About Phil Duff

With degrees in Psychology, French and Economics from London University, I seemed destined for a career in the Theatre or the Arts. One of my jobs was, in fact, as a stagehand at Plymouth Theatre. However, it was the age of the computer revolution and I, together with my brother Chris, identified a gap in the market for accounting software. In 1978, we took the opportunity and founded SYSPRO. Over thirty years later, I am still as committed to SYSPRO customers. As the CEO of SYSPRO worldwide, I lead a talented global team, supported by over 1500 channel partners. Together, we deliver cost-effective, scalable and customizable enterprise software and services to customers across six continents.

Coming out of the (book) closet

Coming-out-of-the-(book)-closetI like books. You know, the kind that are made out of paper and have words typed onto a page. You may remember them. That was before we had eReaders which I really don’t like. With a real book you can feel the pages and turn them with your fingers. I cannot remember a time when the battery on my book ran out, and if I drop my book on the beach by accident I don’t have to worry that its casing may be broken. In any case, I like my bookmark.

There must be someone out there who likes eReaders because you can buy these things in the shops. I guess it’s all about fashion and choice. You should have the same choice with your computer applications too. Some people just love having their applications installed on their own machines; the thought of allowing someone else to look after their applications and their data is just too horrible to contemplate.

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Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Dear Diary,

Invasion of the Body SnatchersMy friend David popped round for dinner the other evening, deeply troubled. He told me that when he woke up last Thursday he noticed a change in his wife’s demeanour. It wasn’t immediately obvious, he said, but he just knew something odd was going on. It wasn’t just the unblinking stare that worried him (although that normally would have been sufficient cause for concern), it was the newly acquired interest shown in anything related to computers. Almost obsessive, he said, to the point he was seriously thinking that she had been taken over by some alien. Now David is not one to exaggerate and even if I privately thought that perhaps he had been watching too many movies, still he is my friend and deserves a considered hearing. I tried to calm his unease, told him that he was worrying unnecessarily and sent him on his way.

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True Grit

A long time ago when a man was a man, a woman was aTrue-Grit woman and a horse was, well, a horse there came along a real hero. His name was Rooster Cogburn, played by John Wayne in the original version of the classic western movie True Grit. Rooster is a tough marshal who decides to help a woman get even for her father’s death. Basically her problem becomes his problem. Ok, I may have simplified the plot somewhat, but I’m not a movie critic and I wouldn’t want to spoil an evening’s viewing entertainment by giving away all the fun.

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Chapter 1,023

I have tried. I really have. But no matter how many timesSYSPRO process modelling I have attempted to read a James Patterson novel I just didn’t have the will to finish it. I think it’s something to do with the endless number of chapters, each one no more than one or two pages long; I suspect that the author is worried that the reader might lose interest or get distracted by wanting to do something else like watching paint dry. So, to have some fun I tried an experiment; I rearranged the 1,000-odd chapters in one of his books into a random sequence (I admit that took a while) and then started to read the book again. The interesting thing is that this had no effect on the plot. I even started reading the book at chapter 1,023 and it didn’t seem to matter that the previous chapters had been skipped.

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The iCan Device

I am thinking of developing a new and revolutionary handheld device. It will be called the iCan – aptly named to leverage off a famous fruit company’s brand. This is truly a neat device, if I may say so myself. It’s powered by brain waves rather than the more conventional battery (which is oh-so last century technology), and has a touch screen that responds appropriately to any part of your body – not just your finger.

The beauty of the iCan is that it doesn’t actually do anything, because it’s up to you to make it do whatever you like – hence the name iCan. Now I know that some people would baulk at paying good money for something as revolutionary as the iCan so I am also developing another device, at the other end of the spectrum, the weCan – pronounced wiican. This device is designed so that lots and lots of people working together can make the device do something useful – hence the name weCan. Unfortunately the weCan, while in itself not an expensive item, will probably end up costing you millions of dollars in consulting fees.

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