Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Data Protection and Charities

The Jan 2011 paper needs you to be able to write about the risks to charities of using the interwebz. It specifically requires you to write about the "relevance of the Data Protection Act to charities".

I'm sure there is lots about this on the interwebz. Lots and lots.

The Conversation:
I had a question. The question went like this:
"Hey, Mr F dude, this booklet thingy I printed off the interwebz, it's about the Data Protection Act. It's wikid, look - it tells you everything about the Data Protection Act and charities. Kewl eh?! Blud"
My reply:
"Hmm, Emily, this appears to be from the Isle of Man. I wonder if their Data Protection Act is the same as the UK one"
And, guess what? They're similar, but not exactly the same.

So - be careful where you're getting your Data Protection Act information from! Lots of places have something called very similar.

The Happy Ending:
As a result of  our conversation, I wandered over to the Information Commissioner's Office website (that's the dude who is in charge of Data Protection in the UK - so we know this is a pukka source). If you go there you'll see it has a search bar at the top right. Try typing charities into it and hitting the search button.

Make sure you're looking for the right sort of information:
  • what the data protection is - it's date and that sort of general background
  • what charities have to do to comply with the data protection act
  • why they need to comply with it
  • what might happen if they don't

DPA - fines

Just some news about fines for organisations found breaching the conditions of the Data Protection Act which could be useful.

Commissioner issues first Data Protection Act fines

Monday, 22 November 2010

Charity and Facebook

Might be useful for ICT 01 exam in January 2011...

Pudsey and the social networks

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Online Newspapers - examples to use

Yahoo has a handy list of newspapers by country - you could use this to find newspapers that other people haven't looked at perhaps.

The Big Project has something similar.

I've looked at the Beccles and Bungay Journal (I chose it because I know it's a nice small site and a very local newspaper), the Nome Nugget (because it's very small and easily doable - and it has a kewl name) and the Derry Journal (because I thought it might have some interesting features) as well as the West Highland Free Press (just because).

You probably don't need as many as that.

Index for a Word document

Someone, let's call her "Jodie"*, was having some difficulties producing an Index in Word. Neither I or my Evil Assistant had ever used Word 2007 to produce an Index before. We couldn't find "Mr Glitter" who knows what he's doing with such things.

So I used a "Popular Internet Search Engine" to find this awfully useful page from the Dummies (no, not those ones, the real ones) about how to do an Index.

That page used a keyboard shortcut to mark each index entry. You can use that, sure (as everyone knows, keyboard shortcuts are the coolest thing this side of Oslo) but you might find it easier to go References > Mark Entry (on the right). Mild!

Check the Tips bit at the bottom for a handy Mark All tip. Trust me.

*Jodie's name has been anonymised in this blog post.

Colour Swatch Generators

There are lots of interesting ways to find colour swatchs and to try out possible colour combinations - particularly useful for websites.

Colours on the web colour wizard
Colour scheme designer
Colour combos (scroll down)

Or try searching using a popular internet search engine...

Monday, 1 November 2010

BBC Connect - useful resource for Data Protection stuff?

Might be a useful starting point -

January 2011 Exam Paper

The January 2011 exam paper is now available! Woot!!

It isn't possible to link to an online version of the paper - AQA have put it behind a password. There's a version on Shared Docs you can access.

In summary you need to produce a series of webpages (I'd guess between 6 and 9). These need to be for the readers of an online newspaper.

The pages need to deal with how charities use ICT to:
  1. raise awareness of their work
  2. obtain donations
  3. support groups and individuals across the world
Ypu need to cover a "range" of examples to show this - I'm guessing this means 6 or 7 maximum.

You also need to produce a section explaining the relevance of the Data Protection Act to charities.

First Tasks:
  • produce an original timeplan - notes and examples on shared documents (I'll add these to That Blue Square Thing later today)
  • complete an audience analysis grid - (link to Word version)
  • find out who reads online newspapers - an entirely unscientific survey involving asking a few people if they read online newspapers if fine for now
  • take a look at a few online newspapers quickly to see how they present information (again, this is entirely unscientific at this point)
  • have a think about how charities might use ICT

Friday, 29 October 2010


A Cow App (BBC story)

For me, that really defines Digital Divide, and the potential for ICT to change the world in the process, more than anything I've read for a long time.

Sure, Bookface apps and driving games and dice rolling apps (v cool btw) are all very good and lovely. But the Cow App rules.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Hannah says, how do I concatenate a date into a sentence?

