Birmingham City University (BCU) Talk #3

bcuOn Friday I took a day off work to pop over to do my 3rd talk at Birmingham City University (BCU). This one was rather unfamiliar territory for me, because it was directed at the staff and was focussed on student employability…

During a previous discussion with Stuart Hutchison from BCU, he suggested I take the “Community” session I presented at the UKOUG Next Gen event, add in some information about graduate recruitment and Bob’s your uncle. Sounds fine, but what do I know about graduate employment? It’s 20+ years since I left university…

Luckily, the online community came to the rescue. I sent a bunch of emails out to friends, small companies and huge corporate types. Over the years I’ve built up a network of contacts all over the world who were happy to help me out directly, or put me in touch with people in their organisation that could. I’ve already sent out thank you emails, but I’d just like to take the opportunity to say a big thank you once again to everyone that helped me out!

As the session started, people introduced themselves and it became apparent that everyone in the room (except me) was in some way linked to student employment and career development. Needless to say, I suddenly felt completely out of my depth, incredibly nervous and needed a change of underwear! :) I introduced myself and made it very clear I was definitely not an expert in this subject, then proceeded to present the information I had gathered. It was meant to be about 60 minutes, but there was a lot of audience participation, so it ended up being more like 90 minutes. Despite my initial nerves, it went really well and was really good fun.

After the session I chatted with Professor Nick Morton, the Associate Dean (Student Experience) at BCU, and he was keen to get me involved in some of the other stuff they are doing, which also sounds like fun. After that I spent quite a long time chatting with Stuart. I will of course keep doing the technical stuff with his students.

I guess some of you may be wondering about my motivation for doing this stuff, especially the non-technical presentations. This isn’t a career move. I’m not being paid to do this. It’s good to try something different and stretch yourself. I’m not suggesting that technical presentations are easy, because they are not, but doing things like this take you out of your comfort zone and teach you a lot about the craft of presenting. I definitely feel this is making me a better presenter, which is a great confidence builder.

Cheers

Tim…

WordPress 4.2.2

wordpressAnother day, another WordPress release. I woke up this morning to see WordPress 4.2.2 has arrived. It’s common after a big release to get a bunch of quick fixes, so I expect to see a number of these over the next few weeks.

Downloads and changelog in the usual places, but you will probably find your auto-update has already installed it for you. :)

Cheers

Tim…

 

WordPress 4.2 “Powell” (and 4.1.3)

wordpressOvernight I got an auto-upgrade to WordPress 4.1.3 maintenance release and a notice telling me WordPress 4.2 “Powell” was released. The downloads are in the usual places, and of course available from the update screen in your blog.

The announcement page has a video explaining the new features, which seem to make it easier to repost other people’s content, where you would normally expect to just tweet a link. Not sure what I feel about this yet!

Happy upgrading.

Cheers

Tim…

Update: WordPress 4.2.1 came out today.

WordPress 4.1.2

WordPress 4.1.2wordpress has been released. It’s a security release and I’m guessing most of you will pick it up passively using the auto-update features, so it’s nothing to worry about too much.

You can read about the fixes in this release here.

I’ve just installed it on 5 separate installations and there were no dramas.

Cheers

Tim…

All Change : Responsive and mobile and all that jazz

If you’ve been near oracle-base.com recently you will see things have changed a bit…

The Main Website

For a couple of weeks I’ve been playing with Bootstrap and Font Awesome to make the main body of the website mobile friendly. Last night I got a bit bored so I decided to shift the whole site to the responsive mobile template so it’s a single look and feel regardless of the device.

Less than 5% of my traffic is from mobiles and tablets, so that wasn’t really the motivation for doing this. Over the years I’ve accumulated a whole bunch of crappy code to deal with specific situations and it was getting a little hard to manage the basic framework of the website. The switch to using Bootstrap meant I could effectively throw a whole bunch of my code away, making my life much easier. The main goal has been to keep everything plain and clean and minimize the amount of time I spend on maintenance. That leaves me more time to work on content, which is the important thing. The whole responsive thing was an added bonus.

It’s a work-in-progress. There are still some things to neaten up a little.

  • There are some pages that are “less responsive” than they should be. :)
  • I keep tweaking font sizes and colours.
  • I’ve got to sort out the main image in the navigation bar.

Overall, I’m relatively happy with it and it seems to work fine in the browsers I’ve tried (IE, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari) and the mobiles and tablets I’ve tried it on.

