First aim for 2015: Drink more

…. water.

Over the last few years I realised that I have drunk more and more coffee and tea, due to working in an office environment. This has significantly increased my caffeine intake.

This has also increased, in the last year, because the office has used a 12 cup coffee percolator. This has meant that making coffee is far easier and quicker, with it being ‘on tap’ once made in the morning.

My decision meant that I needed to have water in the office, several water bottles now offer some filtration within the bottle. I decided on the Brita Fill and Go, due to the cost/lifetime of the filters and the aesthetics of the bottle. So far (this week) I have drunk at least 4 of these bottles each day.

So far there are no noticeable changes, apart from the added walking to the staff room to fill the bottle. I expect to notice some changes in the next few weeks.

2014 “A Year in Review”

This year has been interesting, with changes within work and the approach of the last year of my Degree it all seems to be getting real quite quickly. I feel that the challenges have been met.

This blog had only really had updates in the beginning part of the year, with work commitments and uni work drawing my focus as the last 6 months. Further to these I have also been more active with the Band of the Royal British Legion being part of a large event to mark the centenary of the start of World War 1, as well as a big concert in Christchurch Priory as part of the Festival of Remembrance.

As well as these events I have also had the good fortune to visit more of the world this year, although only over a stretch of water. I visited Dublin, as well as trips out to the surrounding areas, including some of Northern Ireland such as the Giants Causeway. There were no trips away with the band this year, however we have planned a return visit to the Menin Gate for Easter next year.

This is by no means the limit of my 2014, but like Facebook, it includes some of the headlines.

I hope that this year has brought you everything you needed, and so wish you good fortune for the year to come.

It’s been a great year! Thanks for being part of it.

Happy 2015!

Doctor Who – Series 8, Episode 1: Deep Breath

The first episode to feature Peter Capaldi fully aired last night, although some may be worried how the older lead would carry the mantle of ‘The Doctor’ he did not disappoint.

The writing and green-screen technology left a lot to be desired. With the budget seemed to have gone on half a robotic face, as the dinosaur featured being lifted from “Walking with Dinosaurs” and placed into ‘Victorian London’. The writing seemed to only focus on the age (and such the hair color) of the lead and the fact that, unlike David Tennant, he was not hiding his Scottish accent. Also eyebrows are important now.

Good Point

  • Capaldi – seems to be good as the confused Doctor.
  • Coleman – haven’t lost her yet, which could have been very possible (for the impossible girl).
  • We have entered the start of a new over arching storyline.

Bad Points

  • Writing
  • Basic CGI (Greenscreen)
  • Focused on the main issues that fans raised and not much else.
  • Used the ‘Now I can see you’ reference (one step away from the famous scene from Hook)

Scene from Hook, with Robin Williams

RBL Band Website

Website update.

Having initially updated the basic design I decided to utilse the Search Engine Optimisation and other features offered by a WordPress instillation. This was a new challenge for me as I had not set one up ‘from scratch’ before, only using the hosting installers. This went without issue and, after transferring the content over from the original HTML site, I was ready to launch this.


The design uses the colours as discussed previously, around the Sukelius Magazine theme. Many different events are listed on here, as well as different pages ported from the original site such as upcoming events and the gallery.

Much of the print media that is designed for the events are also published on the home page, for the next upcoming events.

 Band of the Royal British Legion Christchurch Website

Model RC Helecopter review: Syma 2nd Edition S107

Having my birthday approach at the beginning of the month I decided on a present for my self. I had looked at a lot of the different models of helicopters at different prices. I had previously also had a ‘copter without a gyroscope, which didn’t fill me with confidence, but I thought I should try.

Looking on Amazon I decided upon the Syma (2nd Edition) S107 as it seemed to be a middle ground between price and ‘complexity’. On arrival this was defiantly a good decision, having flown it around my house with minimal casualties, but the cat didn’t like it much.

My colleague also asked to get one for him, so now we can have helicopter battles over the summer.

Summer Work

Well summer is well and truly upon us, both in the school calendar and temperature. With the spreadsheet of jobs mostly finished its time to begin ticking them off. Most of the jobs this year are more maintenance tasks as opposed to massive computer room overhauls, as we have already upgraded 2 suites in the Easter break.

This time it is a chance for us to sort our kit out, to freshen up for the next years’ work and prepare, both in setting (by tidying up the office and server rooms) and in person. So that we can start the year afresh, as we mean to go on.

Here’s to a productive yet refreshing summer.


Mapping for Duke of Edinburgh

Over the years I have helped out with several DofE events, my comprehensive training background with the Air Training Corps meant that I have several skills that are desirable on these trips.

One thing that I was keen to put in place was a retention of the routes or walks that the students completed over their expeditions, as most of these are ‘lost’ after the event. Therefore I have begun to create maps using my knowledge of Photoshop (mainly the layers) with each groups days separated on a layer. Their checkpoints and ETAs (estimated time of arrival) is also noted so that it can easily be seen, as below.

EDINA SchoolsRaster25k MapI was able to use these to superimpose each groups’ route on the other, so develop a layer of all the possibly routes of the days. This was useful when discussing with members of staff where to meet the participants. And as a reference for the assessors that we helping us on the final expedition.

Having already emailed these to the students to include in their online evidence I intend to save these on the DofE area within the VLE, so that other participants can use these as reference and guides in years to come.

Frog Community

The VLE used at work is Frog (now Frog3 looking towards FrogLearn). A new style of community site has been set up with Matt Foulds leading this. It includes the forum function as well as knowledge base articles and release notes.

My intention is to be an active member within these forums and hopefully help out with other issues, as well as sharing idea. These will possibly be adding onto this site in the coming months too.

FutureLearn – The end

Title sounds very final, but the truth is that I have (very nearly) finished the FutureLearn course ‘Teaching computing: part 1′ with the second part starting in a few months. I am very pleased with how this Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) has gone, and I have been browsing the other courses on offer (I may or may not have signed up for 2 already).

I really enjoyed the community aspects of talking with other professionals and using the discussions that this crates to make the comments section more interesting. The course has taught me lots about how to transfer my gained knowledge to others.


Started the first week of ‘Teaching Computing: Part 1′ from the University of East Anglia.

So far I am carrying on though it along side the BA LTT degree that I am doing at the same time. However this is the first week (of both) so I have decided to split the learning through days of the week, especially when I have other pulls on my time. Playing in the Christchurch RBL takes up my Tuesday evening, as well as time at the weekends throughout the year, but there is a small section of time that i was not using as best I could. Between finishing work (4pm ish) and going to the legion I plan to complete all the FutureLearn modules.

I will be keeping this blog updated with the beginings of both BA LTT and FutureLearn goodies, but for now I will leave you with the simplistic, clean and clear design from those at FL.

FutureLearn Layout