Ah, glad to hear from you Hannah. And, as usual, an excellent question.
Here's the problem - if you want to produce a concatenated sentence (that's one where words or cell contents are merged together into one cell) then if you try and include a date it won't copy the date in properly.

So, for example, if I wanted to say "This quote is valid for 7 days from 12 October 2010" then I would probably try and go:
="This quote is valid for 7 days from "&L47

But it won't work - it will give a five figure serial code for the date instead of the actual date.

So, this is what you do instead:

="This quote is valid for 7 days from "&TEXT(L47,'dd mmmm yyyy')

And it'll work.

A note
  • if you want the date format 12-10-10 then go 'dd-mm-yy'
  • if you want the date format 12 Oct 10 then go 'dd mmm yy'
and so on.

Hannah says you don't get nothing for a pair, not in this game.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Nerdcore and Geek Pop

Yay - geek pop rocks...

Couple of examples of where geek culture is starting to get hip and trendy (yeah, OK...):

An article on the rise of Nerdcore music from the BBC. The highlight for me of this is a classic quote about how you become a geek - "In the Venn diagram of geekdom, you become a geek by association". Excellent - Venn diagrams :-)

And the Geek Pop website (tag line: "Be there *and* be square!) has lots of very kewl stuff. I want a square T shirt.

Rock 'n' roll.

Passwords and the Law

Apparently it's illegal not to tell the police your computer password.

Yes, I know, caught me by surprise as well. But this is, apparently, the case, although I imagine that have to demonstrate good reason for wanting to know it.

This case, of a man suspected of having indecent images of children on his computer, highlights the issue. In those circumstances I can see why the law has a place - and this is under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 by the way. It would certainly be something that might make a useful contribution to a Unit 1, ICT and Society, exam.

There's also a story in the news about the impacts of the Digital Economy Act on file sharers - this blog article from the BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones reviews the case, as well as providing lots of interesting links to other stuff on the Digital Economy Act 2010 - an Act which was pretty controversial when it was introduced and remains very open in the ways it might be applied.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Block 4 work - audience analysis

As I explained in class, there's a Writing for an Audience task at the bottom of the week 4 page (link direct to PDF file).

You might find this blog post from Septemnber 2009 handy actually

This asks you to investigate how ICT might be used by the visually impaired - specifically to use the internet. I've asked you to write a brief newsletter article (note: not a newspaper article!) with a target audience of teenagers - you'll see that I'm using a familiar target audience again. How nice of me...

You can keep this brief. Really it's about the investigation of the ways in which visually impaired people (i.e. a group with specific needs) might use the internet. The writing for an audience bit isn't that important - and certainly don't worry about the newsletter aspect of it - just try and make people want to read it. We'll come back to some techniques about how to make people want to read something in Block 6...

So, there you go.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Data Security Work

I need you to be able to:
  • deal with benfits and drawbacks effectively
  • find information from a variety of sources
  • produce a bibliography effectively
For these reasons there's a short piece of work about Automatic Number Plate Recognition for you to complete this week. By the end of next week will be fine (that'll be by Friday October 1st (eek - October already!)

You'll find the work on That Blue Square Thing - it's the Automatic Number Plate Recognition task in the Data Security section of Block 3 - Law. Here's a direct link to the PDF document.

Public/Private Data and the Law

A bit of an update on a few things.

Firstly, these articles may be helpful to develop some of the legal and data security issues you need to understand:
In terms of the distinction between private and public data, I was interested to see some of the examples people were coming up with in class. Good examples of private data included information about criminal records, health records (with the specific example of records from an STD clinic), PIN details for bank cards, national insurance numbers and driving licence details.

I wonder, however, if there are ever cases where criminal records need to be made public - when someone is convicted their case may make the press, for example, and this is then a matter of puboic record (think of Pete Docharty for example - everyone knows he has a criminal record). I wonder, as well, whether there is an argument that sex offenders should, in some circumstances, have their details made public in some form?

Interesting examples of public data included gender and your family relations, say through a family tree. I wonder, though, whether there are some people who may wish to keep their gender private? I think this happens - you may be able to find examples of history where this has happened as well (George Eliot for example).

Perhaps your relations might be a slightly tricky area as well. Some people may not want to reveal their who their relations are! If you think about typical bank security questions like "what's your mother's maiden name", then perhaps the information is actually something we should be a bit more concerned about.

