Saturday, December 21, 2013

Educational on-line resources

Thanks to Dave Brett @ for this entry:

Everything I study is usually programming-related, and obviously there are tons of other interests out there. I'll start adding stuff from the most upvoted comments; please upvote anything non-programming related, as it is the only thing I'm familiar with and can't give good opinions on the numerous other great sources I'm sure are out there. - No Excuse List - includes sources for everything you can want. I included some more popular ones with brief write-ups below. Reddit Resources - Reddit's List of the best online education sources Khan Academy - Educational organization and a website created by Bangladeshi-American educator Salman Khan, a graduate of MIT and Harvard Business School. The website supplies a free online collection of micro lectures stored on YouTube teaching mathematics, history, healthcare and medicine, finance, physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, economics, cosmology, organic chemistry, American civics, art history, macroeconomics, microeconomics, and computer science. Ted Talks - Talks that address a wide range of topics ("ideas worth spreading") within the research and practice of science and culture, often through storytelling. Many famous academics have given talks, and they are usually short and easy to digest. Coursera - Coursera partners with various universities and makes a few of their courses available online free for a large audience. Founded by computer science professors, so again a heavy CS emphasis. Wolfram Alpha - Online service that answers factual queries directly by computing the answer from structured data, rather than providing a list of documents or web pages that might contain the answer as a search engine might. Unbelievable what this thing can compute; you can ask it near anything and find an answer. Udacity - Outgrowth of free computer science classes offered in 2011 through Stanford University. Plans to offer more, but concentrated on computer science for now. MIT OpenCourseWare - Initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to put all of the educational materials from its undergraduate- and graduate-level courses online, partly free and openly available to anyone, anywhere. Codecademy - Online interactive platform that offers free coding classes in programming languages like Python, JavaScript, and Ruby, as well as markup languages including HTML and CSS. Gives your points and "level ups" like a video game, which is why I enjoyed doing classes here. Not lecture-oriented either; usually just jump right into coding, which works best for those that have trouble paying attention. Team Treehouse - Alternative to Codecademy which has video tutorials. Duolingo - For all of your language learning needs. Memrise - Online learning tool that uses flashcards augmented with mnemonics—partly gathered through crowdsourcing—and the spacing effect to boost the speed and ease of learning. Several languages available to learn. edX - Massive open online course platform founded by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University to offer online university-level courses in a wide range of disciplines to a worldwide audience at no charge. Many other universities now take part in it, including Cal Berkeley. Differs from most of these by including "due dates" with assignments and grades. Education portal - Free courses which allow you to pass exams to earn real college credit. uReddit - Made by Redditors for other Redditors. Tons of different topics, varying from things like science and art to Starcraft strategy.

iTunes U - Podcasts from a variety of places including universities and colleges on various subjects. Download the iTunes app or link through to content. Stack Exchange - Group of question and answer websites on topics in many different fields, each website covering a specific topic, where questions, answers, and users are subject to a reputation award process. Stack Overflow is used for programming, probably their most famous topic. Self-moderated with reputation similar to Reddit.

Wikipedia - Collaboratively edited, multilingual, free Internet encyclopedia. Much better source than most people give it credit for, and great for random learning whenever you need it. For those looking for more legit sources for papers and such, it is usually easy to jump to a Wikipedia page and grab some sources at the bottom. /a> />

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Is progress always good?

Recently i've been thinking about writing in general and the distractions of the modern connected everything. Having just brought a manual portable typewriter in perfect condtion for £5 from a charity shop and a £2 ribbon from eBay, I now have a proper retro setup that can goe on camp or anywhere else that i want to be writing off grid.

Evernote has the OCR scanning caperbility, so I hope that pages of typed text will be scannable! A typewritier also is perfect for portable lists and filofax pages. Why bother,i have tavlets, laptops and other portsble devices, sometimes though, I really think distraction free writing can yield the best results.

I also enjoy writing with a fountain pen, however if your writing isn't that neat then a type writer or dedicated word processor can be the minimalise key. Also it can bring a ritual and special feeling to your writing.

You can get a wide range of wordprocessors on eBay, the Amstrad NC100/NC200, which run Protext. The 200 had a floppy drive. The excellent Sharp Font Writer series again these have a floppy drive and the ability to export RTF or ASCII format. The additin of a £10 usb floppy drive and your mac can now read rhese files. Floppy disks also are still a good storage format
To support hte ritual of writing. A local wiki like vudoo pad can run on ipad and macbook etc.

In summary, using a dedicated typewriter can focus the mind, to allow uninterupted thinking and writing. It is possible to use this vintage kit and to get information from the old device to the new. Procrastination and writers block is a real problem sometimes. Getting into flow, which is what we all aim for is possible, using some very cheap vintage kit.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas is coming

We've had an interesting year, not least of which brought the Raspberry Pi. The more I look at this innocent little computer, the more I want the time to play with it! At present learnig Python is a facinating experinece. this whole genre is brigning back a basic pleasure in computing that has been removed from us, since the advent of Windows.

My beloved Macbook Air, does so much, yet the simplicity and power of what comes in the box, is amazing. The automator function, a very powerful batch automator and scripting facility. Texedit, is a powerful editor and the Preview function has amazing hidden features, with the unix shell prompt a keystroke away.. So what i'm saying is that the simplest IT can often bring amazing results. 2013 will be exciting, what will come next?

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Raspberry Pi - Could this be a game changer?

Well, not often I get excited about technology, however this little processor board has soooo much potential. ok, it's only a low powered single board PC, with tiny memory and no hard disk, but.....

It will mark my words, spawn a magazine or at least get a regular column in Linux format. It will have applications for Schools and colleges. for electronics students, for IT network geeks, you'll be able to use it to roll your own appliances (mini router, firewall, network tap, IDS etc.

For Amateur radio, it will be fantastic can run on a battery pack, mini video monitor etc. PC in the Car, someone will develop the bits for that too. Not every job in the world needs a full blown system.

Most of all regardless, it will spawn a whole raft of neat tested boot from card linux distress, with compilers built in. I sincerely hope it does encourage programming again. The machines of the 80's did get a whole generation interested in programming, electronics and radio engineering. I can't wait to see where this goes, the accessories it generates and the novel applications and third party add-ons, it really is exciting.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

A moments pause

Steve Jobs was a guy with a vision. That vision was planted long ago. In 2005 he did a talk
At Stanford University, to the graduates that year. My oldest Dave shared this with me last year, I am now sharing it..... you'll find it posted everywhere today, I do not apologise for re-posting it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Flag in the ground

Recent press coverage of the Socitm "Flag in the ground" roadmap of public services reform, has me thinking about the "Islands of success":

Legal compliance information sharing
Identity and Authentication
Networked services
Media and communications
Security, privacy and information management

Plenty to think about in time for the
Spring Conference!

Moleskine app

Well it's finally arrived, to go with the new range of accessories, the Moleskine app!

Bow you can carry the spirit of Moleskine on your iPhone! Thanks to TravelDave for the tip......

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Islands of success

Thinking about the Socitm routemap 2015, I'm thinking about islands of success. The government ICT strategy will be published very soon, that will have key components which will need implementation methodologies, that's the challenge!

We'll develop a rich picture which will explain it all. Still not to late to comment on the Socitm strategy consultation via