l4dThe map of Dundee University’s Queen Mother Building (QMB) is legend among attendees of The School of Computing houses in the same building.  Unfortunately, people have a bad habit of losing it so I’m posting it here to download.  The map is believed to have been made by Rory Gianni a.k.a. @digitalWestie

Click to download theqmb.vpk


Bitcoin gets his collar!

5th August 2013

Bitcoin is 12 weeks old now and he’s got his first collar, if you ask me, it suits him rather well!

Bitcoin's new collarThe token on his collar comes from BitcoinKeychains.com where you’ll be unsurprised to hear I’m sure that they accept Bitcoin payments.


Meet 7 week old, Bitcoin

20th June 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Internet, meet Bitcoin.


Bitcoin on his journey to his new home, sleeping with his head on my shirt as he wasn’t happy with the door of the cat box closed.


Bitcoin is a 7 weeks old semi-Devon Rex kitten and after a long car journey home, he is hiding under our radiator in the living room.  More photos to follow when he allows us to take them.

Bitcoin later joined us on the sofa where he is now sleeping.

Bitcoin later joined us on the sofa where he is now sleeping.

You Should Be Angry!

11th June 2013

Evil Dr Eye on Bitcoin

Bitcoin was born out of anonymity and now with increasing scrutiny by regulatory bodies, there is a demand for online identity checking.

In 2008, a man named Satoshi Nakamoto introduced the world to a revolutionary new piece of software, he introduced us to Bitcoin. From its early excitement amongst a small group cryptography geeks it grew and is now recognised as a viable alternative currency. Many find the concept of a virtual currency with no physical material (such as gold) to back it, and no central authority to control it, a mystery. But the greatest mystery of Bitcoin remains this; Satoshi Nakamoto does not exist… [read more at miicard.com]


This post was written by Andy Barratt and continues at http://www.miicard.com/blog/201306/internet-passport-solving-bitcoin-id-checks

This week saw the quiet launch of something big.  A new crowd funding platform that welcomes any project no matter where in the world you are!  How can they remove such a limitation?  Well by using a globally recognised currency that anyone can use, that of course would be Bitcoin.

Just one of several projects on the brand new crowd funding site.

Just one of several projects on the brand new crowd funding site.

Bitcoin StarterBitcoin Starter is like any other crowd funding platform such as Kickstarter or IndieGoGo, the difference being that it only accepts Bitcoin payments as contributions to projects!  Other than that, the main rules stay the same.  Anyone can submit a project, they write up their aim and they post it on the website saying how much they’re needing, what they’re planning to use it for and how long they have to raise the funds.  If the target isn’t reached, the money is returned to the people who pledged it and if it’s successful, the pledgers get rewards for their help.

So what’s so great about using Bitcoin rather than dollars, euros, pounds, yen or indeed what ever currency you’re used to spending?  Well for starters, no matter where you are in the world, your Bitcoin is usable and you don’t have to go through any lengthy process to open a bank account to use it.  In fact, you don’t need a bank account at all, just a Bitcoin wallet on your device.  If you don’t trust yourself to keep your Bitcoin safe on your device you can keep one online too but the important thing is, anyone can have one and trade online.  It means that money can be sent instantly over the internet without payment providers taking large costs and without so much banking regulation (money is sent directly from user to user).  More people are able to raise the Bitcoin they need to start a project, regardless of country, age, ability to open a bank account, everything!

Bitcoin is the worlds fastest growing currency, when I first started investigating, 1 BTC cost 48 GBP, now it costs 90 GBP and is fast heading toward £100 and that’s in just a couple of weeks.  The rapid growth shows just how much people are trusting this new currency, especially after a rocky start with some pretty nasty press.  My next post will be more about Bitcoin though, this one is about Bitcoin Starter.

As I say, it’s been a quiet launch but the creators have been kind enough to invite me to seek funds for My Agility Board on launch, therefore, My Agility Board is on the front page and looking for funds to help it expand.  There are also other projects such as those seeking funds for a photographer who’s dream is to go to Pripyat in Ukraine so that he can photograph the home of the Chernobyl Disaster and another wishing to raise funds to buy Tablet computers for educational purposes in the world’s poorest areas.

It’s been a very quiet launch and it’s taking off very slowly but I’m sure as the Bitcoin community grows, so will BitcoinStarter.com, it’s definitely one to watch!

Google Maps has its oddities too

29th September 2012

While we’re all jumping on the band wagon of pointing out that iOS6 Maps having bad maps (it does by the way, truly awful maps), let’s not forget that no body is perfect…

Not the first issue that I’ve found on Google Maps, let’s not forget what I found on a TomTom satnav a while back, Google AND Apple were based on Telemaps which meant that the same issue crept onto Google Maps too.  Thankfully, TomTom got in touch on that occasion and fixed the issue quickly.