I did wonder in class whether there was a difference between the amount of information people of my age like to keep private and the amount that people of your age make public? Facebook profiles, and other social networking sites, can contain an awful lot of information which, in the wrong hands, might be better to keep private...

Monday, 13 September 2010

Communications revolution?

Interesting questions I have today:
  • does e-mail make me more or less efficient at work?
  • could I communicate without the internet for a week?
  • is there sometimes just too much information out there?
I don't think there's much doubt that ICT has changed the ways many people, certainly in the western world, communicate. But there are certainly drawbacks as well as benefits to using stuff like e-mail.
Here's this weeks task:
  1. think about the question "Should Leiston High School use e-mail as the main way of communicating between staff?" There are some context questions you might want to think about in the E-mail pros and cons presentation on That Blue Square Thing
  2. you might want to take a look at other sources as well - there are some web links on the website
  3. use the E-mail @ LHS writing frame to write a short report to answer the question
  4. e-mail me this, preferably by Friday September 24th
Any problems, please let me know. You should have my e-mail address by now.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

ICT & Society - web resources

Interesting questions I have today:
  • Should I buy an iPhone now or wait till the next generation of phone appears?
  • Do all the hidden computers that help to run our lives actually make us any happier?
  • What happens when the computers stop working?
  • Where is my aerocar a la Jetsons? Why don't I have it yet?!
I've finally gotten around to putting resources for AS Unit 1 (ICT and Society) up on the interwebz. Great.

That includes, very lovely Year 12 people, a spot of work for you to be doing I'm afraid:
  1. complete the Future Technology document. This is a fairly simple job working out what some of the abbreviations that get used in really cutting edge ICT mean. Note that the "Source" column simply means I want to know where you got the information from - whether it's one source or more than that.
  2. make sure you have an e-mail address which you can use in school - if you don't already have one then google mail seems quite effective
  3. e-mail me the work (like, attach it to the e-mail as a document in a form I'll be able to read)
  4. make sure that it's going to be really obvious who you are - if necessary just sign your e-mail to tell me!
In an ideal world, I'd like this done by next time I see you, but so long as I get it by next Wedesday morning that'll probably be fine (that's the 15th September I guess).

e2a: I've updated the web page from Block One to include the examples I used in class to (hopefully) help to make the difference between control/monitoring and information provision.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Disaster Relief

Just came across this article on the BBC which could be useful.

The uses of ICT in the Disaster Relief arena

Technology and traffic cops

OK, so I admit it - I watched one of those traffic cops programmes on the tele last night.

I know - rubbish tele, but strangely compulsive. And shed loads of cool technology stuff. I'm more or less writing this down so that I don't forget it in case it comes in handy at any point...

What was interesting was the use of ANPR cameras in police cars - this was in Sussex fwiw. They automatically read oncoming number plates and can automatically interrogate the Police National Computer (the PNC) as well as the DVLA database and an Insurance Database (which may be the same thing as the DVLA one, I'm not sure). This gives a beep (and flashes a touchscreen button) if the vehicle doesn't have insurance or an MOT or is reported as stolen or needs to be found for some other reason.

Manually it's also possible to interrogate the databases to work out if a driver has a driving ban or a warrant outstanding on them and so on.

All of which was Quite Interesting.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Wallander's Ystad

As an example of a multimedia tour project thingummy this is quite interesting. Perhaps.

And Swedish.

Tour of Wallander's Ystad

Cowabunga! Break out the herring dude.

E-Safety for 5 Year Olds

BBC article - useful for AiDA Think, Click

E Safety Video for five year olds

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Consuming fuel? Try some software

Fleet management software for haulage companies can do all sorts of marvellous things.
Software developed in Norfolk could save businesses hundreds of thousands of pounds and slash carbon emissions by alerting staff to bad driving styles.

The technology provides drivers and fleet managers with real-time information on vehicles and can cut fuel consumption by encouraging them to drive more efficiently.

From: EDP 'New drive to reduce consumption of fuel' 26/06/10


This is an interesting example of the impact of ICT on society.
Thanks to advancing technology, remote monitoring of patients via networks of specialist medical-grade laptops, cameras, video screens and medical equipment, could be the norm in a few years' time.

