Since posting this earlier today, Bitcoin crashed, losing half it’s value in 6 hours, as explained in arsTechnica
Ever seen that film The Cooler with William H Macy?
I am the Cooler!
From NESTA Scotland…
I wanted to make sure you and your colleagues/ friends/ children know about our One Day Digital events for young people which we are running as part of our campaign to get more young people in Scotland creating digital content, rather than just consuming it. We have 4 fantastic days lined up for teenagers and we want to make sure they know about it. We have had tremendous support for this across Scotland.
Our digital events across Scotland are for young people (13+). We only have 2 weeks to the first event and need to push this out to young people, so your networks would be very helpful. Our twitter is @Onedaydigital and facebook /OneDayDigital. Young people have to sign up on the eventbrite site: http://onedaydigital.eventbrite.com to guarantee their place. We have contacted all schools in the area.
Places are free on a first come first served basis and we give them everything they need- lunch, expert support from industry, laptops and software ( thanks very much indeed to O2)- all they have to do is sign-up here and choose the city they want to take part in.
Our partners include Mozilla, Young Rewired State, Coder Dojo, STV, Mak Lab, BBC, Quartic Llama and Dundee University and we have really cool equipment for them to use including raspberry pi, arduino boards as well as 3d printers.
Saturday 2nd March- DUNDEE
Saturday 16th March- ABERDEEN
Saturday 23rd March- GLASGOW
Saturday 30th March- EDINBURGH (part of Edinburgh Science Festival)
What can you do at One Day Digital? Its stuff you normally don’t get at school:
• 3D Printing: Hosted by MakLab, Scotland’s first open access digital fabrication studio. In this session you can create and print a 3D model. You willuse 3D software to design and then with the help of the experts from MakLab print the physical object on a 3D printer. You can even take the model you created home with you!
• Raspberry Pi: Design and code behaviours for your own video game character and put it to the test all on a Raspberry Pi, a credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard. This stream will introduce the basics of programming for video games using the Python programming language. You’ll come away with a customised character and your very own game that you can keep working on after the event!
• Coder Dojo: Build and publish your own HTML5 web site or web app with the CoderDojo coding club. No previous coding experience is necessary. You will work with CoderDojo mentors to design and develop your digital creation. By the end of the day, you will publish your new digital creation to the web where you can share it with your friends and family. After the session, we will keep your creation online, and we will show you how you can download it so you’ll be ready to develop version 2!
• Young Rewired State: Coding is for everyone! Learn how to create cool stuff the ‘hackathon’ way by coming along, learning a thing or two about coding, and working with likeminded people to create awesome things using technology. To participate in this session you will require an intermediate knowledge of coding.
• Arduino: Design and prototype your own physical app using Arduino micro controllers. This is a fast paced, hands on workshop where you can use your own ideas and experiment with electronics and code.
• Mozilla Popcorn: YouTube’s all well and good, but what if you could add extra stuff to your videos? What if you could pull in things from around the Web – LIVE and in real-time? In this workshop Mozilla (the people behind the Firefox web browser) will be demoing Popcorn, a brand new video editing tool. You’ll learn to remix videos in ways you never thought possible! From campaign videos to just messing around and having a laugh, Popcorn’s a free and open tool you can use for just about anything! (EDINBURGH ONLY EVENT)
• Digital Storytelling Techniques with STV: Are you a budding journalist? Come along and take part in this session hosted by STV to find out more about the digital story-telling techniques they use to deliver the news. Timelines, maps, streams and info-graphics are used every day to help inform viewers, in this session you will use these tools to tell your story. (EDINBURGH ONLY EVENT)
• Stop-Frame Animation with BBC: Why not try stop-frame animation and bring your story to life with BBC Scotland L.A.B. In groups we will story board, make models, animate, add sound effects and music to create a short film by the end of the day. All you have to do is … be prepared to work as part of a team, be creative and have fun! The session is ideal if you have never done any animation before. (GLASGOW AND ABERDEEN ONLY EVENT)
Go along! Book with eventbrite.
What’s more, by giving spacetime a hernia, it is hoped that theorized
“ghost particles” may spill from the fissure, providing evidence for the
hypothesis that extra-dimensions exist and the vacuum of space isn’t a
vacuum at all — it is in fact buzzing with virtual particles.
This is a great list of functions in various languages for converting between OS and Latitude Longitude etc. Very useful for google maps!
The Westminster government publishes a report exposing how government is ripped off by IT suppliers. The report isn’t too long and is worth a read.
One perceived failing identified is over-specifying projects leading to lack of innovative solutions. This can be true – the report touches on the belief among many SMEs that there is a culture of “get it done” rather than “get it right”.
