Category Archives: Technology

Looking for 25 under 25?

 Young people developing new ideas…

 

One of our editorial contributors is a member of The Internet Society, which as an organisation is now twenty five years old. We were excited to read his email about the latest prize programme being undertaken by the The Society.

To celebrate this quarter century anniversary the Society is undertaking a search for twenty five internet innovators, under the age of twenty five.

”Do you know someone between the ages of 13-25 who is passionate about using the Internet to make a difference? We want to hear about them! They could receive a trip to Los Angeles and a chance to connect and collaborate with other young leaders from around the world”.

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25 under 25 – Internet Society nominations here…

You can read more about this search on The Internet Society web pages here. The qualifications for the nominees include the following…

  • They must be using the Internet to make a positive impact
  • Have a commitment and passion to make the world better
  • Be making a difference in their community
  • Have ideas that can be implemented around the world
  • Be between the ages of 13-25 by 31 December 2017

To nominate someone for a trip, and a networking opportunity, that can change young lives read more here – you can discover the nomination process and form here.

What can the entrants expect to secure, if they are successful?

  • Roundtrip economy-class travel for awardee and double occupancy lodging in Los Angeles from 16/17-21 September 2017
  • Formal recognition the evening of 17 September at a special reception
    Invitation to the Internet Hall of Fame inductee ceremony and dinner on 18 September
  • Opportunity to meet and engage with the Internet Society team and the 2017 Internet Hall of Fame inductees
  • Participation in Collaborative Leadership Exchange in an unconference format on 18 September
  • Leadership development and community engagement programmes on 19-20 September

Nomination deadline: 31st May, 2017.

Our region is bursting with ‘tech talent’ of all ages. Nominate a young person today and help create the next game changing web innovators, pursuing real impact for good!

 

 

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Project Torino – inclusive learning for visually impaired children…

 Building blocks of code for young leaners – code creation in new ways from Microsoft

 

Microsoft researchers, at their Cambridge UK facilities, are in the midst of developing a new set of coding tools which will support children with additional sight needs in exploring the creation of code, commands and programs.

Torino is a physical programming language, which will, it is hoped, enable children with visual impairments, to take part and contribute in coding classes. Sharing the world of code and developing an understanding of the structure of programmed technology with their peers.

It is hoped that the project, when fully realised can be useful to other cohorts of learners, from adults to those who can be constrained by dyslexia and autism, to be able to access careers as computer scientists or software engineers.

The World Health Organization estimates that 285 million people worldwide are blind or visually impaired, and the vast majority of those people live in low-income settings. In the United Kingdom alone, the Royal National Institute of Blind People says only one in four working age adults who are blind or partially sighted are doing paid work.

Source:  blogs.microsoft.com  Accessed – 28.03.2017

Recruiting young people and educators for the project:

The Project Torino Beta – Expression of Interest page is still live on the web. You can subscribe to receive more detailed information from Microsoft and Project Torino when the beta evaluation goes live.

The process is available  to educators and parents in the UK. See more here.

Inclusion at the heart of technology:

Reading the project detail, it is clear that inclusion for all learners lies at the heart of the project. The research and design work, initially geared towards children in the seven to eleven age group, has already created a curriculum for teachers to be able to use Project Torino. (No prior coding skills are needed…Ed.)

An ‘app’ has also been created to enable children, once having mastered their physical language coding skills, to move on into text based code, wherever appropriate.

Great news from Microsoft Research in Cambridge. We shall follow the project with interest.

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Distances travelled and a New Year

We are always excited about books and book production in the conversationsEast office. In 2016 we seemed to have a very ‘bookish’ year all in all.

We enjoyed a visit to Seven Stories in Newcastle to look at the development of an author and the creation of the written artefact through the work of Michael Mopurgo. See more here.

We also happily supported the a new issue of Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica, an endeavour delivered across the globe from the print works of Kronecker Wallis in Barcelona, Spain. Revisit the work here.