From - EDP 'Norfolk conference hears of telemedicine revolution' 29/6/10
This has lots of useful applications...
“This telemedicine technology would allow the GP to call the consultant and he could examine the patient thoroughly over the screen. We want to make clinicians aware of how important this interactive, two-way technology is and how much time and money it will save across the health service.”

Vital signs such as heart rate, blood pressure and lung function could all be measured and monitored remotely for long term conditions. Skin conditions and wound care could also be monitored using specialist cameras.
Saves all that hassle of getting a Doctors appointment...
It is hoped the new technology would save travel costs and time for patients, be beneficial for those being rehabilitated after hospital treatment, and could prove vital in emergencies in rural remote settings.
Just a shame they've been using exactly the same ideas in places like Angola and India for three or four years.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Specifying Queries

This is a good idea.

Your database needs to specify (i.e. plan) the queries you're going to be using. This means it needs to

  • say what the query will be called
  • say what fields will be used in it - and which table they will come from

Csutomer ID - from tblCstomer
BookingID - from tblBookings


Input Needs

You probably have things like
  • input masks
  • drop down boxes
  • calendar controls
  • parameter queries
  • forms
Fine. I need a section which gives a brief overview of data input needs. All the evidence for this is probably already there, but this section needs to bring that all together and summarise it (bullet points are fine).

I need:
  1. what data is going to be inputted
  2. who is going to do the inputting (at the client)
  3. where are they going to get the data from
  4. how is the input going to be done - cross reference to all the screenshots of stuff you have (the list above) with page numbers

I would have a section for this, probably towards the end of the Implementation section (somewhere around security) called "Input Needs". Lots of cross referencing to the stuff you've already got is just fine.

    Thursday, 29 April 2010

    Apple vs Flash

    So, Steve Jobs says Flash is a bit rubbish and not suitable for running on Apple's uber-cool touchscreen smartphones and the like.


    The less use that's made of Flash the better imo. It's hideously overused - I took a look at a Flash website today - for a lodge business. Why on earth the site was built in Flash I'll never know - ages to load, lousy scrolling and really sucky look all round.

    So any disincentive to use the damned stuff on standard websites sounds like a plan to me.

    Jobs explains his difficulties with Flash - which can be a great tool if it's used properly btw - in a letter. Sound points in general - the lack of openness, security problems and battery issues convince me by themselves. Worth a read.

    40 uses for a floppy disk...

    Fabby article from the BBC Magazine - seems like there's a lot of technical demand for them and they make handy ice scrappers as well :-)

    This week, though, Sony decided it would stop making them. Part of my life just disappeared (of course, I'm old enough to remember floppy disks which were actually floppy...)

    Thursday, 1 April 2010

    Monitoring Progress in Open Workbench

    You can use Open Workbench. Yay!

    But can you monitor your progress in it?

    This thought occurred as a result of reading some little detail in the markscheme for the sample piece of work we have. In AO1 - Row 2 the comment explaining why the candidate didn't get 4 marks says:
    Project is used to plan time, which is appropriate, but candidate has not shown that it has been used to monitor progress, so the explanation does not warrant the fourth mark

    So, we need to use Open Workbench to try to monitor our progress. Hmmmm....

    NB: Before you do this BACK YOUR FILE UP!

    Having discussed this in class, James "The Machine" found the Status Update tab - look down on the left hand side in the Controlling group. From this you can try:
    • click in the Total Actuals (hours) column and put in the amount of time some jobs actually took - look, stuff happens
    • check back on the Gannt chart and look at the phases bar - look: there's a little bar showing progress on the phase!
    • take some screenshots now
    • now change the Started box on the far right to Completed - it goes when you click away - not yet, but later! It disappears. Take some more screenshots - this shows that you're monitoring the progress that's occured as you're going along. You can see why, in a complex project, this would be a good idea yes? Good.
    • check the Gannt chart view as well - the Gannt bars will eventually start changing some colour - and might shift (if you start a task which is dependent on another one!)

    Take care with this. I think you need a couple of pages of screenshots to show that you monitored it. But be aware that you will lose views and information - which is why a backup copy's a good idea because me and JTM haven't worked out how to get them back again yet!

    Tuesday, 30 March 2010

    Hannah says what are Standard Ways of Working?

    Another good question Hannah. I hope you'll continue to ask questions long after you've left us.

