Rob at Ron Dearing UTC

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Despite arriving a tiny bit late, I had a great time at the evening event at Ron Dearing UTC today. A whole bunch of folks came to see me to talk about technology and I showed off some Hull Pixelbots, my silly goggles and the prototype air quality sensor that we’re working on over at Connected Humber.

Of course, I totally forgot to take any pictures at the event. Silly me. That’s why there’s a rather splendid picture of Whitby pier at the top of this post instead of anything relevant to the night.

Anyhoo, I talked to a bunch of folks and gave out a bunch of advice. Summarised thusly (posh prose)

  • If you’re into computing, start playing with the Arduino device. It’s cheap to get started (much less than a video game) and extremely creative. Buy a Sintron Arduino kit (search ebay or Amazon for “Sintron Arduino” to see a selection of kits. The one that is around thirty pounds is good value. If you want to start cheaper, come along to a Connected Humber event (we have them on the first and third Thursday of the month at c4di starting at 6:00pm in the evening). We’ll sell you an Arduino and some hardware for five pounds and give you some things to do with it. You can find out more here.

  • Start learning about 3D design. Lots of people that I spoke to were already doing this. The ability to think in 3D will stand you in good stead whether you go into fields ranging from video games to product design. There are lots of free packages you can use, I quite like FreeCad, although it can be a brute to get to grips with. If you’re a programming type, take a look at OpenScad. If you want to use a free, professional level, tool take a look at Blender. It will really make your head hurt, but you can do awesome things with it. Take a look online for howto videos for these tools. If you don’t like the ones that you find, make some better ones of your own.

  • Which brings me to my third point. Lean to write and talk. When you start doing something, start writing about it too. Put your writings into a blog, a personal diary or a log. I don’t mind. The important thing is that you do this. I made the point lots of times that you can learn a good living, and have fun, as a programmer. But if you also have the ability to write well and are good at communicating your ideas this makes you much more useful and interesting to employers, getting you even more interesting and rewarding things to do. So you should work at getting those skills. Deliberately do things that take you out of your comfort zone. Practice talking to people (networking is a big part of success) and try to force yourself to speak in public. Trust me. It really pays off.

By the end of the evening my voice had just about worn out, as had the batteries in the robots. But it was great fun. And then I went home and had bananas and custard for supper. Such fun.

Humber Street Gallery: Measures for Life

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The Humber Street Gallery has a splendid new exhibition on at the moment. It runs until the end of September. On the ground floor they've got some neat little devices but further upstairs they've got this awesome cityscape made up of computer circuit boards and lights. It's constantly changing and just looks amazing. I've tried to take some pictures of it, but I've not really done it justice. 

The exhibition is free, and there are loads of lovely places to eat or grab a coffee in the Humber Street area too. 

Hull Minster is Awesome

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I was really pleased when they made Hull Trinity Church into a minster last year. It hasn't made the building any more beautiful, but it does give it the status it richly deserves.

They've done a lot of work on the building inside too, removing pews and really opening up the space. That, plus the renaissance of Hull Trinity Market (definitely worth a look) makes this part of the town a must-see. 

Hull "Cheese Grater"

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They're installing a new piece of artwork in Queen's Gardens. It's an intriguing structure of laser-cut steel, welded together and painted white. It looks really good and it casts really nice shadows. I'm not sure of the proper name for it, but us locals have started calling it the "Cheese Grater". I took some pictures of it today, Rather nice.

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I just hope they can stop birds from building nests in it. Then again, that might be part of the art. 

Hull Architecture

I must admit that I've never really thought of a place like Hull as having architecture. It's just got lots of nice buildings.

However, I've found out a lot more about the area from this book, which even told me who designed the place I'd spent nearly 40 years of my life working in at the university.

This version was published in 2010, which means that it was just in time to be able to give the low down on places like The Deep.

It's a great reference and even has guided walks around the city. If you're coming to Hull for something City of Culture related, and you want a well written, well researched and good to read guide to where we live then it is well worth a look. 

Hull Looks Great

Every now and then I take a picture that I'm really, really, pleased with. This is one of them. I took it today wandering round the waterfront in Hull. This is fast becoming one of my favourite places. The Fruit Market is coming along a treat and interesting cafes and shops are springing up. It's a pity you have to cross the A63 to get to this part of town, but it's well worth a few seconds waiting at a pedestrian crossing. 

I took a few more pictures that I'm happy with. You can find them here

Lunch at Thieving Harrys

While I was up town yesterday I wandered past Theiving Harry's, a place I've always fancied visiting. Today, with some unseasonably nice weather we headed up town again and had lunch there. And it was great. We were sitting upstairs, with a view across the waterfront. The food was splendid and the ambiance was lovely. There is a great feel to the place, the formica tables and hard working decor remind me strongly of Lowells in Pike Place, Seattle. 

Another go to place if you are a Hull student looking to impress visitors with your local knowledge. And you can wander over to the Oresome Gallery just across the way and buy some earrings after you have eaten. And if you are me, you can take some more pictures.

 I took a picture of this yesterday. What a difference a day makes...

I took a picture of this yesterday. What a difference a day makes...

 I never get tired of taking pictures of The Deep. 

I never get tired of taking pictures of The Deep. 

Hull Pics

 Please note that this picture was not taken while driving. As if.

Please note that this picture was not taken while driving. As if.

This is my first Saturday off for a few weeks, so we drove up town and had lunch at McCoys. New students, if you are looking for somewhere nice in the city centre to take mum and dad when they come and see you, well worth a visit. Great coffee and much more Hull authentic than Starbucks or Costa (although we've got those too).

My advice, try the Beef and Stilton sandwich. Number one wife likes the Tuna on noodles. And number one son pronounces the coffee as good, which means it must be great.

And I had time to take the camera, plus fat lens, around the waterfront.

 I don't think they ever fire this...

I don't think they ever fire this...

 You do get the most amazing skies this time of year.

You do get the most amazing skies this time of year.