In 2017 the conversationsEAST team have sworn an oath to finally deliver their draft arts journal, artSUFFUSION, and to expand the range of contributors to our pages in the hope of stimulating interest in arts, culture, history and all the other things that occupy our minds during the working day.

As we were unpacking another delivery of books in the intervening quiet days betwixt the festive holiday and New Year, we were pondering, as we tackled another Open Office document and posted several WordPress pages onto our servers for clients. How far have we come in terms of print production?

The Italians took a long look at the subject, the now pre-historic hot metal typesetting process, in 1960.

Source: See the movie on YouTube

Whilst some time later, nearly sixty years in fact, an American production giant revealed how the introduction of micro-processor and the refinement of mechanical processes enabled tens of thousands of printed copies to be created within three short days.

Source: See the movie on YouTube

We thought the passage of time and socio-economic difference was wonderfully reflected in the the comparison between the be-suited operators of the Lino-type machines, half man, half machine, seemingly embedded in their mechanisms as their typing materialised from hot metal reservoirs, into hard gobbets of text, for onward transmission to other people and process.

The contrast underscored by the modern, casually dressed and processor driven work environment of a contemporary print house. We noted the lack of people populating the production landscape in the latter. The ‘white collar’ aspects of the book now taking place remotely, no longer a craft skill in an industrial setting.  A true sign of our times?

Whatever changes 2017 brings, a happy New Year to our readers from the conversationsEast team.

 

 

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Chelmsford Ideas Festival 2016

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It’s that time of year again. We are packing our notebooks, pencils and cameras for a series of editorial visits, as usual, to the Chelmsford Ideas Festival 2016.

22nd October till the 12th November 2016.

”The Chelmsford Ideas Festival aims to stimulate and inspire people through a set of innovative events, talks and workshops”.

With a much improved web site this year, you can find a range of activities and interests to stimulate the intellect across a variety of themes. Each category of event has its own diary section. See below for what might interest you most.

Arts  |  Heritage  | Kids  |  Technology  |  Your City  | Wellbeing  |  Food

You can see last years event article on conversationsEAST here. This year, 2016, the programme is diverse, inclusive and accessible.

To book individual workshops and events simply open the calendar entry on the web page to get full details of the event and how to book.


Highlights from the programme? We liked…

Rooted Art – Public Art Workshops   25th October, 2016   10.00 to 12.00

‘Let’s make history! Join Artist Nick Haydon (known for his large scale printmaking) and Artist Victoria Button in creating a massive historic mural in Chelmsford city centre, depicting stories of the city’s heritage. Funded by Essex County Council’.

See more about artists Victoria Button and Nick Haydon


We also liked…

Chat About the Old Days – 27th October and 27th November, 2016  – 14.00 to 16.30

‘Come along to this free session – enjoy a cup of tea/coffee and a cake for just £1 and join us in reminiscing about the ‘old days’. (Don’t forget: even teenagers have an ‘old days’ – what do you remember about times past?) 

Our idea is to have a jolly good nostalgic chat session over a cup of tea and then for some of the memories and stories that come out to form the basis of a new community artwork to be displayed at the Ideas Hub. Maybe it will be the start of a series of artworks…who knows?’

Organiser: Artist Max Dolding – see more here.


And also…

ESA’S COPERNICUS PROGRAMME: How is E2V protecting Planet earth?    24th October 19:00 – 21:00

‘Paul Jerram is Chief Engineer for Space Imaging at e2v, Chelmsford. Headquartered in Chelmsford, e2v is bringing life to technology and employs 1750 people globally. e2v partners with customers to provide world-class image sensors and detection subsystems that can help solve the mysteries of the Universe, understand climate change on Earth and much, much more…’

Event follows the Festival launch at Anglia Ruskin University.


The Ideas Festival Chelmsford,  22nd October till the 12th November 2016, is certainly now a premier intellectual and cultural landmark in the regional festival landscape. Visit the web site and book to join in the work. You will not be disappointed.

See the Festival full contact details here.