The Blog

I switched the blog to the “Twenty Fifteen” theme a few days ago. The old theme was getting a bit long in the tooth and required an ugly plugin to be make it mobile enabled.

I’m not totally happy with the “Twenty Fifteen” theme, but it will do until I find something I prefer. My main criteria is it has to be really plain. :)

Comments?

If anyone has any comments or suggestions I would be happy to hear them.

Cheers

Tim…

Updates:

  • Praveen : Mentioned the lack of direct links to the version-specific article pages. I missed them too, so I put them back in for larger browsers. On smaller devices they don’t show as they make the page look messy.
  • Frankly : Noticed the copy/paste was not working correctly. It turned formatted text into a single line and added a site URL on to it. This was down to an incorrect ShareThis.com setting for my sharing buttons. I flipped the switch and copy/paste is working again now.

UltraEdit v22.0

UltraEdit v22.0 has been released. You can see the new features here. For such a mature editor, it’s surprising when something new comes out that makes you take a step back. I think they’ve done just that in this release. The document map shows a miniaturized version of the page, making scrolling through large files really simple.

ultraedit22

I’m not sure if this is an idea they kicked from another editor, but this is the first time I’ve seen this and it’s really handy! Hopefully it will get added to the Linux and Mac versions soon.

Cheers

Tim…

Windows 10 : It’s like totally amazing and junk…

I decided I wanted to play with the newly released Spartan browser on Windows 10. Spartan comes with Windows 10 (build 10049), which does not have an ISO download available at the moment. So instead, I downloaded the x64 ISO image of Windows 10 (build 10041) and installed it on VirtualBox.

To get build 10049 you have to switch the Windows Update settings from “Slow” to “Fast”, which gives you access to the latests builds as soon as they are available.

Windows10UpdateFast

That done, Windows Update will then download build 10049, which is pretty much a full OS download again. Once rebooted, the OS auto-installs for ages, with a few reboots, but when it is done you are left with the latest Windows 10 build.

It boots to the desktop and feels quite similar to Windows 8.1. If you are interested in the latest start menu, here it is.

Windows10StartMenu

If I’m honest, I’ve never seen the Windows 8.1 start menu live. The Windows 8 menu was so bad I installed Classic Shell on the Windows 8 machines for my family. I’ve never removed it since the 8.1 upgrade. As a result, I don’t really know if this Windows 10 start menu is new or like the 8.1 menu. I would probably stick with this menu myself, knowing that Classic Shell is always available if it pisses me off. :)

Most importantly, THIS IS SPARTA(N)!

Windows10Spartan

Not surprisingly, it’s a just a browser and any site that sticks reasonably close to the standards will work fine.

So that was the fun bit. Now I’ve got to look at what this is going to break. I’m guessing Oracle Forms isn’t going to like it. :)

Cheers

Tim…

PS. Alex – By “and junk” I was not implying it is junk. Este Uimitor!

Update: Installed Oracle Database 12c on Windows 10 without any problems. Happy days!

Windows10Oracle12c

Cloud Storage Pricing for Home Use

I’ve just done a quick survey of cloud storage pricing for some of the popular providers. Times have certainly changed since I last looked at this. Depending on what you are looking for, each service has its own sweet spot, so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. All the prices are in GBP for a whole year based on today’s exchange rate and rounded up to the nearest pound. Check the pricing in your region, as this stuff varies, as does service availability by region. :)

Provider            Free          100G        1TB       10TB      Unlimited

Google Drive        15G           £16         £78
MS One Drive        15G           £24         £80*
DropBox              2G                       £79
Box                 10G           £84                             £132
Amazon Cloud Drive   5G           £32         £325
Hubic**             25G           £ 9                   £87

* Price based on buying an Office 365 license for a whole year, which comes with 1TB space.
** Thanks to Eric Grancher for pointing out this service.

Things of note.

  • If you just want a straight 1TB of space, then Google Drive comes out ahead.
  • If you are just paying for space, One Drive is way more expensive than Google Drive, but the Office 365 deal makes it look appealing.
  • If you think you need more than 1TB, then Box looks very interesting! Of course, you need to check what they mean by “unlimited”. :)
  • The Hubic prices are amazing! For the 10TB service your data is stored in 3 data centres in France.
  • Microsoft are rolling out unlimited storage for some US customers, but this is not available for me, so I’ve not included it.

As with everything, you have to check the T&Cs for fair use policies, maximum file sizes, bandwidth throttling, data jurisdiction etc.

Cheers

Tim…

Update: Someone tweeted this Top 5 comparison.