So a new version of Farmville 2 has been driving me mad with notifications on Facebook.  Here’s how to block them.

Just go to http://www.facebook.com/appcenter/farmville-two and click that Block button. For the sake of your own sanity, do it now!

Can’t do it now?  Add it to your To Do list on http://www.myagilityboard.com

This post is a duplicate of the first post that I have put on blog.myagilityboard.com

I created My Agility Board at the start of 2012, I was mid way through my fourth year at University and using agile methods but hated using a large pin board to keep track of my project for a number of reasons.

For starters, the pin board was huge, if I went to catchup with my supervisor, I couldn’t very well drag the pin board up with me and what if they weren’t even in the building at the time?  Sometimes a photograph just wasn’t good enough.

I started using the sticky notes program on my computer with a background which worked at first but the truth was, I had more than one computer and not being able to access my notes on other computers was annoying so I figured I’d create some kind of online system that I could create notes, have them stored in a database and work just like the notes apps that you get on most operating systems.  I wanted to make sure they could be made public too so that I could share them with people in a read only format to keep people up to date on what I was doing.

After creating it, I figured I may as well make the site open to the public which meant that my friends were able to use it for their honours projects too.  As I write this, it’s nearing 1,800 boards registered.

Having asperger syndrome, I’ve always been keen on little gadgets that keep me organised, when I was at school, I was the only kid to be walking around with a little pocket PDA with my timetable on it, something my teachers hated but it kept me happy.  Of course, now everyone has smartphones so it doesn’t seem like such a big deal.

Well anyway, My Agility Board became a pet project of mine once I left university, I kept using it and was always getting little tips on how I could improve it but one thing that concerned me was, some people were putting private data on their boards, stuff that should be kept secure.  The moment I realised, I encrypted the database so that I couldn’t read it by accident and so that if it were some how hacked and downloaded, nobody could read it.  Passwords, notes and email addresses are all encrypted but there’s still one security hole.

Unlikely as it may be, if someone were to site and watch packets traveling over a network, they would see the contents of notes and login details transmitted in plain text.  This is actually a common method of cyber espionage and it is fixed by using an SSL certificate, you’ll have seen this on many websites in the form of a little padlock in the address bar of your browser.  The thing is, to get a certificate that shows that checks have been done to validate a site’s identity, it costs a fair bit of money, so haven’t got one yet.

The site is also unreliable at times, often it can go down for a couple of minutes, not much but when you’re using it a productivity tool, a couple of minutes can mean a lot of frustration.  To fix this, I need to move the site to a new dedicated server as opposed to the cheap web hosting that I’m paying for at the moment.  Unfortunately, this is a bit out of my price range.

I figured the best thing to do would be to monetise the site.  To do this, I wouldn’t charge for the features already there but create some features that have been requested from time to time and sell these as upgraded pro accounts.  However, I felt that it would be wrong to start charging for features when the site itself is not yet reliable or secure.

Because of this, I’ve turned to crowd funding, in the hope that people will look kindly on my situation and help me get this site going some more.  With my fiancé being super organised (more so than me with my sticky notes;) I asked her to help me by being in charge of the money side of things if I managed to get some funding and in the future monetise the site.

IndieGoGo seemed like the best solution to my hopes so I have placed the site on there and I’ll be giving T-Shirts, free pro membership (when I create it) and other things in exchange for people’s generosity.  The campaign can be found at www.indiegogo.com/myagilityboard

I’m not sure if people will think the site a worthy cause but we’ll see :)


I have been struggling with something at work for a few days now and that is setting the default text field on the login page of the miiCard website.

Our login page is very simple, username, password, that’s it.  Choosing to have one field as selected proved very tricky because we were using the asp:Login control which did not provide easy access from the code behind and refused to allow a static ID to be used by javascript/jquery.

Eventually, I worked out a decent solution using jQuery (though the same could be applied to native javascript.

The trick was to put at the bottom of my login page markup some jquery mixed with some javascript.  We knew that there is a TextBox control with the server ID “UserName” inside the Login control which had the server ID “Login1″.

So the JQuery was quite simply, one line.

<script type="text/javascript">
    $(‘#<%= ((TextBox)Login1.FindControl("UserName")).ClientID %>’).focus();

Which generates the correct code replacing thepart with the client ID that the server had generated.

I haven’t tested this but the same should be easy to do if you’re not using JQuery too.

<script type="text/javascript">
    document.getElementById(‘<%= ((TextBox)Login1.FindControl("UserName")).ClientID %>’).focus()

Remember that JQuery requires the # to specify that it’s an ID where as Javascript already knows it’s dealing with an ID so no # is required.

Hope this of interest to someone.