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The North as Digital Powerhouse…

 The North as a digital, innovative powerhouse for change and growth…

 

The great Northern Powerhouse concept has it’s detractors, as well as those who warmly embrace vast spendiing on infrastructure projects betwixt North and South. The whole designed to energise a swathe of our country, and its economic and social infrastructure, at a stroke.

Larry Elliot, writing recently in The Guardian, declares that the Centre for Cities think tank has the right view and that George Osborne is wrong. Namely that investment is needed in cities and conurbations ‘North of Watford’ in order to achieve the right mix of enterprise, social energy and innovation.

In his article Elliot looks at the productivity and infrastructure links between several Randstadt and Rhine-Ruhr cities. Already much more productive than similar cities in the North of England, he argues, the real difference is that investment has been made in the cities, not between them.

Whether transport, high speed internet or enterprise culture are stimulated, the key difference on the Ruhr/Randstat axis is the level of skills available to feed growth in research, output and market identification, he argues.

A new RSA report argues ‘… for a departure from the usual way of ‘doing tech’, where digital businesses operate in siloes, often untethered from the places in which they operate. It is within the North’s gift to forge a different path…’

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View, print or download this report here…pdf

It is this focus on the sub-region, on the drivers of city based innovation, that when aggregated as evidence creates a new paradigm of achievement for the wider region. The sweeping gesture, the Osborneian grand statement, is proven only by examining the microeconomic context of the city regions as an ensemble, we would argue.

In this new report from the RSA (.pdf), Benedict Dellot et al approach the North of England with this city hinterland and regional sectoral analysis in mind.

The new work, Digital Powerhouse (.pdf), uses the digital economy of the north of England as both metaphor and research instance to examine and make suggestions for development. The findings are striking…

‘…the North’s digital economy is creating jobs at ten time the rate of the region’s non-digital sectors. In the last five years the productivity of the digital economy grew by 11.3%. The figure was 2.5% for the non-digital economy’.  Source: Infographic, p.2 of Digital Powerhouse

The DIgital Powerhouse report makes fourteen profound recommendations to capitalise on the digital premium recognised in the North of England.

These range from the creation of a ‘Procurement Powerhouse’ social enterprise to link tech businesses with public sector procurement processes. An adjunct to this suggestion is a move to persuade public sector commissioners and buyers to declare a ‘problem based’ commissioning approach, affording opportunities for innovators and researchers in the tech sphere to be just that, innovative, in order to get a seat at the table of ‘government spend’.

Similarly Dellot et al call for a new ‘contract portal’,  suggested to bring together opportunities to supply both the public and private sectors with tech innovation. Also on the supply side, the report suggests the championing of ‘tech co-operatives’ in the North. Striving to achieve critical mass and drive to market by tech innovators in the North, through closer co-operation and affiliation.

The regional recommendation aspect of the report make it easy to argue that this research could be the basis of a meta-development framework of policy and practice for any region with growing technology sectors. North or South.

As Eileen Burbidge, Chair of Tech City UK says in the report ‘…this report shines a brilliant light on all the assets and opportunities already underway which serve as a foundation for the growth of the new Digital Northern Powerhouse‘. Source: Burbidge, introduction: p.5 Digital Powerhouse

You can see a fuller RSA narrative on their web pages here. This report is freely available to all on the web.

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Making Space for people and technology

Benedict Dellot of The RSA has recently authored a new report on the growing phenomenom of Maker Spaces. There’s one near you…did you know?

The report defines MakerSpaces as ‘…open access workshops, hosting a variety of tools, from 3D printers and laser cutters through to sewing machines and soldering irons’.

These unique spaces attract hackers, roboticists, traditional engineering and technical enthusiasts, along with a variety of arts and craft specialists. There is something of a William Morris, Arts and Crafts revolutionary aspect to their public face. Offering as they do, spaces for making and experimentation in a collaborative and supportive atmosphere.