    Standard ways of working need to be proven for most portfolios. This simply means do things the way they should be done - the "industry standard" ways of doing stuff. Like:
    • sensible file names, using version numbers etc... Include your documentation etc... as well as whatever you're producing
    • sensible sheet names or names for queries, reports, tables etc... using standard methods (like: tblPokemonCharacters or qryYellowFruit)
    • sensible file structure - using folders effectively to organise work
    • backing up an using appropriate storage

    For Project Management you might also include elements which show that you've used standard ways of working for group projects such as:
    • use of agenda, minutes etc... to schedule meetings
    • use of project management software to plan - e.g. Gannt charts and resource assignments using Open Workbench
    • effective use of e-mail, letters, synchronous chat etc... to manage work
    • use of collaborative documents to allow multiple people to work on the same document (for example, user guides etc...)

    For the final mark in the row you'll need to be answering the question: Why did I/we do this?

    Thursday, 25 March 2010

    It's OK to be sad - the FarmVille story


    Bit sad really isn't it? But not terribly dangerous if played in small doses according to this BBC article (although note: an official got sacked in Bulgaria for playing it - take care eh...).

    Comments are interesting - the idea that Groups may be scams: get you to fill out a survey and, ah ha, they have personal details.

    Now, do I join just to get a farm? Hmmmm....

    Wednesday, 24 March 2010


    An online game to teach young people (and maybe old people as well, I don't know, I haven't really played it yet) about the issues surrounding social networking and online privacy.

    Might be worth a look - I'd appreciate any feedback about it.

    Tuesday, 23 March 2010

    Hmm, this might be a good idea...

    Well, I'm shocked. A good idea from Microsoft...

    A game to help you learn features of Office. Cool name too - Ribbon Hero.

    Not tried it, but sounds like a jolly fine idea.

    Sunday, 21 March 2010

    Justification of Database software

    This is a simple three marks to get.

    Check the markscheme first - it's AO2 Row 3. Then this is what I'd do:
    1. Clearly state exactly which version of Access is being used. Without this it won’t get 1 mark
    2. Say that they already have it and so don’t need to buy any new software in
    3. Say that it’s the only bit of database software they have so there isn't a real alternative
    4. If anyone in the client organisation has any familiarity at all with it then say so – they may have used it at school or in another job for example or done some very basic training with it
    5. Say that you need a number of tables for different entities (name the entities) and therefore need an RDBMS (a Relational Database Management System)

    You could add about the ability to build forms to create a user friendly interface using things like drop down boxes, calendar controls etc… and use security features etc… Linking this to client needs (briefly!) isn't a bad idea.

    Tuesday, 16 March 2010

    Project Management Marks

    There are 6 marks for using Open Workbench (pretty much).

    AO1 - Row 2 - the first three marks for using a range of project management techniques - the fourth mark for explaining how and why you used them (probably using screenshots)

    AO2 - Row 3 - using tools

    I would produce:
    • a Gannt chart (possibly a weekly view one) - to show the dates for each task and how they are scheduled
    • a phase level Gannt chart - to provide an overview of scheduling
    • a Critical Path Analysis - to show the longest possible path to the end of the project (check out Critical Path Analysis on Wikipedia) using the tasks and their start and finish dates and dependencies
    • a resource assignment - to show exactly how resources have been assigned - who is going to what meeting or involved in each section
    • a dependency definition view - to specify exactly which tasks are dependent on others (the critical path will help do this as well)
    You can then add evidence from using e-mail, cooperative documents (e.g. Google Docs) etc...

    Note that there are also possible marks in AO1 - Row 1 which is using new software.

    Hannah says what is Open Workbench?

    Good question Hannah. You always ask the best questions. No one else is as skilled as you at question asking. I like you.

    Open Workbench is project management software. It allows you to manage the key aspects of a project - specifically to manage tasks, place tasks into phases and manage the allocation of resources. This will allow you to schedule a complex project with many resources (people) effectively to allow it to be completed to deadlines.

    This is particularly important because you have a number of resources to manage and many tasks to complete, some of which are clearly dependent on other tasks (you can't test the content until the interface has been produced, for example).

    Wikipedia has a really quite useful page on project management and what it is. It's worth a look.

    There's also a Wikipedia page on Open Workbench itself, although it's rather less useful.

    Specifically Open Workbench will allow you to:
    • produce Gannt charts
    • assign resources and manage them and produce a resource overview
    • produce a critical path analysis

    A quite useful definition of project management is:

    “Project management is the process by which projects are defined, planned, monitored, controlled and delivered such that agreed benefits are realised. Projects are unique, transient endeavours undertaken to achieve a desired outcome. Projects bring about change and project management is recognised as the most efficient way of managing such change.”

