Archive for February, 2009

Visual Systems Journal Award Winners Announced

Visual Systems Journal have published the winners of the 2008 VSJ Reader Awards based on votes submitted on the VSJ website. Unusually these days, the VSJ survey the voting system is not based on a shortlist, but requires the participants to decide on the products or services based on their experience of using them. Long may that practice continue!

VSJ Award Winners Announced

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Saturday, February 28th, 2009 News Comments Off

IAP Spring Conference 2009

Details have been released by The Institution of Analysts and Programmers of the 2009 IAP Spring Conference. This year’s meeting will be based at the Museum in Docklands, close to Canary Wharf. Occupying a converted warehouse, its mix of galleries and function rooms will provide a comfortable and interesting venue for the IAP.

The event is open to members and non-members, and for details of the programme and list of speakers see IAP News. If you are interested in joining The Institution of Analysts and Programmers see the page How To Join

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009 General No Comments

British woman sails to world record

TechCo Training would like to congratulate a British sailor, 36-year-old Dee Caffari, who has become the first woman to sail solo and non-stop both ways around the world. She claimed the unique record today when she completed the Vendée Globe yacht race in her on her 60ft boat, Aviva.

She crossed the line off Les Sables d’Olonne, France, at 1.13pm to take sixth place in the race and complete a feat achieved by only four men – circumnavigating the globe with and against the prevailing currents and winds

The navigation station was the hub of all the activity below deck and where Dee used her electronic weather and sail charts to make all her tactical decisions. Dee used the computers at the navigation station to send pictures, diaries and video footage back to her support team watching her progress.

Click here to let Dee take you on a video tour of Aviva.

Monday, February 16th, 2009 General No Comments

Pledge a Blog for Ada Lovelace Day

Back in 2006, according to research sponsored by DTI, the number of women employed in IT related industries was worrying decline. The research, which benchmarked the UK against 33 countries, demonstrates that while the UK performs favourably for the total number of women in the workforce, the number of women employed in the IT sector has fallen to just 16%.

The report also revealed that women are under-represented in higher-skilled IT jobs, and dominate the lower-skilled and lower-paid areas of the industry. For example some 61 per cent of database assistants and 42 per cent of assemblers of electrical products are female, compared with only 20 per cent of ICT managers, and 12 per cent of IT strategy or planning professionals. There is no evidence that this trend has halted or reversed, and it is now time to do something about it.

Ada Lovelace, a 19th Century analytical programmer, is now helping to recruit women back into the profession with a proposed annual Ada Lovelace Day, on the 24th March.

“Ada Lovelace Day is an international day of blogging to draw attention to women excelling in technology. Women’s contributions often go unacknowledged, their innovations seldom mentioned, their faces rarely recognised,” says Suw Charman-Anderson, the tech-savvy media commentator proposing Lovelace Day. “We want you to tell the world about these unsung heroines. Whatever she does, whether she is a sys-admin or a tech entrepreneur, a programmer or a designer, developing software or hardware, a tech journalist or a tech consultant, we want to celebrate her achievements.”

The UK needs to understand that this is not a gender issue; we need to maintain a diverse workforce to stay competitive. If you think that women are underrepresented in technology join us on 24 March 2009 for Ada Lovelace Day. Click on Finding Ada, sign the pledge and write a blog entry about bringing women in technology to the fore.

If you don’t have a blog then contact us and we can get you started. It is easy, fun, and most importantly you can make a difference. Take action Contact Us Now!

Monday, February 16th, 2009 Blogs Comments Off

Try a freestyle training camp this summer

After you have finished that urgent project and posted the last minute customer changes live up to the website, you might like to think about where you will spend your holiday this summer. Of course you could queue at the airport with all the other beach wanabes clutching swimsuits and sun factor. Alternatively you might like to head off to the eternal snows of Europe’s glaciers to learn the gentle at of freestyle skiing.

While most of us spend our summers working on our tans, Jenny Jones, who won gold in the Winter X Games, a freesports version of the Olympics spends hers working on her freestyle skills at training camps on Europe’s glaciers or down in the southern hemisphere during their winter.

In this snowboarding article from Guardian Travel, Jenny picks out the best summer camps for women who want to stay on the slopes all year and improve their skills. If you are a complete beginner you can find training in the basic rules of riding kickers, rails and halfpipes. Or for the more adventrous there are Freeriding, Backcountry or custom courses which cater for Skiers and Snowboarders

For more information check out the Website of the Skiing and Snowboarding specialists McNab Snowsports . They offer Freestyle Performance clinics with 6 days of Freestyle coaching from top British Freestyle riders and Coaches.

You may still need the swimsuits and sun factor as, according to snowboarding champion Jenny from Bristol, the afternoons are all volleyball, bungee jumping, football or just the pub, and no one takes themselves too seriously.

Monday, February 16th, 2009 General, Leisure No Comments

IIS File Upload Problems

Last week a user reported a problem with a file upload on our Intranet which has otherwise performed flawlessly for years. They browsed to the file and selected it as normal, but when they clicked upload “nothing happened”. This is an in-house developed Content Management System, written in classic ASP, and the user is a competent content manager, so user issues did not seem likely. At first we suspected file permissions, as there had been some moving around of directories by system support, but this usually results in a 500 error to IE users with Friendly Errors turned on.

Eventually through perseverance by the user it was determined that files greater than 200 Kbytes would fail, but smaller files would upload OK. At last something to Google!

It turns out that by default Windows 2008 server limits file uploads to 200KB in size. To overcome this limit you must edit the ASP Setting as follows:

  1. Login to your server
  2. Open Up IIS Manager
  3. Click on ASP
  4. Expand the Limits properties
  5. Change the default 200KB for the helpfully named Maximum Requesting Entity Body Limit to the required value.

Once you have saved that change the upload limit will increase for all the websites on that server. Remember, if you are running clustered servers you need to increase this value on each server in the cluster.

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Friday, February 13th, 2009 IIS, Support No Comments

Facebook pay up in case settlement

According to the Guardian, Facebook have paid up to $65m – $20m cash and a 1.25m shares – to end a lawsuit in which Mark Zuckerberg, now its chief executive, was accused of stealing the idea for the social networking site from a company called ConnectU.

The case, brought against Zuckerberg by three former classmates, Divya Narendra and the brothers Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, had threatened to derail Facebook.

For more on this story click here to read the Guardian article

Thursday, February 12th, 2009 General No Comments

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

Although published back in the last century, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines provide a valuable resource for developers and web designers, and should be mandatory reading for all development teams, designers, business analysts, and anyone drawing up specifications.

The guidelines explain how to make Web content accessible to people with disabilities, but more importantly how make that content more available to all users, whatever user agent or browser they are using. Although developers are encouraged to use new technologies that solve problems, they should know how to make sure their pages still work with older browsers and people who choose to turn off features.

Recently I had cause to grateful for Guideline 6, which states “Ensure that pages featuring new technologies transform gracefully”. This encourages you to build sites that are accessible even when newer technologies are not supported or are turned off.

My gratitude was prompted because I had cause to access the Web from behind a corporate firewall, where security policy blocked all client side scripting. This wiped out JavaScript validation, on-click button handlers, clever Ajax page loader and anything except plain vanilla HTML. Fortunately the application I was using at the time still worked because it provided alternative ways to load, edit and save the data.

Sure it didn’t have the flashy stuff to automatically wrap my text in valid tags, but hey, hand coding HTML can be therapeutic!

Saturday, February 7th, 2009 Accessibility No Comments