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See more here…pdf

Morris would have it that you should ‘…have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful’. Perhaps in the 21st Century, in a MakerSpace context, their motto should be ‘…beautiful, useful and technically collaborative’. (…great sign over every MakerSpace door?…Ed.)

As part of the RSA report (Ours to Master…)a survey finds that people, when asked, express an interest in Maker philosophy and practice, and would be interested in accessing such facilities. The survey found…

  • 26 percent of people regularly make things for their own use, 49 percent fix things that are broken and 21 percent modify products to better suit their own needs
  • 57 percent would like to learn how to make more things they and their families could use
  • 61 percent would like to have a better understanding of how the things they use work
  • 78 percent think our society is too materialistic and our economy too dependent on consumption
  • 43 percent often feel confused by the pace of technological change and struggle to keep up
  • 24 percent would be interested in using a makerspace in the future

You can read more about MakerSpaces on the pages of The RSA. here. (The report is freely accessible to all).

Maker Spaces in the East of England?

Ipswich Makerspace:

‘Ipswich Makerspace is a Suffolk based group of like minded makers who get together to learn, build and experiment with a huge variety of hardware, software, and technology in general’.      (Source: Ipswich Makerspace, December 2015)   See more here.

Chelmsford Makerspace:

‘Chelmsford Makerspace is a non-profit, community of makers in Chelmsford. We are a group of makers and hackers that get together to share tools and knowledge’. (Source: Chelmsford Makerspace, December 2015). See more here…

Colchester Makerspace:

‘We are developing a maker workshop offering affordable access to basic equipment such as workbenches, pillar drills, soldering irons, sewing machines and saws etc’. (Source: Colchester Makerspace, December 2015). See more here…

Cambridge Makespace:

‘Makespace is a community workshop in Cambridge for making and fixing things, meeting people, working on projects and sharing skills’. (Source: Cambridge Makespace, Decembre 2015). See more here…

Hitchin Hackspace:

‘Hitchin Hackspace is a community organisation devoted to providing everyone with a place to explore all kinds of creative technologies and crafts’. (Source: Hitchin Hacspace, December 2015). See more here…


Thank you to Benedict Dellot for another interesting and cutting edge report. It is interesting to see old concepts of craft and sharing being developed in contemporary communities, to deliver accessible, technology related products and learning. ‘Social engineering’ in its purest form perhaps?

We are surprised, in our brief survey of MakerSpaces in the East, to find no representative group for Norwich. If you know of one, use our contact form and let us know. We’ll run a supplementary piece to spread the word about them, if we missed an opportunity to do so here. Happy making! Ed.

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The Programming Historian

Developing our on-line toolkit…

Here at conversationsEAST we are humanists, who work in web publishing with tools and techniques, more often than not devised by others, to create workflows that allow us to share a range of knowledge and experiences with others.

Imagine our delight when the economic historians and project writers in our office  discovered The Programming Historian.

‘The Programming Historian is an online, open-access, peer-reviewed suite of tutorials that help humanists learn a wide range of digital tools, techniques, and workflows to facilitate their research’.

If you are interested in big data, the humanities, research and have but a passing acquaintance with ‘code’, then this is a great bookmark to preserve.

The Programming Historian contains principles and techniques across a range of disciplines and thematic approaches to digital data manipulation and publishing…

‘Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), Data Management, Data Manipulation, Distant Reading, Mapping and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Network Analysis, Digital Exhibit Building, Programming, and Web Scraping. Our tutorials include nearly a dozen lessons on popular DH tools such as MALLET, Omeka, and QGIS’.

The resources available are all Open Source and are published under a Creative Commons license. They are published to the Gold Open Access Standards and are fully compliant with HEFCE publishing requirements for scholars in the UK.

The portal is a volunteer project and is supported from the Rosenzweig Centre for New Media at the University of New Mexico.

‘This project is an attempt to demonstrate what open access academic publishing can and should be. Please tell your librarian to include the project in your library catalogue’.

We have added it to the conversationsEAST digital toolkit management list for future use.