    Tuesday, 9 March 2010

    Skills Audit

    Unit 8 needs you to do a skills audit - to work out what skills you have at the start of the project.

    Examples could be:

    Communication skills such as:
    • meeting skills - running meeting, producing agenda, minutes etc...
    • organisation skills - organising yourself, e-mails etc...
    • bossiness skills - organising other people
    Technical skills such as:
    • design skills
    • animation skills
    • web skills
    Project management skills (which might include some of the things above)
    • use of open workbench
    • use of gannt charts
    • use of plans, critical path management etc...

    This is AO3 Row 5. I'd do it in a table with a column for the skill, a column for pre-existing level and a column for how I'd used it in the project.

    You need to do the same sort of thing for your Knowledge - AO3 Row 6 - what knolwedge of this sort of thing did you have at the start and how did you use it?

    It is a really good idea to put this towards the front of your write-up. It links to AO1 Rows 3 and 4 - the development of new skills. BUT this wants to be a clearly different section...

    Monday, 8 March 2010

    Concatenation Madness

    Concatenation of fields is when you put two or more fields together to make a single output - say for a report.

    A good place to use this is if you have a persons name.

    You could create the report with three separate boxes - one for the title, one for the forename and one for the surname. You'd have to make sure each box was big enough to cope with any length of name though, so you'd end up with output which looked like:

    Mrs     Danielle         Bagshaw

    Which works but looks  a bit naff, especially if it's supposed to be a letter heading. Wouldn't it be so much better to get:

    Mrs Danielle Bagshaw
    Mr Jim Chicken

    ...with just the right amount of spaces?

    So concatenate already! The juice covered text book tells you how to do this on page 214, but it's dead easy really.
    • create an unbound text box (CAREFUL: don't make it a label! It must be a textbox. Trust me; ask Jane)
    • type in something along the lines of =[Title]&" "&[Forename]&" "&[Surname]
    • check it works

    The & symbol (called an Ampersand by the way) ties the fields together into one output - which is what concatenation is. And it's a dead cool word for scrabble if someone already has cat and nation in the right place = triple word score heaven.

    Calendar Control Stuff

    d to some stuff I wrote about calendar controls a while back...

    You have a calendar. You have date of arrival and date of departure. You can do a spinner.

    You can set the date of arrival dead easily, yes? The date of departure is a little trickier because you don't really want to set a default value of =Date()+1 because you actually want the default value to be one higher than the value you set for the arrival when you click on the calendar.

    All you need to do is add a line of code to the standard calendar stuff.


    It's the second line of code that's "new". Pretty straightforward once you figure it out...

    Thursday, 4 March 2010

    Open Workbench - an idiots guide

    Just for Hayley (joke!)

    Do stuff in this order:

    1. enter the names of your resources (the people) and their initials in the bottom pane
    2. right click each resource and Modify - type the persons job title in the Category box
    3. I went with Developers, Project Manager, Tester, Client - you could have other project roles
    4. enter the tasks in the centre pane. Try and get them in a logical order. You can add rows in by right clicking
    5. add rows and enter phases - enter them like tasks and then right click and Modify and change the Type to Phase. This will give you a bracketed phase and let you break the project down into stages
    6. sort the dates out - either drag the tasks along the Gannt chart or change the dates manually
    7. sort the length of tasks out - either drag the bars on the Gannt chart or change the finish dates
    8. now put in dependencies - I find it easier to drag them from the predecessor bar to the successor bar. Take care with dependencies - you want them to make sense. I would suggest that everything needs some kind of dependency as it will make you critical path analysis make more sense - but there may be jobs which can take place at the same time as each other
    9. assign resources to tasks and give them time allocations in hours. Right click on each task and select Assignments and you can do this. Make sure the right people are in the right meetings - I would tend to have the Project manager meet the client for many of the meetings rather than have large meetings. Don't forget meetings with testers.

    Double click on the dates at the top of the Gannt chart and you can set the number of periods to display. You may need more than 26 periods if your project lasts more than 26 days. You can also change the scale from days to weeks which may well be a better way of displaying things if you have a project lasting more than 3 or 4 weeks

    Double click on the Gannt chart itself and you can tick the holidays box to shade in weekends (yah!) and perhaps change the

    Hmm, pictures...

