Category Archives: General

Announcing ‘Give with Bing’ | Fundraising with Sport Relief

We’re very excited about the campaign we’re launching this week to raise money for Sport Relief 2010 with a virtual fundraising initiative called ‘Give with Bing.’

While Sport Relief drives fundraising by challenging people to do physical activities such as running a mile, we’re introducing the ‘Bing Search Mile,’ which gives people the ability to search using Bing and raise money for charity.

For every 10 searches made, Bing.com will donate 5p to Sport Relief 2010, enabling you, and your friends and family, to raise money just by searching with Bing until the end of March.

With the average mile taking about 10 minutes to run, in the same time, you can make up to 150 searches online – that’s 75p raised for a good cause per ‘search mile’. And while you’re at it, why not step it up a gear and aim to complete a ‘Search Mile’ each day or even a ‘Search Marathon’ over the 5 week campaign with your colleagues, friends and family?
How to get involved:

  1. Visit GiveWithBing.com and download the Official Sport Relief Bing Counter. Once downloaded, the Sport Relief counter will count all the searches you do on Bing from that point on.
  2. Now that you’re registered (and signed in), invite your friends, family, colleagues or classmates to join in the fundraising with you – GiveWithBing.com automatically generates an email explaining how it works for you to send them – the more people who search with you, the more money you raise. People can also register a school
  3. Run your ‘search mile’ every day and watch how your searches turn into life-changing cash for charity, with every 10 searches equalling 5p for Sport Relief. You can check your progress by visiting your individual page (more info here).

So register on www.givewithbing.com, invite all your friends to join you, and start making a difference with Bing today!

Job: .NET, Glasgow – Chunk are looking to hire a lead developer

If you are interested in this role, please send Chunk and e-mail – their address can be found at their web-site (noted in the Further Information section below).

As lead developer you’ll be responsible for architecting, specifying, documenting and implementing innovative, world-class digital projects within the .NET framework.

We’re looking for a minimum of 4 years experience of the complete cycle of .NET C# applications. You’ll also be experienced in leading and mentoring your team members, preferably in a digital agency where design and interactivity plays a big part. As part of an innovative company you should be eager to learn the latest technologies, inside and outside of the .NET framework and constantly develop skills which can be shared with other members of your team.

Main Responsibilities

  • Lead specification, development and execution of new web applications
  • Write and oversee a variety of applications and deploy them on various digital platforms
  • Ensure conformance to architectural guidelines and development standards
  • Create documentation necessary to brief the team and specify and substantiate the development
  • Maintain legacy web applications
  • Develop Content Management Systems
  • Help maintain and administrate server environments
  • Ensure strong attention to usability and design detail

Skills

  • Superb understanding of the ASP.NET C# Framework
  • Excellent grasp of OOP
  • SQL Server 2000/2005, T-SQL
  • Database architecture and design
  • Web Services
  • XML/XSLT
  • Good understanding of XHTML/DHTML/CSS, web standards, cross-browser/platform delivery, JavaScript and AJAX

Other Stuff

  • Understand additional disciplines such as Actionscript, mobile deployment, third party API’s, etc.
  • Help develop reusable components to build a library of back-end tools

Further Information
www.chunk.co.uk

Follow Chunk on Twitter:
http://www.twitter.com/chunktwits

Video: Lean, Kanban and Theory of Constraints for Managers (@roblally at @epicenter2009)

Last month Rob Lally gave an excellent presentation at epicenter 2009 in Dublin. Rob on Twitter.

We managed to record the session, which includes an excellent practical demonstration that is well worth watching. Rob’s an excellent speaker, he fills 60 minutes with great content and humour.

The application of Lean principles, Kanban and pull-systems theory along with Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints revolutionised the manufacturing world in the second half of the twentieth century. Belatedly, the software world is waking up to the transformative effects these tools can have. There are still no silver bullets in the software world, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t improve our aim.

Having applied these principles and practices to many real-world, commercially-motivated projects, Rob speaks from the perspective of a practitioner not a theorist.

Although each of the three topics is a whole field of study unto itself, Rob’s goal is to communicate some of the key lessons from each, and have attendees leave with concrete ideas that they can use to improve their organisation.

No M&Ms were hurt in the making of this video, however some were eaten. Of course, if other confectioners wish to offer their “colour-coded” products for future demonstrations, please leave a comment here: but be warned, we will only deal in large quantities 🙂

Rob Lally @ epicenter 2009, Dublin from Craig Murphy on Vimeo.

