Coding in school – are we ready?

Minister Bruton asks NCCA to consider coding in schools. And there is the first problem. When a minister asks for something he might as well have whistled the ask in morse code as nobody is going to seriously implement a strategy from an ask.

The teachers can’t code. They will need to be trained. This will take years and most of the years will be dealing with austerity cuts that hits teachers pay and conditions. The youngest teachers, the ones most likely to code are to be employed on yellow pack contracts.

Coding lesson #1 How many Croke Park hours does it take to change a light bulb moment?

Where is the expert report? Surely the Minister has prepared a dossier on this “ask”. He has consulted with CoderDojo mentors and its founder James Whelton, he has flown out to meet the Collison brothers and sourced comments from experts from science and industry to deliver the report that can’t be ignored. There is a report right?

The schools are fully equipped with up to date equipment to begin this training? While CoderDojo parents know that you must provide a laptop and that the session isn’t a baby sitting service, so too the schools know that the 6 PCs in the “computer room” that have Windows 98 installed (we think) will not be suitable for a curriculum wide roll out. While CoderDojo parents can provide PCs, a large majority of parents can’t.

While mentioning parents, they too need upskilling. If the kids are going to be coding then parents need to appreciate and understand and take some ownership for fostering this movement at home.

Mothers and Daughters. If this is to succeed then the 51% of population that are female must be on board. the scheme needs to insure that it’s mother board and daughter board and NOT mother bored and daughter bored.

The minister should be writing to the CEOs of the tax holidaying multinationals to advise them how they too can help in this endeavour. While they enjoy low to no tax status their future workforce needs education. Tax the companies accordingly and avoid gifts of hardware that will date in jig time.

Finally this will all be supported at a national level. Like the BBC Micro in 1981 and the BBC micro::bit in 2015, there needs to be a bottom up as well as a top down pincer movement to enthuse the kids and their parents that the only show NOT in town becomes the only show in town.

32bit Eire should be upgraded to 64bit Eire. Let the serious games begin.

Oh and Fine Gael you should appoint Ciaran Cannon TD to oversee this all gets done.

why I hate Outlook

I have always hated outlook. but from time to time I am forced to use it to test, counter-test, and due to policy at workplaces I have been. Why do I hate it so much?

I have an in built dislike to it. Some of the reasons I hate it from way back when I have forgotten, but I hadn’t forgotten I hate it.

I grew up on Eudora & Pegasus Mail, they served me well until Gmail happened. Outlook or as I call it “LookOut” has always been nearby for testing scenarios for clients who present problems with mail which are usually less to do with me and more to do with their reliance on Outlook and their inability to use it correctly.

So now I am using it again and I hate. Here are an unexhaustive set of reasons.

1. the separation of email addresses with semi colon not comma
2. its threading sucks
3. its reply feature fails, if I make a second reply to a thread I end up replying to myself not the first sender.
4. its search is crap.
5. you have to search sent & inbox separately
6. its compose is too rich for my liking
7/ it is feature bloated to the point you can find nothing

Still I must use it and hate it. Outlook Web App is an improvement on Outlook v14 (Client) but I wish I didn’t need either.

Coder Dojo coolest projects [live blog]

16:12 judging over. Everyone a winner for taking part. We are coder dojo. Well done all.

13:35 DCU bursting with ideas and people viewing. My daughter made a web app project

13:07 great projects on display here. Are you near DCU? Get down and see it.

12:21 DCU is buzzing with the sound of coolest projects being setup

Coolest projects begins at noon.

When Good Plugins Go Bad

Restricting the usage of Extensions

We have been talking about this for a while, but it is important to repeat. Limit your usage of extensions (or plugins), along with all other third party components, and only use from trusted sources. More importantly, only if you need the said functionality. The less plugins you have configured in your environment, the less chances you have to be caught in a similar situation. The last thing you want is to become part of a SPAM botnet.

via When Good Plugins Go Bad – SEO Spam on Joomla Websites | Sucuri Blog.

magic URL’s

what if URLs had no names and no dots and no com net or org?
well we wouldn’t remember them, unless we were good with numbers.

But for some Maths fun.

if you take the IP behind a domain name and compute
Octet 1 x 2563 + Octet 2 x 2562 + Octet 3 x 256 + Octet 4 = http://long_number
try it here with a javascript calculator

The long number url eg: http://2915181332 (from IP resolves!

Known to work in all good browsers since ~ 1994 🙂 FF & Chrome to name two.

Does not work with shared IP hosting, just the default website of a given IP.

by the way – happy tenth birthday WordPress.

Don’t lose Leap over it #rescuez @rescuez

Updated: 24/04/2012
Rescuez ID now 33% smaller with full colour design, hi-tack glue & laminated to last.
now avalable in beta from


This is a prototype sticker tag for a start-up providing critical information in an emergency, contacts for next of kin, and getting the things you most cherish back to you if you lose them. We’re Rebooting Emergency Identification.