Sunday, 10 October 2010

Digitalrevolutions on a small family farm in the UK.

Update: The film is through to the final 5! Judging to take place on November 4th. Mischief night.
This is an entry for the digitalrevolutions competition, run by
Everyone join in, and lets get some good stuff out there for BCS to promote digital technology for all.
All we need now is ubiquitous access for all...

After I made the above film several people commented on youtube about the network which feeds our farm, its a community network supplying the valleys with a wifi broadband connection. There are other films about it on my youtube channel if anyone wants to look.

Part of the digitalrevolutions film was shown on national news on 27th October 2010. I think it is particularly apt that a film made to promote the benefits of digital technology was selected by the news reporter to demonstrate the growing digital divide. Thus digital technology was used to raise awareness of the growing digital divide, as our two main telcos replicate dual networks in urban areas and choose to ignore the more rural locations, aka the Final Third.
link to bbc report and short video
I was asked on Twitter what our plans for the future are. Well we keep trying to help others get connections, and yesterday I made another little video to show an afternoon's work doing site surveys to help another group further along - the kirkby exchange which their phones are connected to cannot supply them with internet other than dodgy dial up.
They can't get satellite because they are behind a big hill facing south, and mobile doesn't work well there either. Our tests yesterday proved we can get to them, and this is a short 2 minute film showing us trying...

This is a video of Barry, who is retired, and found that the internet has changed his life. Being online has opened up a whole new world for him:

A lady at the fair telling us how her grand daughter got her online, and all the benefits being online has brought her.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

My Dad

I was asked to write a blog post by Janet Davies about a tweet I tweeted earlier today. So here goes...
My Dad was one of the first businesses in the UK to use a computer. It was in the 70s, and it was a WANG. They got it all installed and working and it continued to be used until the next century when it was eventually replaced by windoze machines. The whole machine ran the company, bespoke software, full training and no thought needed by the operators. It Just Worked.
When my dad retired he got a bbc computer to enable him to do his work as a volunteer weather data collector. It was preprogrammed, he was shown how to use it, It Just Worked. He used it for about 5 years with no problems.
Then that little job ended, he moved home, and he bought a windoze 95 PC. He had microsoft works. He set up a database. A filing system. He learnt to use a mouse. He learnt word processing and how to print. He got dial up. He learnt email. A great deal of hassle, but he persevered, so did the family, and It worked eventually.
Then along came Office. Skype. Family moved abroad and dad needed to communicate with them.He got windoze 98, and a new version of ms works. He struggled with the change, but managed. Family sent rich text, cos they were on office. Eventually dad bit the bullet and got office...
then he spent months converting all the files from works into office format, and filed them. He backed them up on to floppies...
Times moved on, and along came broadband. Dad got that too, cos it meant he could see the family with a webcam. But first he needed xp. the pc he had wouldn't run xp, so he got another... and the learning went on. As fast as dad managed to learn something it all changed and he had to learn all over again. The files got bigger and so he got a cd burner, and backed up on cd. He then had to migrate all the floppy files onto CDs. Whilst doing this he found some works files that he had missed converting. He went back into works but couldn't remember how to work works. Nothing seemed to Work Anymore. It was all getting complicated.
He persevered. Bought a webcam. Nearly managed to get it to work, but he hadn't the bandwidth to do skype calls. He figured out how to record little videos for his grandchildren and put them on cds in snail mail.
Times moved on. Mum died. Googletalk appeared and his scattered family used that to keep in touch, watching for the little light to come on every morning so they knew he was ok.
He learnt how to cope, in the same way he had persevered and learnt how to cope with everything in his life. This man will never be beaten.
Anyway, I seem to have started this blog and not even written about what Janet asked for...

RT @janetedavis: Could you write a blog about this issue please? Perhaps even get your Dad to contribute some quotes?
Will finish this bit one day. Always something else pushing to be done on a farm and not enough hours in a day... soz Janet