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Showing posts from July, 2012

York Council Spending Above £500

So. Jon happened to tweet a link to York Councils spending on items over £500. I couldn't believe it when they were a collection of PDFs. What the actual...

Having found the CSVs here,  I tried to import them into one single Google spreadsheet, but the import seemed to fail ( or run very, very slowly ) pulling in extra data.

So, I created a Google Fusion Table and that quickly whipped in the 6 files for this year. Then I could aggregate the sum of moneys spent and group them by supplier name. You can see the company data here... it looks like the picture below.



Interesting reading? Well, each item might need more explaining. The top two spends this year so far are the people organising new offices for the Council ( York Investors LLP £6,704,386) and Yorwaste Ltd £2,383,920 ( are these the people that empty our bins? ).


Next on the list is REDACTED - PERSONAL DATA £1,682,939 which I can only assume is spent REDACTED REDACTED etc HSBC REDACTED.


At number 11 is Streamline Taxis with …

Can You Use a Collaborative Inbox for an Enquiries Email Address?

Google Groups have added a few new flavours of group recently. As well as a regular Email List, you can now make a Web Forum, a Q&A Forum and a Collaborative Inbox - all slightly different takes on the same thing.

As part of the move to Google, one of the biggest challenges are  what we call "non personal email accounts", for those accounts like chemistry-enquiries@york.ac.uk. Traditionally the handling of these accounts was done by a number of people, all sharing the log in details. In a Google-ized world, having accounts that can't be audited is "not the done thing".

Our first trawl for non personal accounts found thousands of them. This included accounts for projects, conferences, departments, etc. With many of them, nobody knew who was replying ( or not ) to any enquiries.

Gmail has the ability to delegate access to your account to someone else, but this still doesn't solve the chemistry-enquiries@york.ac.uk problem. Essentially we need some account…

When Is Just Enough is Too Much?

Recently I've been working on trying to create a Booking System using Google Spreadsheets, Apps Script and Google Calendars. And today, a request for a system stunningly similar came in, except this time, instead of being for booking hot desks, the bookable items are tape measures, cameras, radars, computers and exotic mystery items such as a "FM36 B". Lots of them.

The thing that strikes me about the similarity of the needs, is that already with the booking system, the relationship has more of the developer/client than I'd like. You could say I'm failing in managing expectations slightly. I'll get it back on track. Not that there's any problem, but there is this...

At what point is something software and no longer just a cool spreadsheet? One of the really great things about spreadsheets is that they're almost agnostic about what you put in them. As soon as you start hanging interfaces off them, then the notion that perhaps you shouldn't be able …