    Yes, they aren't working.

    I will fix them but it might take a little time. It's due to google pages changing to google sites which means the url of where the pages are stored has changed.

    Don't you just hate it when that happens?

    Tuesday, 2 February 2010

    90% of school kids use computers...

    A useful thingie for AiDA:

    Thursday, 21 January 2010

    Database and Spreadsheet Files

    The people who produce the textbooks you have for Spreadsheets and Databases have put a bunch of free resource files online.

    These might be handy to use rather than having to type stuff in by hand.

    The files are organised by editions of the book - you have the third edition of both books. It doesn't mean the other files wouldn't be useful or interesting, just that they might not be quite so useful or interesting.

    Dude, where's my (open) workbench?

    Yes, it's here.

    A couple of other places to look for some background sorta stuff might be:

    Wikipedia: Open Workbench
    Comparing open workbench with microsoft project
    Another comparison perhaps

    Monday, 18 January 2010

    Hannah says showing formulae view is easy

    Someone's going to have forgotten how to do this...

    Hannah says here's the way to do it:
    1. is your sheet saved? Good.
    2. hold the shift key down. Don't let it go, even if a bee is about to land on your nose.
    3. look at the top left hand corner of the keyboard. Find the Esc key. DON'T TOUCH IT
    4. look underneath it. You'll find a wierd looking key that only Mr Bagshaw (and other sad geeks) know the name of
    5. that's the key you want
    6. I call it the Star Wars button because I don't have a better name for it
    7. still holding shift down? Good
    8. tap - ONCE - the Star Wars button. Feel the force? Excellent!
    9. see the formulae? Kewl!

    To toggle back again all you need to do is Shift-Star Wars and it'll go back again.

    You might need to twiddle around with column widths to show the formulae of course. Beware if you try and toggle back - you'd be better off saving under a different file name before you try and toggle back if you've changed too many column widths.

    Hannah says hands that do dishes, they can be as soft as your face...

    Spreadsheets Markscheme...

    Some pointers:

    Section G - Testing:
    Make sure you test both the individual inputs and the whole system. There are 8 marks - 4 are for individual things; 4 are for the whole system testing.

    You do need to provide some screenshots. But - don't overdo it. The exam board says you don't need to screenshot absolutely everything if things are very similar.

    Section H - Implementation:
    This isn't about how you did it - you don't need to show that.

    Row 1 - Management: show that you've used sensible filenames, macro names, names for cell ranges. You could also show stuff like backups etc... (2 marks)
    Row 2 - System: show evidence that you've made it and that it works! Then do a section linking specifically to client needs - how does it meet each of them? This will lift stuff heavily from your prep work - it may even be close to word to word. But it's worth a mark... (3 marks)
    Row 3 - Formulae: it's better to use formula view prints rather than screenshots to show the formulae. For the third mark, annotate the prints to show how they help you meet the client needs (yes, this may seem a bit repetitive). (3 marks)
    Row 4 - Complex Features: tell us which complex features you've used and, for the third mark, how they help you meet the client needs in an appropriate way (maybe: link back to client skills section?) (3 marks)
    Row 5 - Macros: you need prints of your macro code (go Alt-F11) annotated (by hand is fine) to show what macros do. (2 marks)
    Row 6 - Reusability: you'll either need to save it as a template or make sure that it can be cleared and reused - possibly saving client data. Use screenshots to show this if it's stuff you haven't already included anywhere else, but don't use unnecessary sceenshots. You can explain this section just as well.
    Row 7 - Outputs: explain how your outputs help meet client needs. The key word is explain. Outputs can be to the screen (i.e. screenshots) or to the printer. Link directly to numbered client needs.

    Section I - Timeplan:
    This is the section j from the old style markscheme. You need to annotate your timeplan to show how you actually spent your time. To get the second mark you need to explain any alterations you had to make (and make sure there are some...)

    Section J - Evaluations:
    We don't have a specific markscheme section for this yet. We think it's the old sections j, k and the spg marks.

    Row 1 - Evaluation of solution: Use your evaluation criteria and client needs - have these been met? Prove this with screenshots. Then identify areas which could be developed/improved.
    Row 2 - Evaluation of own performance: how good were you? Yes, I know this is really awkward to do. Make sure you've clearly mentioned: strengths, weaknesses and areas for your own development
    Row 3 - the SPAG: you'll either get these or you won't. They do like technical terms - so try not to say "stuff" too much.

