Making Web Apps for Dining with Nerds

Flying the flag for Engerland. I especially like the balcony the top right hand corner with the Scotland flag. I think they’ll be rooting for Slovenia tomorrow….

If you are a student with nothing better to do because you have finished your term then this is the perfect time to pick up some new skills. One such skill (posh prose don’t you think) is writing web applications. You can get a great start (including 196 pages of well worked example text about building a Nerd Diner system) here:

At the moment the focus is on VS 2008, but I’m sure the content will be updated in due course, and all the fundamentals are the same. In fact the stuff is very interesting, particularly if you are wanting to host things like WordPress on your Windows system.

Making Games close to the Edge


Calling a start to the event in noisy style..

Andy Sithers of Microsoft and a few Hull students got mention in an article in this month’s Edge magazine about some recent 48 hour game development competitions.  This is where a bunch of teams are given a theme, 48 hours and a lot of pizza to make a game. XNA is a brilliant tool to use for  this kind of thing, and Microsoft set up a couple of competitions this year.

Some students from Hull took part and while they didn’t win anything this year (having got a “Cheesiest Game” award last time) they did have a great time. I’d love to take part in one of these one day.

“Hello Silverlight” Book from Manning Publications


I’ve been lucky enough to get hold of an early copy of this book. If you are new to Silverlight and want to find out more this will tell you in a very nicely written way. It even has cartoons that are both funny and relevant – which is great. I strongly recommend it.

The book isn’t finished yet, but you can download and read the early chapters and even send comments back to the author. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on a proper printed copy when it comes out.

Read “Bad Science”

I was talking to some folks today and they told me they had not read “Bad Science”. They should. There are some books that everyone should read, and this is one of them. It does a great job of getting you to think properly about stuff you see in the papers, and things that advertisers tell you. It makes warning bells come on in your head when you hear things like “Studies show…” and “90% of women prefer….”.


Windows 7 Upgrades for MSDN AA Students

Humber Bridge Christian Aid Walk Red Car

This is a tip for students who are lucky enough to study at places that have Microsoft Academic Alliance set up. These students have access to free copies of Windows 7 which may well be better than the ones on their machine.

If you fancy upgrading your Windows 7 machine (which may have the Home version of the software)  to the more advanced version provided by MSDN AA you don’t have to re-install your operating system. You can use the Windows Anytime Upgrade command to enter the product key for your new version and the upgrade happens for you automatically. You can find out more about this here.

Hull Digital Question Time – Free Event


It is funny how the person asking the questions always gets the best chair…

Hull Digital Question Time is in a couple of weeks or so. It brings together a panel of experts and an audience to have a discussion about the internet, mobile, the future of communication and anything else you care to ask questions about. Given that one of the panel is the Vice Chancellor of the University of Hull you might also expect some discussion on the relevance of technology to the future of Higher Education. 

It is being held on the university campus at the Donald Roy Theatre in the Gulbenkian Centre. The free food and networking starts from 6:30 pm onwards on Wed. 26th May.

The event is free and open to anyone who wants to sign up here. I’ve got my ticket, and a question to ask. 

More Steam, and new Heroes

Ada Lovelace, a woman ahead of her time, from the wonderful

If you have not yet discovered The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage then you are in for a treat. Fantastic drawing and actual historical quotes thrown together with outrageous plots to make something quite unique. Kudos to number one son for the link.

Steam Engine 02 I really want a steam powered computer..

VS 2010 Windows Phone Refresh

Mars Bar

A student gave me a Mars Bar at the end of my last lecture of the session. It is kind of a running joke thing, in that I keep promising the class Mars Bars and never delivering. Anyhoo, thanks very much. It was delicious.

The  next version of the Windows Phone 7 CTP is now available for download.  This version plays nicely with the release version of Visual Studio 2010. Some folks have been reporting fun and games updating but, for some reason, my update went fine.  The only issue I’ve hit is when opening an old Windows Phone project I was told I needed to add some lines to one of the configuration files. Unfortunately the lines can’t be copied out of the message for some reason, so if you need them you can cut them from here..

    <Capability Name="ID_CAP_NETWORKING" />
    <Capability Name="ID_CAP_LOCATION" />
    <Capability Name="ID_CAP_SENSORS" />
    <Capability Name="ID_CAP_MICROPHONE" />
    <Capability Name="ID_CAP_MEDIALIB" />
    <Capability Name="ID_CAP_GAMERSERVICES" />
    <Capability Name="ID_CAP_PHONEDIALER" />
    <Capability Name="ID_CAP_PUSH_NOTIFICATION" />
    <Capability Name="ID_CAP_WEBBROWSERCOMPONENT" />

Hull Digital TechMesh Meetup

Hull University Campus Library

Today’s Hull Digital MeetUp was interesting. We had a presentation from TechMesh, who provide networking (of the human kind) between like-minded IT and Telecoms business in the area, a talk from Nick Riley from Hull University Logistics Institute about the use of RFID and a few words from MediaSat3. And very nice free food and drink.

Hull Digital are organising a very interesting event next month. Hull Digital Question Time brings together a bunch of experts, including the Vice Chancellor of the university, and invites the audience to ask questions. Should be fun.

Videogames Hardware Handbook

Videogames Hardware Handbook (Videogames Hardware Handbook)

I picked up a copy of this last week. The Videogames Hardware handbook  is a collection of articles from Retro Gamer magazine which describe consoles and games from the seventies to the nineties. There is pretty good coverage of the platforms, especially handhelds, and there are game top tens for all of them as well. There are some missing (I’d love to have had more about the Amiga CD-32 for example) but overall it is a great read.

If you want to relive your memories of old machines then this is a great way to do it.

Cletus Clay Rocks

Cletus Clay, in the flesh at Platform 2010

Yesterday at Hull Platform 2010 we had a really good talk from Sarah Web who told us all about Cletus Clay, a new videogame which is being made using “Claymation” animation. This looks absolutely fantastic, with lots of down home humour and cow abducting aliens. You can find out all about Cletus, and even discover how to build some of the game characters yourself at

I am definitely going to get a copy of this game when it comes out…