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Open TED
– share your idea!

 Letting the imagination loose…

What a reservoir of intellectual curiosity and intelligent thought the TED Talks web site is. We would all aspire to be on that stage, in any city across the world, to deliver our magnum opus in those eighteen minutes or less.

Well, some of us would, we suspect?

Well now you can. TED have just called for video submissions for OpenTED, a new initiative that offers all, that is everyone, the chance to vent their idea to the world.

You have, in this case, just six minutes or less to give the world your idea. It might be a new social movement, political idea, artistic initiative or just a personal reflection on an aspect of your life.

Below is a contribution from the performer Tanya Davis, with the filming expertise and technology provided by film-maker Andrea Dorfman.

It is a poem and filmic art, about being alone. It is also a collaboration, to express the idea or commentary using a range of skills. Working together with others to express your idea.

You have until October 15th, 2015 to submit your video idea. It must be a video contribution, of course. It might be…

‘…an idea might offer a new, bold, big-picture way of looking at the world: a broad call for tolerance, a flipped view of human behavior, a breakthrough in the lab that will change our lives. Or it could offer a new way of thinking at micro scale — a new take on a small behavior we do every day, or a new way to get through the workday’. Source: OpenTEd

A small, personal idea, or big statement about an aspect of your life or community. The TED idea democratised. Now there’s an idea worth spreading.

interneticon  You can find the OpenTED small print here.

interneticon  Revisit the TED main web pages here for inspiration.

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A Digital Toolkit,
for the Arts?

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See your copy here…

Making Digital Work – A digital toolkit for Arts and Culture is one of the latest publications available from The Digital R&D Fund for the Arts.

This is a stunning piece of work, encapsulating business modelling, ideas curation and potentiality for delivery , route mapping and success measurement – all through the meta-filter of the arts and culture agenda.

The toolkit is not a complex piece, nor is it exhaustive, but it does contain processes which any arts focused project can use to identify new opportunities, to plan the business case for the digital work, focus on audience and user value, collaborate, design, build and engage, then evaluate and share.

Simple and effective solutions to arts project planning and delivery in the digital domain.

interneticon You can view the full document or download sections here…

‘The arts sector is fizzing with ideas and creative ambition. Large and small organisations are using digital technologies to deliver dazzling online experiences linked to live events, useful services for learners, interactive displays in physical spaces and so much more’. Source: The Concept – Digital Toolkit

Whether developing the concept in mind with the Six Hats methodology or taking a more mainstream approach to idea development by using the Business Model Canvas, then the toolkit from The Digital R&D Fund for the Arts offers plenty of opportunity to use the techniques best suited to your management team, volunteers or funders.

We like the Business Model Canvas. Using it with our Third Sector clients is a good way to encapsulate the business argument and key considerations for the community enterprise. You can see an example on www.enterprisingcommunities.today here.

Using it here, in the arts and culture context, the main headings have been adjusted to include clarity of thought in the project overview, sales and marketing, operations and resources, staff and management…and finance too.

Contemplating a digital arts or cultural project then the web lends itself to testing, data collection, evaluation and storytelling derived from a completed project. The digital toolkit contains much that is useful in using and shaping output from new media and new technology, within the context of arts delivery.

We recently wrote, on our Communications EAST Toolkit page about The Growthverse, a very useful web service that can help you decide upon and plan deployment of your new media, user relationships and feedback methodologies. We commend it to arts professionals too. Although it is intended for tech start-ups, there is insight to be gained from exploring it, we would argue.

In summation, this is the toolkit for arts and culture in the digital age, bar none. The closing pages contain useful links, not only to the Digtal R&D Fund, but also to the Nesta Creative Enterprise toolkit, a variety of digital capacity resources from the Arts Council and the Design Council Guide to Design.

If you are a practitioner…connect to the internet and diary some laptop time, you will need it.

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Have you been to a Type 1 Discovery Day?