Point taken, however I’m not so sure this is quite the attitude in the local government scene where things have been changing significantly and there is a greater understanding that having local and inhouse IT expertise allows innovation while making sure supplier solutions are evaluated in terms of long-term costs and implications. Allowing suppliers to innovate without proper scrutiny would open up the possibility that inappropriate and costly solutions could be implemented: feature-creep (and module-creep and licence-cost-creep) could be more likely.
Also advocated is Agile development methods (I think this is more of a cultural thing than a methodology); open standards; open data; and personal data ownership.
eGov Monitor reports:
Outsourcing is good and delivers economies of scale however the process is a major commitment and a path filled with risks, according to a latest briefing from Scotim Insight.
The “Costs of Outsourcing – uncovering the real risks” presents a detailed analysis of the outsourcing process and the risks it brings to local authorities.
According to the document, the risks begin at the tender stage. The supplier is well versed in contract negotiations on outsourcing while a smaller local authority is rarely going to be in that position. So, the briefing suggests that councils seek professional advice around framing and negotiating a contract.
It also urges councils not to put all their eggs in one basket. Rather than transferring all ICT operations as a bundle to one supplier, it is best to break them into components and go to market individually…..
Meanwhile the Chief Executive of Suffolk council is on extended leave, reports the Guardian, after her promotion of an outsourcing of services agenda hits difficulties: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/may/05/suffolk-county-council-andrea-hill?CMP=twt_iph
To remove the Powered by WordPress and theme line form the footer of your theme, find the functions.php file in the root of the theme folder and comment out or remove the lines:
NOTE: leave in the global $bfa_ata; line if you want to keep the Copyright notice.
**** STOP PRESS:
A VERY rude correspondent submitted a comment to the effect that this code is bogus and might crash your website. It didn’t for me. Perhaps a politer individual may take time to explain my schoolboy error. Of course you use the code amendment at your own risk.
For this post? I’m using Rockmelt.
I’m very impressed with Rockmelt. It imported all my bookmarks from firefox and even seems to have included form data and other settings. It lets you browse the net, but also acts as a client for Twitter and Facebook, with tabs down the sides that you expand to see updates. Cool.
After years of using AVG free AV protection I have given up on it. Yesterday I wanted to install AVG on another PC and it caused severe problems. I’ve always been a big fan of the product but this latest release put me off.
First of all it conflicted with my K9 content filtering security software and I had to uninstall K9 which I did not want to do. Then I kept getting windows errors with something called AVGRSSTX.dll popping up constantly. Checking some online forums revealed that other people were having probs with AVG 11 too, so I made the decision to uninstall it.
The uninstall however was not straightforward and after unistalling and rebooting, the AVGRSSTX.dll errors were still popping up. I then had to download an AVG removal tool and run it to clean up all traces of AVG from my system.
Now I have installed Avast AV which is free and seems to work fine with K9 which I have reinstalled.
All hunky dory now, but it cost me some hours of wasted effort – and it’s a faffle that’s way beyond the ken of most non-professional computer users. Shame about that because for years AVG was the antivirus of choice.
This was continually happening, which is REALLY annoying because each attempt takes soooo long. Eventually I managed to get it to open by opening up Control Panel / Java Control Panel and telling it to use a Direct connection rather than the browser settings.
I was getting the old “Cannot modify header information – headers already sent by (output started at… pluggable.php ” message from Atahulapa theme when I’d added some code into the main index.php file. The code was to redirect on view of a single post for users that are not logged in (don’t ask, but there were good reasons)!
I checked pluggable.php in the includes folder and it had the ?> at the end and did not have any trailing spaces, so that wasn’t a solution.
From this thread I found the solution. I had to add
in index.php file at line no 1, as directed by letsnurture. It seems to have worked.
Hope this helps someone.
Simon Burall, Director of public participation specialists Involve, states that there is a need for context in government data, not just raw figures which are open to interpretation by, not just the public, but agencies with a commercial spin.
From eGov Bulletin :
Local public bodies releasing data under ‘open data’ rules must ensure they are presented in proper context or risk losing control of public opinion, a leading analyst has warned.
Simon Burall, Director of public participation specialists Involve, told E-Government Bulletin last week that local residents currently face two challenges in interpreting any data that may be released: standards, and context.
Read more on eGov Bulletin….
Maybe he read my opinion on Open Data from my ScotGovCamp post !
Tags: open data
There has been much talk and many rumours throughout the Scottish IT community in recent months of shared services and new national governance arrangement for the provision of ICT services to Scotland’s public bodies. This opinion-piece is my personal opinion on what the approach might mean and reflects my own personal views; and I should point out that it is not necessarily representative of the position of my employers.