    Saturday, 16 January 2010

    I, Science

    Student science magazine with some interesting layout etc...

    Might be useful if anyone's still needing that sort of thing.

    Internet Explorer? Not a good idea...

    The German government has actually gone to the lengths of warning people not to use IE - and to suggest the use of an alternative instead.


    There are major holes (again...) in all versions of IE from 6 onwards. Yes, you can block them partly on a temporary basis, but setting security to high tends to me

    The German government has warned web users to find an alternative browser to Internet Explorer to protect security.

    The warning from the Federal Office for Information Security comes after Microsoft admitted IE was the weak link in recent attacks on Google's up your ability to browse websites.

    You might want to consider Opera, Google Chrome, Safari or Firefox. The thing is, they're better anyways...

    e2a: 18/1/10 - looks like France has issued the same sort of warning now

    Tuesday, 12 January 2010

    Cars, the DVLA, MID and more about Cars

    As an example of a regulatory authority for Jan10 unit 1, the DVLA and it's associated organisations is worth a look if you haven't already got all your content sorted.

    Directgov - how to tax your vehicle is where I started

    From there I found out how to tax my vehicle online from where I found out:
    Insurance, MOT and entitlement to disability exemption are checked electronically during the application. A tax disc and receipt for payment is posted to you within five working days.

    Valid insurance on the date you want the tax disc to come into force (or the date you apply, if this is later) is checked on the Motor Insurance Database (MID) run by the Motor Insurers Bureau. If your vehicle tax and insurance are due at the same time or if you’ve recently changed your insurance company, there may be problems checking insurance while waiting for the MID to update.

    Before you tax, you can make an online check to see if the MID has updated. The result will apply only to the day you make your check.

    ...which goes someway to telling me how they use ICT.

    I then looked at the DVLA site where I actually do the registering for car tax. The Apply for a tax disc page tells me:
    The Motor Insurance Database (MID) holds insurance details of vehicles. You can check if your vehicle is on the database today by visiting their website at Please note, to complete a relicensing transaction valid insurance needs to be on the database on the day the new tax disc comes into force.
    ...which shows me that there are clearly a number of databases which are linked up and hold an awful lot of information about cars and their drivers. You'll learn more about databases in Unit 3, but for now just accept that you can hold a lot of data in databases and that different databases in different agencies can "talk" to each other to do this sort of thing. But that that requires skill in using computers.

    I also checked the DVLA FAQ. Question 4 tells me:
    How do you check Insurance, MoT Certificates and GVT Certificates?

    When you apply for a tax disc online or by using our telephone service, the vehicle's insurance will be electronically checked with the Motor Insurance Database (MID), run by the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB)

    MoT Certificates and GVT Certificates will also be checked electronically with the MoT Database. Only customers with an electronic MoT Certificate or GVT Certificate are eligible to use this service.
    From all this stuff I got to various other places:
    • askMID, where I can check if my vehicle is insured (if I could remember the number plate anyway...)
    • the VOSN MOTinfo page, where I can check if I have a valid MOT
    • the Directgov page where I can report a vehicle which I believe isn't registered in an anonymous way. This is an interesting idea - I imagine it means they get more reports made and that they can quickly check the data against their databases?
    • and the VOSA main page, which links to a little you tube video about how they're helping to save lives on the road - which is probably how you can link all of this to the Jan10 paper. You might find some of the linked videos useful as well.
    Links to safety: keeps uninsured drivers off the road who are more likely to cause accidents and who push up insurance costs for all other drivers (you could probably find figures on this); allows police to check details of vehicles quickly and pull drivers without insurance/tax etc...; if vehicles are not taxed the DVLA knows where they were last held and can send people to check on them - untaxed vehicles more likely to be used dangerously perhaps?; details can be checked if you're going to buy a car - including mileage - which might reduce the possibility of criminals "clocking" a vehicle or selling one which is dangerous having been in an accident and written off etc..

    Pros: quick, links up databases, stops people without insurance getting vehicles taxed, allows increased reporting of taxed vehicles, saves money as it doesn't need people to do this any more, saves time as I don't have to queue in the post office

    Cons: if the database is wrong then I can't tax my car, the system's only as good as the data in it, data has to be checked, which takes time and costs money, cost to set up, problems with data getting lost - all my personal details could be on their databases, privacy issues, data protection issues