987 - 2001; Woolliscroft,
HMG, TRL, ICI, Acer , OCS, 20:20, Singlepoint)
I have both dabbled widely and delved deeply into many parts, even to the extent of preparing a detailed legal report. I am familiar with /etc/default uucp/Devices ".profile", "cron", "cpio", "vi", "awk", "script", "stty" and many, many, other commands, although I do need to refer to the manuals for special parameter settings. I have set up several complex scripts, including menus, using "if", "while", "for" etc. In particular, I have written back up and recovery scripts for three clients, usually storing and printing audit logs including super-user accesses.
Several of these scripts are for automatic overnight use, 5 per week, 1 per week, monthly etc. Others are for daily or intermittent use making it easier for the user, whether an end-user or a maintenance programmer, to put in the right parameters only once and to transfer the results from one program to another where relevant. The intermittent ones tend to be used when looking for the cause of a particular problem in the computer and I expand these whenever a new problem is encountered.
I do have examples of my universally relevant scripts for inspection if required. I have written many trivial scripts but believe that I have left approx 20 still in regular use at TRL and about 10 at ICI. In the latter case, I combined several together and gave the operations manager a menu script. I think the longest I have written is about 400 lines. Some are recursive.
Unix dialects include SCO, Unisys, HP, Altos, Siemens, AIX & ICL and I have also used Korn shell. I have created disc partitions although I regard that as the responsibility of the supplier.
I acted as Systems Administrator for the whole of the relevant period with Wooliscrofts, HMG and ICI and about half my time with TRL. All the sites used PC emulation to provide much of the access - and I debugged the TCP/IP LAN at OCS! My preferred role is that of Business Analyst, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover from an objective test recently that my Unix skills are amongst the top 40% of Development programmers !
Informix Experience (1990 - 2001; HMG,
TRL, ICI, OCS, 20:20, Singlepoint et al)
I first met Informix was at HMG in 1990. I had to learn enough to prepare a forensic report on why the system was not performing adequately. A gruelling and speedy baptism.
At TRL, I was engaged ostensibly as a Senior Scientific Officer to perform acceptance testing on a complex suite of programs written in Informix 4GL and SQL linked to Multisoft Ledgers. I actually spent much of the 18 months programming, not only writing several complex reports and database administration but also program maintenance where the supplier failed to deliver. I set up (and modified) several data tables and used a variety of joins between files. I also communicated parameters between Operator and Unix and thence to batch programs to run overnight. I entered live data when circumstances demanded it.
At ICI (9 months), Chameleon report writer is Informix based although we had no direct licence. I wrote many reports and file maintenance routines. I have also used Informix on an Altos machine for an Insurance Broker, again in the situation where the supplier was unable to rectify the problems.
During my 4 months (95/6) with Acer, I used Informix 4GL Online v6.0 to update Chameleon master files to meet a specific company objective. This also involved some SQL work. More recently at OCS & Smarts, I was using SQL and Informix on a daily basis.
At 20:20, I spent three months constructing a major program to read and update nearly a dozen tables with complex relationships ensuring that they kept in step with one another. Where-ever possible, I evaluated and documented libraries written by my predecessor and utilised them within my program. I do not believe in re-inventing the wheel!
Best Technical skills
I have had considerable exposure to Unix, PCs, Windows, Lotus and Informix and other 4GLs as well at Tetra Chameleon 2000. Some of these have run in client / server mode.
I would stress that one of my qualities is flexibility and the ability to get up to speed rapidly. I am willing to retrain but I am told that at Analyst level the conversion from Informix to Oracle or other relational databases is comparatively simple and that a client might find that my general strengths and breadth of knowledge far outweigh my lack of specific experience.
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