Bringing A Code Club to 9-11 Year Olds

This is a cross post from my blog on STEMNet. – http://networking.stemnet.org.uk/blog/bringing-code-club-9-11-year-olds For a while now I’ve been a STEMNet Ambassador working with local schools on Technology related activities and have been working on getting involved in Code Clubs for quite some time.  This week I started my first Code Club with a local school. I am a strong believer in giving children the opportunity to discover the fun in Computer Science and Computer Programming.  I believe the current National Curriculum can be boring, mundane and uninspiring so much so that we are losing many, many potentially great programmers, developers … Continue reading Bringing A Code Club to 9-11 Year Olds

Ultrabook Review: Lenovo Ideapad U300S

The Lenovo Ideapad U300S Ultrabook is one of the first of a new range of high end slim laptop’s which are seen to be direct competitors and of the Apple MacBook Air.  The key features of this new form factor are that they are lightweight and have high battery life but all the while don’t compromise on performance.  A wide range of manufacturers have released similar products but my only exposure to the form factor has been in the form of the Lenovo U300S. I was very lucky to win this Lenovo IdeaPad U300S Ultrabook through a competition run by … Continue reading Ultrabook Review: Lenovo Ideapad U300S

Computer Science Curriculum is Changing and You Can Help!

We as professionals in the Computer Science industry have a responsibility to aid and assist our individual education systems in educating and encourage the next generations of Computing Professionals, be they Developers, IT Professionals, Testers etc. Change is Coming! Michael Gove announced recently that the current Information and Communications Technology (ICT) curriculum in England is to be replaced in September 2012. This was all announced at the BETT show and the current curriculum was described as demotivating and dull. I have long been concerned about the quality and delivery of the ICT curriculum in schools with the curriculum being insipid … Continue reading Computer Science Curriculum is Changing and You Can Help!

Cut The Cord, Save Money and Go Faster

Towards the end of last year I started to think more and more about how I make use of digital television services, telephone (land line) and broadband. I considered my usage vs cost and was keen to work out whether I was getting value for money. This led me to decide to cut the cord and save money! For the past 5 or so years I’ve had all of my services from one supplier, Sky. I had unlimited broadband (ADSL at approx 10 mb/s download), telephone (free evening and weekend calls) and Satellite television, I had all the channels available … Continue reading Cut The Cord, Save Money and Go Faster

Software Development – Job or Career, Passion, Vocation

My name is Andrew Westgarth and Software Development is my passion! Is the role you’re in just a job to you or is it your Passion /Vocation and Career? Do you enjoy what you do and are you fulfilled in what you do? I think one of the biggest requirements for a good developer is a passion for what they are doing, in order to be a good developer you need to have a thirst for learning and a desire to improve. I’ve been thinking about writing a blog post about this topic for a few weeks but not had … Continue reading Software Development – Job or Career, Passion, Vocation

Cookies Law: Ah the Irony!

On Thursday 26th May 2011, the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations are changing in the UK as a result of the revisions made to the European Directive.  The changes cover of a number of issues but the issue I’ve been focussing on recently is that of the changes in regulations to how cookies are used on websites.  However these changes from what I can see are going to cause not only companies and developers issues, but more importantly will cause more inconvenience for users! So what’s changing I hear you ask, well up until now the regulations required that websites … Continue reading Cookies Law: Ah the Irony!

Black Screen And Mouse Pointer After Enabling Live Mesh Remote Connections

Live Mesh is a fantastic product, on top of giving access and synchronisation services to 5GB of storage on SkyDrive, it provides the ability to open remote desktop connections to machines over the internet.  It is this connectivity gain which I have made most use of in the past, and unfortunately it has caused me no end of pain after a complete rebuild of my laptop, so much so I’ve had to disable remote connections. About a month ago I rebuilt my laptop OS, something I do fairly regularly (well at least once a year) to make sure everything is … Continue reading Black Screen And Mouse Pointer After Enabling Live Mesh Remote Connections

What Podcasts Do You Listen To?

When I presented at NxtGenUG in Birmingham last month I was asked which podcasts I listen to and I promised to write a blog post listing some of my favourites.  So here it is! .Net Rocks! – Carl Franklin and Richard Campbell publish a podcast twice a week and cover a wide range of .Net related topics for .Net Developers RunAs Radio – Richard Campbell and Greg Hughes host a weekly talk show primarily aimed at IT Professionals.  I’m a developer but pretty much an all round geek, so love hearing about additional technology such as Exchange, Hyper-V and Lync.  … Continue reading What Podcasts Do You Listen To?

Great Resources for Budding User Group and Conference Speakers

I’ve been sitting writing and submitting session proposals for Developer Day Scotland this evening.  I really enjoy speaking at User Groups and Conferences and am always looking for ways to improve and share knowledge.  In our User Groups i.e. North East Bytes and the Developer Community we actively encourage new speakers, indeed that was the original mandate of the DDD events.  We’re always looking to discover new speakers and to encourage new speakers, be they starting out with a short 10 minute Grok Talk or standing up and delivering a full one hour conference session. Guy Smith-Ferrier, well respected speaker … Continue reading Great Resources for Budding User Group and Conference Speakers

Never Was So Much Owed By So Many To So Few

Just a small post to issue my personal tribute on Battle of Britain Day in it’s 70th Anniversary Year. The gratitude of every home in our Island, in our Empire, and indeed throughout the world, except in the abodes of the guilty, goes out to the British airmen who, undaunted by odds, unwearied in their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of the world war by their prowess and by their devotion. Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few. Winston Churchill. House of Commons, August 20th 1940. … Continue reading Never Was So Much Owed By So Many To So Few