All About Me

Well I suppose this should be everything there is to know.

I am a technology fanatic and my wife keeps despairing that I have withdrawal symptoms if I don’t get to see a screen for more than 4 hours.

I have 2 wonderful 9 year old daughters – yes they are twins.

I started off doing a degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at University of Wales. However, I decided that was too dull so I became a police man.

I did this for 11 years moving from being a "copper on the beat" to working with the Gatwick Airport Firearms team and then into counter terrorism. I was at that time focused on Islamics in particular a group called Hizb ut Tahrir.

I also got involved in developing some very small computer software to help manage resources around the Airport and match risks to available resources. This was at the time when the pIRA where very active and dropping mortar bombs on Heathrow.

I then moved on to developing software to help in the planning of the police operation for the political party conferences which were often held in Brighton. Ever since the "slight" upset with Margret Thatcher these events require massive security which means 3,000 police and military all of whom need to be co-ordinated, fed, transported and accommodated. At the time software for such a task did not exist so, with a colleague, we wrote some.

After a couple of iterations of the software we had an application that did the job well. This was now the 2000 conference. I still remember where I was on 11 Sept. (Thats (9/11 to the other side of the pond) Needless to say as we had a conference with the whole Government, an ex US president, Nelson Mandela  and lots of other VIPs starting 20 days after the New York attacks the planning and security went from busy to manic!

At the end of the conference I was a round peg being presented with lots of square holes. As I now had a family the idea of going back out on the streets did not appeal so I resigned.

I then did some time as a contractor and then being fed up with that life I set up my own business doing development for SMEs. We did quite well but it was the hardest work I can imagine.

After a couple of years I realised that burnout was just around the corner and in conjunction with some unfortunate occurrences I found the perfect time to wind the company up with everyone in good humour about it.

I then got this great job at Touchstone they took on this maverick developer to work as a consultant in their Integration Team doing BI stuff – Mainly around Microsoft Reporting Services.

Update: 30 June 2006

As the BI work has taken off we now have another BI Consultant which means that I can focus more time on doing Technical Pre Sales.

Update 2

I have now moved on from Touchstone to a company called PrecisionPoint. What we have is a product based BI solution for BI in the Dynamics arena. No more long complex custom BI projects but an off the shelf solution in days. I wont get into a massive plug here but if you want to see the smartest BI solution for Dynamics NAV or AX then drop me a line. It really rocks!

Update 3
I have now moved on again. I am now working as a Pre-Sales consultant at Aspective who are one of the leading Microsoft Dynamics CRM suppliers.
My remit includes developing solutions based on Dynamics CRM with a particular emphasis on how this platform works in conjunction with the other Microsoft products and technologies like SharePoint and SQL Server.



  1. I have a database that is in crystal report and when I open it with excell it adds extra columns and the spacing is off on the rows. Do you know of anyone I can email the address list to to reformat this so it is in a workable order

    • Hi Gordie

      Many thanks for the comment. Unfortunately it has been a number of years since I last got involved with Crystal reports so my answer may be well out of date by now.

      I don’t have a specific answer to your question but I do recall that I had an issue a bit like the one you describe when I was trying to lay out a report to print long invoice runs. In testing all was fine but in production after a certain number of invoices had been printed the body of the printout would suddenly introduce blank lines which caused the header and footer to overspill the defined page sizes.

      This was particularly difficult to find a solution to as there did not seem to be any repeatable pattern.

      The solution was found after many hours and meters of printout.

      What we found was that even though we had aligned the field boxes using the visual designer this did not always result in the boxes having exactly, and I mean exactly, the same location and size properties when viewed in the properties dialogue box. The result was that each time a line was rendered, either to the printer or to Excel the offset was cumulative up to the point when the rendering engine, print or Excel, decided it was enough to trigger a new line. I suspect the same would be the case for columns.

      The solution we found was to examine every single field boxes’ properties and set them to exactly the correct position and size. Don’t rely on the visual designer as when it tries to snap to the grid it can make small changes which can then add up.

      As I said at the start this is based on old experience and may not be the solution but it is worth a look.

      As to who you can email the report to, I am afraid I don’t have any ideas. You may well be able to find a local Crystal User group who can point you in a good direction.


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