Many Pies

Many Pies

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Secondary attention

Our old TV died the other week, giving us psychedelic colour effects as it did so. Now we've got a new one with a VGA input. So I've been thinking about what sort of secondary attention thing I can do with it.

The other day I found a video on YouTube of a fire. I put it on 20 minutes or so before there was a TV programme we all wanted to watch. After it ran for a few seconds the boys asked me to find something else. I said no, the whole point is that your fire doesn't change, it just keeps burning.

I'm thinking of something that's equally boring, but in time, or over a period of time, does something interesting. So when the TV's not showing a programme it sits there in the corner and is worth glancing at. So not a programme, but a program.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The BBC Micro and me

BBC Micro
A couple of weeks ago Charles Arthur, the technology correspondent for The Guardian asked on twitter
So who is there out there whose experience with the BBC Micro led them to achieve something notable in the computing business?
I responded as we had a BBC Micro at school which I used in the sixth form. I gave him some details, but he was looking for someone who, if it hadn't been for the BBC Micro, wouldn't have got into computers. I wanted to be a programmer from aged 11 and we had a Spectrum at home, so that didn't apply to me and he didn't use my story in the article that he wrote on it. I paid for my driving lessons with the money I made on games I wrote for the Spectrum (and probably the BBC) and sold to magazines.

In our correspondence he asked
And do you think that kids today have enough access to that sort of programming, or do they need a "new Micro" to inspire them?
I replied:
Kids today have access to a wide range of free programming environments via the internet. If I were to start doing games today I'd be using a physics/gaming engine to do the heavy lifting, and aiming to get my stuff on miniclip or in an app store. Angry Birds is probably the thing that inspires them.
So I'm not sure any new type of hardware is needed. Today the BBC ran this story about a new curriculum for ICT.
Computer games entrepreneur Ian Livingstone, an adviser to Mr Gove, envisages a new curriculum that could have 16-year-olds creating their own apps for smartphones and 18-year-olds able to write their own simple programming language.
So I guess they agree with me!

I also recently came across this petition on the UK Government petitions website "Teach our kids to code". I don't like the way it uses the word "coding" which is a bit of jargon which could be better expressed as "programming". It also seems a bit unnecessary now in the light of that BBC story.

Photo from Rain Rabbit.

Friday, January 06, 2012

My public speaking engagements in 2012

I've read a couple of blog posts recently where people have outlined their public speaking engagements this year. Now I get to do it too!

Actually there's only one.

We're having the Wycliffe Conference at our church on 4th February 2012. I'm doing a session entitled "Tech Transforming Translation". What I'm planning to do is try and condense our Check IT Out day (which we're unfortunately not running this year) into 50 minutes.

So it's going to be a bit of a roller coaster ride. At the moment I'm planning to cover the following topics:

  • Using media (videos, CDs, websites, mobile phones, mp3 players) for distributing Bibles
  • Translating sign languages
  • Complex fonts
  • IT support in harsh conditions (dust, heat, humidity, lightning, dodgy electricity supply)
  • How you can use your IT skills to help missions, without leaving this country - MissionAssist (formerly Wycliffe Associates UK)
More details on our Wycliffe Conference page.