Looked at from the outside, the provision of ICT within the public sector might appear to the casual observer to be an unnecessarily complex and multifarious, almost haphazard collection of systems: rife with duplication and wasteful practice across too-many similar but independent organisations and infrastructures.
From within one of these organisations however the picture is different. From the perspective of an ICT manager in a council for example, the solutions that have been devised to enable the council to progress its business are appropriate and best-value to the organisation and have been developed in spite of resource and other external pressures.
The current situation as characterised by the external view is generally a result not of unsafe investments in ICT causing a disparity, but of ICT investments being driven by the structures of the public sector. Each organisation may or may not be getting best value from their ICT, but it is not possible to arrive at an across-the-sector, broad conclusion as to the efficacy of ICT provisions. Each organisation has had its own initial parameters and local priorities. The ICT solutions have addressed – and continue to address – these local needs.
When looked at from outside – and questionably viewing the public sector as a single entity – it is tempting to see the potential for congruence going unrealised as resulting from an almost deliberate even self-protectionist desire to fragment. To do so however is to ignore the historical perspective and the political reality. ICT support departments have responded to the demands of the business / service departments. Indeed, where cooperation has been attempted it has often been ICT managers that have initiated and sustained the drive, a case in point being the Modernising Government programme.
Where these programmes do not deliver it is very rarely as a result of ICT failure, nor that of the management of business / front line service departments. Instead it is due to the inability to converge business processes, priorities and practices into a common specification of requirements. This is generally possible under a single democratically elected imperative, but is not easy in cases where several organisations come together.
The result is Programme, not Project management. Programme Management is in perpetual danger of being used as a way to deflect away responsibility for delivery, while maintaining the illusion of progress. The local solutions to local problems end up waiting interminably for the centre to progress and the centre is frustrated by the inability of local partners to advance their delegated responsibilities to the programme.
The danger in establishing a national governance function for ICT is that this becomes a layer of stifling bureaucracy, squeezing out innovation and hindering local service delivery.
So – how to proceed?
First of all, realise that ICT is not the place to start. ICT is always one important element of a project, not the driver. It is an enabler for a business need. Start therefore, with the business need: redesign the structures of organisations and then analyse what ICT provision will suit this new structure.
There is a sense in emulating for example the Northern Irish model, that sets ICT standards and supports interoperability and cost savings where practical. Within the current set-up throughout Scotland however we would have to dismantle a lot of good work and useful infrastructure to achieve the theoretical blank slate that is required to get there.
Although there is a tempting long-term saving opportunity, in the short to medium period over the next 5 or 10 years, to treat ICT in isolation without a stand-back business analysis will be costly and potentially disastrous at a time when we should be saving money.
The problem of course is that doing it right takes a long time – a 10 year plan – and does not provide the immediate short-term savings that this time of austerity demands. In fact it will cost more in the short term as additional resources and experienced staff are required in the design and implementation phases.There is also the ‘elephant in the data centre’: that is, restructuring of goverment and public bodies – a political decision which would determine the course ahead more than any intermediate planning that might be undertaken. This would solve the problems surrounding local democratic accountability and provide the desire and funding to proceed.
My conclusion is that the ICT functions of public sector organisations are not self-contained units that can be considered as candidates for immediate sharing of services or for the introduction of a new governance arrangement. This is a project that should be carefully planned to ensure that Scotland has the best possible (and best-value) ICT provision into the future. Using the current financial crisis as a convenient excuse for a broad-sweep rationalisation with the dubious promise of savings would be selling snake-oil.
There is the suspicion, too, that such a move would be politically motivated, driven by the desire to privatise for profit rather than to improve service or best value.
While the principles of convergence and simplification make sense and we should plan in a more joined up fashion to achieve a better future picture, getting there is a complex and costly manouevre and is dependant on non-ICT drivers.
Version 2 of my Docicons plugin is released today with a comprehensive Admin panel and lots of features including automatically embedding Media attachments via integration with Hana FLV Player. That’s right folks, it can embed audio and video files automatically right in your posts and pages WITHOUT the special codes. And the Admin options allow you to set how the embedded media is displayed.
See the Docicons Plugin page for more details and to DOWNLOAD the plugin.
I decided to integrate with Hana rather than other flv players because of the GPL distributable licences. In a future release of Docicons I will be able to directly distribute Flowplayer with my plugin. At present you must download and activate Hana as well if you want to use the embeddable media features. If you don’t, and all you want is nice document icons in your posts, then it will work without it.
Have fun. And let me know if it is any use to you.
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