Monday, 26 March 2012

Blog moving

So, after a few years here I've finally gotten around to dealing with the horrible images not showing at work issue.

The only way I seem to be able to solve this is to start blogging somewhere else.

So, the new blog can be found over at Wordpress. Probably.

This stuff'll stay here for a while at least as it might be vaguely useful for someone or other. But the new stuff'll be there from now on.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Spreadsheet Work Stuff

Henry asked for a list of stuff he had to do...

Here's a list:
  1. get a timeplan together (row A)
  2. make sure you have all your client intro stuff done (row B)
  3. check your client needs (row C part 1) is done
  4. come up with some evaluation criteria (row D)
  1. get a prototype spreadsheet up and running (do not include this in your timeplan!)
  1. check your client needs and evaluation criteria still make sense. Add anything in you need to (and delete anything you need to as well)
  2. check your client intro makes sense as well - you might need to tweak this
  1. do the inputs, outputs, processing section (row C part 2). This needs to be quite detailed. Anything anyone types in (or uses the mouse) on the prototype is an input for example. Most inputs will produce outputs (at least to the screen) and may well lead to processing.
  2. develop annotated designs (row E). This will take a while
  3. show the designs to your client and get them to write on them. Each one needs to at least be signed off
  4. they have to ask for changes on at least some of the screens (these can be cosmetic or can be in the functionality of the spreadsheet (what it does...)
  5. produce final annotated designs taking into account the changes
  6. produce a detailed test plan (row F)
That's the prep work done. The designs will take ages and can be really frustrating. As ever, That Blue Square Thing has some suggestions.

In the exam time you will need to produce the spreadsheet, test it (documenting every test you do) and produce screenshots demonstrating what you have done. Then there'll need to be an in depth evaluation section.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Blackberry crumbles

See what I did with the title there? :-)

So, it seems Blackberries stopped working today. I didn't know until some of my Year 11 class period 5 told me about it - just as I'd asked them to scan a QR code to make life so much simpler for everyone concered - me included.

This EDP article seems to explain vaguely why.

Now, back to my old fashioned Nokia which, of course, kept working. Not that I had it turned on...

Monday, 3 October 2011

Accessible computing

One of the key things you need to be able to write about is how users with specific needs can make use of ICT.

Specific needs means users who need some form of assistance to use ICT. They might be partially sighted or blind for example. Other key specific needs might include hearing loss or some form of motor (or movement) disability. All of these needs can make some ICT devices or applications difficult, or impossible, to use to their full potential - a YouTube video, for example, may not be effective without subtitles for a hearing impaired user, whilst a visually impaired user may find it difficult to use the keys on a phone keypad to send an SMS.

In order to use ICT more effectively it sometimes needs to be adapted to meet a users needs.

There are a range of ways this can happen - sometimes content can be adapted, for example by adding subtitles - whilst at other times specific software or hardware needs to be used. Examples include screen reader software for visually impaired users or adapted pointing devices to replace a mouse for users with motor disabilities.

It's important to find out a bit more about this sort of stuff, so here are some quite useful places to start looking, maybe...

Monday, 26 September 2011

Legal Man

Some links to useful stuff for the legal bits and bobs that you need to know about...

As the man said,

Get out of the city and into the sunshine
Get out of the office and into the springtime

Number Plate Recognition Kerfuffle in Birmingham

Automatic Number Plate Recognition and CCTV are used all over the place. When I drive into John Lewis' car park in Norwich I get scanned by both (I think - ANPR certainly). In many cases it's Quite Useful, I suppose, but things aren't always as straight forward...

It seems that in Birmingham in 2010 CCTV and ANPR was being targeted at areas with high muslim populations. Hmmm, now that strikes me as "dodgy" at least - to start with it's indiscriminate surveillance of everyone.Not to mention a potential breach of human rights legislation.

It's interesting (although complex) to consider quite what happens when ICT and human rights laws collide. We can (and do) monitor loads of stuff using ICT - your ISP is probably monitoring, in a way, whatever you do each time you use Google. If you're reading this blog at school then there are certainly people monitoring what you're doing. Are they infringing your human rights? Or are they just making sure you're not up to something illegal or unwise?

In this case, the authorities soon backed down and cancelled the scheme (I was tempted to write 'idea', but I'm not sure they had much of one really. The legal case against the scheme looked sound and it would have been difficult, at least, to justify that much surveillance of ordinary people without any form of intelligence (but, then, I watch Spooks remember...).

A report into the scheme, published in September of 2010, concluded that it was, indeed, largely illegal and had little justification. It highlights, however, the difficulties that the "authorities" have with the potential to use ICT and the legal safeguards which protect all of us. How far should they go? Compared with how far they could go?

The newly elected Tory/Liberal Democrat coalition Home Secretary, Theresa May, called for a significant reduction in the use of CCTV and ANPR in July 2010 - interestingly just after the Birmingham scheme was withdrawn. I'm not entirely certain how that fits with the publication of CCTV images after the inner city riots of the summer of 2011 though - seems that the government thinks CCTV is good some of the time but not all of it.

And I'm not quite sure how they square the legal and ethical circle of that.

The "I never knew how to do that" column #23

Here's some cool stuff that, maybe, you never knew about. Trust me, worth a look.

These are all videos with sound and stuff btw...

RSS Feeds and how they work and why they're useful for you, perhaps

Wikis and what they do (and maybe why you should be interested)

Social Bookmarking. Trust me on this - very cool idea, although I have no idea if you'll be able to use it at school.