Friday, 28 September 2012

Another world opens up!

Just when I thought I was doing really well having built a web site with Google's sites application - see One of my trusted advisor's introduced me to Drupal. Having just returned from Brussels it sounded an bit like a Belgian beer so had to be tried out. This is professional web site development made easy - and open source - i.e. free - which is critical to getting a high score on my marking scheme.

Check out the link to the Drupal site

Its a little bit more involved than Google site building - though Google also hosts your site for you - free - which is another major plus - but the URL you get assigned isn't so memorable. I don't really care about such niceties though.

Sitting with someone who knew what they were doing Drupal enabled the building of a brand new professionally looking site in literally a couple of hours.

I believed you had to be crashing out HTML for months to get a site up and running. Technology, who'd have thought it!

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Speed test.

Spent this week at the Innotrans premier rail conference in Berlin, which has meant limited time for any extra-curricula computing nerdery but I did test something which turned out to be a bit of a shock.

Some of the stands at this event were works of art - and some were almost the size of small towns, complete with coffee shop, bar, bleacher seating and live entertainment. God knows how much these things cost but they are well received by the attendee's. Anyway a thought came to me while wandering around - there should be a competition for the best stand. To the best of my knowledge there wasn't an official one organised - would probably be far to much effort and just end up cheesing off some stand owners. So I thought I would do my own and try and record it using my new found social media tool set!

Before I go any further I must point out that this survey was NOT scientific in ANY way - entrants were selected simple along my timeline through the event and purely based on my personal 'gut' reaction at the time of passing the stand.

So the plan was, to photograph stands as I wandered around, then select a stand for an award base upon what I had come across. Photo's and award were then Tweeted to #innotrans and then later Storified into an award ceremony in a Storify story! The whole process probably only took me say 5 minutes per award to manage. The compiled and 'published' award ceremony can be fond on the following link;

Well the strange thing was that I started off doing this as a bit of fun and to see if I could generate some 'e-traffic'. Fortunately I kept the awards 'sensible' and 'clean'  - could have taken a completely different route for some of the stands if I had been so inclined believe you me.

Anyway, the 'award ceremony' was carried out on the last day with me Tweeting the final winners and then the link to the Storify site. All done from the Innotrans business lounge - fitting for an award ceremony I thought (what a great place - free wifi and all that). The shocking thing was that within seconds the story had been re-tweeted by @EURAILmag, @OfficialHitachi, @thalesgroup and @LR_Rail to over 6000 potential readers! Only slight panic set in  - until very positive comments came back - phew!

Quite a buzz!

Friday, 14 September 2012


OK so I've not taken the time to check out some of the web programming tools so far. Too busy trying to get back into the swing or real computing! But got a flea in the ear from one of my trusted advisor's - the Lancaster computing one - and was 'advised' to check out a site called as I was asking some dumb questions on web page design.

Anyway - I did just that one spare lunchtime - what a revelation!

HTML looks just like the old WordStar editor I used to use. Shock, horror, a scripting language Ctrl-B and all that. Well at least I could see myself getting my head around the simple formatting elements of the language. Nothing new under the Sun eh?

So now the situation is 'Cloud computing' looks a lot like an old mainframe setup and HTML turns out to be an old editor. There is hope yet for us ancients!

The w3schools site is pretty useful for all those questions you wanted to ask about the multitude of languages but couldn't be bothered, I'm sure to be using it again!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Information overload ....

This week has been more of a maintenance and upgrade week on the revival path. I am advancing to next level on the computing and social networking fronts.

On the networking front I have discovered Tweetdeck - why didn't someone tell me about this before! This is the dashboard of dashboards that blows your mind with all the information that can be displayed. No doubt our Human Factors team would tell me off for my set-up  - cognitive block and all that. But wow it definitely gives you the feel that you are looking into the networks you have set up. Its also free!!

On the serious computing front I have re-energised the ROBFIT GitHub repo by uploading the next routine BREAD.FOR that is used for reading the raw data - so not that stunning but essential! I have also discovered that you can link GitHub to your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is becoming more useful by the day at this rate - could well become the spoke at the centre of all my various meanderings across the web.

Data dump - information reset ....