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Discover JDRF here…

To Ipswich on Saturday 27th June, 2015 with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

A Type 1 Discovery Day.

JDRF, as a registered charity No: 295716, delivered a day of great science and support to parents, carers and children whose lives have been touched by Type 1 Diabetes.

The event was held in the Waterfront Building at UCS in Ipswich, with the visitors able to get to understand Type 1 better, but also to meet the enthusiastic, caring and knowledgeable team from JDRF.

The younger children were catered for in a separate area of the University, just down the corridor in an adjacent room. They were entertained, energised and informed by the team from Mad Science. A great way, in a superb learning setting, to free parents and carers to concentrate on the business of the day in the University auditorium. (A great idea we thought – Ed.)

’Community calls’ for help – from across our region…

Keynote speakers on the day:

Dr. Martin Tauschmann of Addenbrookes Hospital was in attendance to give the audience up to date news and information on the Artificial Pancreas Project.

A key part of Dr. Tauschmann’s exposition was that ‘…the closed loop is on its way’. He went on to illustrate the changes in technology and equipment which has, in very short time revolutionised both take up and delivery of insulin to patients in an automatic or semi-automatic fashion.

Five years of intense clinical research has resulted in test equipment which makes decisions for the patient every 12 minutes, adapting and measuring doseage to suit the persons ongoing status.

Research, like that funded across the JDRF spectrum of activity has several aims. They are ‘…to achieve, for the person concerned, reassurance, peace of mind, confidence, safety, better control and the ability to feel much better in the first half of the day’.

Dr. Tauschmann stressed how important funding from JDRF was, given the long lead times from pure research to delivery of a finished product, in terms of new pumps and e-control mechanisms for them. Each study taking some five months to appraise, with another six to twelve months for completion and publication.

(It was at this point we wanted a representative of the Google Foundation, the Android development team or Apple, to burst into the auditorium to announce a new development partnership with Addenbrookes and JDRF. Using smartphone technology and manufacturing expertise to help close the loop very quickly indeed…Ed?).

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The sun shone on parents, carers, children and Ipswich…

John Hassler-Hurst and Dr. Gerry Rayman of the Ipswich Diabetes Research Team at Ipswich Hosital gave an informative and well illustrated talk on the depth of research, innovatory approaches and inclusions to practice of a national nature which had all been fostered at Ipswich hospital.

In 1985 the Ipswich team were the first to attempt to discover if a dedicated Centre for Diabetes had utility as a resource. A self evident truth held by all now. The team at Ipswich are part of a research energy which exceeds any other District General Hospital in the UK.

They have broken ground in several key areas of care and research we were told. ‘In technology, education, kidney function and eye disease’.

Jahn Hassler-Hunt, the lead Paediatric Research Nurse for the Ipswich team completed the presentation by giving the audience a very detailed analysis of the most recent and current research areas.

From the effect of Interleukin 2, to the enhanced clinical outcomes which can now be expected, how very young children can be included in research methodologies and how Centres, such as Ipswich, can offer seamless access to research and care provision right through to adulthood.  A very important part of process for children and young people on their health journey.

The event was rounded off by a JDRF volunteer, Kevin Black, who is a public speaker of some proficiency and humour. Kevin gave us details of not only his own contribution to the work of JDRF and how this has supported his own family, but also illustrated forthcoming JDRF events which everyone can take part in. (We offer details of some below…) We enjoyed his talk and it left us uplifted.


 

Forthcoming JDRF events:

London Bridges – One Walk  Sunday 27th September, 2015.   See more here…

Cambridge Coffee Morning  Girton College  Friday 2nd October 2015 at 10.30am  See more details here…


This was a stimulating and informative event, for those attending and those with an interest in finding out more about how to support the work of JDRF.

If you have someone in your life touched by Type 1 then getting involved with the charity as a volunteer or a donor is a great way to support the work, the research and quality outcomes for children and young people.

phoneIconYou can make contact with JDRF in the East of England here on their web pages.

phoneIconYou can donate on-line anytime here.


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