Monthly Archives: September 2012

BCS Young Entrepreneurs Go4enterprise event

In July I spoke at Young Entrepreneurs Go4enterprise, a joint event organised by the BCS Entrepreneurs Specialist Group and the BCS Young Professionals Group (of which I am Chair).

The aim of this joint event was to look at how the BCS can support and encourage innovation and entrepreneurship, especially in the technology sector; unsurprisingly, I spoke about the educational aspects of the problem and how we must continue to fund (and leverage) the UK’s science and research base.

My talk is below; you can also watch the other speakers.


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The Pleasure of Finding Things Out

I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong. […] I don’t feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in the mysterious universe without having any purpose.

The Pleasure of Finding Things Out (1999)
Richard Feynman


(HT @mattischrome for the quote)

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Fractal food

Romanesco broccoli

Big whorls have little whorls
That feed on their velocity,
And little whorls have lesser whorls
And so on to viscosity.

Lewis Fry Richardson

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Tiny Transactions on Computer Science

Tiny Transactions on Computer Science (TinyToCS) is the premier venue for computer science research of 140 characters or less.

This is certainly an interesting concept: computer science research papers whose body fits into 140 characters, although the abstract may be longer (up to 250 words), plus references. However, the abstract is not allowed to elaborate on the result; see, for example, Safe Haskell. TinyToCS focuses on the sound bytes to draw readers in and convey key ideas, but provides background and references to those who want to dig deeper.

As per the Call for Papers and the Chairs’ Note in Volume 1, the creators hope that TinyToCS contributes to the growing discussion on academic publishing in the modern era. While similar initiatives using 140 characters have been used for science communication on Twitter, this is the first time I have seen a serious attempt at disseminating computer science research — it will be interesting to see how this project develops.

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Raspberry Pi: Made in Wales!

Today brought good news regarding the Raspberry Pi Revision 2.0: it is made in the UK! Or more specifically, in Wales: at the Sony UK Technology Centre in Pencoed, Bridgend.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation had always planned to manufacture in the UK, but last year had to make the decision to manufacture in China due to cost:

Last year, when nobody had heard of the Raspberry Pi, we had been unable to find a British manufacturer whose prices per unit (especially at a point where we were thinking of sales in the tens of thousands, not the hundreds of thousands you’re seeing now) would work for us, and who believed that the project would be enough of a success for them to risk line space for us. There was just no way to make the Raspberry Pi in the UK and keep the price at $25 for the Model A (which will be released before the end of the year at the promised price) and $35 for the Model B.

Happily, things change. After six months of negotiation, both Premier Farnell and Element14 will now move the bulk of their Raspberry Pi manufacturing to South Wales, with the initial contract seeing the Pencoed plant producing 30,000 Pis a month, creating around 30 new jobs.

The highlights of Revision 2.0 include the ability to power a Pi with a powered USB hub, a fix for an issue that caused problems when connected to TVs by HDMI, a new reset circuit, two mounting holes and “Made in the UK” etched into the PCB near the power jack (click on image below). Revision 2.0 has been coming off the Pencoed production line for the past few weeks, so they will have already started arriving in orders (I have two of the Revision 1.0 + ECN0001).

This is great news for the Raspberry Pi Foundation and great news for Wales.

Raspberry Pi Rev2

Credit: Homwer

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Wales Blog Awards 2012

Wales Blog Awards

Computing: The Science of Nearly Everything has been shortlisted for Best Technology Blog in the 2012 Wales Blog Awards, organised by Media Wales and Warwick Emanuel PR. It’s great to be shortlisted for this award, especially as I have only been blogging since April 2011. The judges will announce the winners of the ten categories at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in Cardiff on Thursday 20 September.

All shortlisted blogs are in the running for the People’s Choice Award, to let the public decide on their favourite blog. If you have enjoyed reading my blog over the past year or so, then please vote for me!

You can cast your vote here; voting for the People’s Choice Award will close at 5pm on Friday 14 September.

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