Sky downgrade their “Mid” package from 40GB to 10GB per month – FAIL

How to lose customers in 15 months

We’ve been Sky subscribers since February 2008. We moved to Sky because the reception from Freeview was (and still is) frankly appalling – it was great for many months during 2007…then had a bad period after summer 2007…then was great over Christmas 2007…then it was plain useless in January 2008. Naturally I tried a few options: a new aerial, checked the transmitter information and tried a different receiver unit. Nothing worked well enough to rely on. Sky seemed to be the solution to our problems. However it wasn’t without sacrifice, or so I thought…

The sacrifice: I was paying Zen Internet £29.99 per month for their 0.5MB broadband package – yes, that was perhaps a tad expensive, however it just worked, perfectly. After doing my sums, it looked like I could get Sky TV for £16 per month, plus £5 for their “Mid” broadband package (offering a 40GB per month cap). Add in a couple of “mixes” for a £1 a pop and I was up at £23 per month. The apparent win: TV and Internet for a £6.99 per month saving. What could go wrong?

Indeed, what could go wrong? Broadband speeds had increased to from 0.5MB up to 2MB+, a win! And all those Sky TV channels too, a huge win! And more episodes of Star Trek than I’ll ever have time to watch, huge win, for me at least! However, the winning was short-lived. The broadband connection has suffered from a lot of downtime – that green Skype icon went grey all too often. I had no such problems with Zen Internet. The TV subscription wasn’t without its problems too, as we’ll see later in this rant.

Well, in November 2009 Sky wrote to me advising that the price of their Broadband Mid package was to double. The cost was £5, it was going up to £10. I hadn’t even been with them a full nine months and they hit me with a price rise of 100%. Utterly scandalous. However, in the grand scheme of things, and this is something that Sky presumably knew, £10 is still reasonably good value for a 40GB monthly package. I did complain to Mark Anderson (Mark.Anderson@bskyb.com) – granted I did get an e-mail back from some sort of ‘escalated help desk’, but it rather lamely asked me for my postal address.

Sent: Tue 02/12/2008 21:49

Dear Mr Anderson

Thank you for your letter of November 2008 advising me of a £5 or 100% rise in the cost of Sky Broadband.

I realise that £5 is very competitive and that was one of the two reasons we switched to your TV and Broadband services.

However, in the 10 months that we’ve been customers, the cost of the TV service has risen and now the cost of the broadband provision is rising.

Further, I record a lot of Star Trek on the Sky+ unit, however it won’t let me use the COPY option to move the episodes to DVD – because 80GB of personal space is not nearly enough. With no means of recording the episodes for watching later, it really means I personally don’t have much use for the Sky+ box…I don’t have time to watch what I’ve recorded and I can’t move the recorded content to DVD overnight…there is no point in recording anything.

If memory serves me, it’s a 12 month contract that I’m signed up for. Sending out a 100% price hike notification at this stage in the contract is just plain crazy.

Please be advised that I will be re-considering my options at the end of January 2009…you would be surprised how many friends and colleagues are telling me how good FreeSat is…Humax do wonderful HDD recorders too…

…and I’ve been chatting to other Sky “Mid” users, they haven’t received their 100% price hike notification yet…I do hope that you’ve not been selective about who is being subjected to the price hike?

Rgs
–Craig

To make matters worse, during November 2008 there was the great copy protection fiasco, which severely limited my use of the Sky+ service. I was not at all happy about that, so much so, The Guardian picked up on it and quoted a large chunk of that blog entry.

Last week, at the end of June 2009, Sky’s Mark Anderson wrote to me again. This time he was advising of ANOTHER price hike. In a nutshell, my Sky TV subscription was about to rise, making a total of £30 per month. Again, a scandalous mid-contract price rise. Of secondary concern, the font size used in Sky letters is very small – I can still read it with ease, however I’m sure that some subscribers might struggle. The letter itself makes no mention what changes to expect, but refers to an “enclosed leaflet”. Clever. Very clever. And utterly scandalous.

The leaflet that accompanied the letter was titled: “Sky Broadband now even better”, “All for the same low price”. Here’s a snapshot of what it looked like:

Looks like it’s just a re-branding, nothing to worry about…

…until you look closer. The 40GB monthly cap Sky Mid package is being re-branded to Everyday…with a monthly cap of 10GB.

It has something to do with “bring the usage allowance in line with what the majority of customers actually use”…HELLO? Granted Sky rather wisely included a paragraph stating that we could cancel the broadband portion of the contract without charge (well, thanks for that, from the company who raise their prices mid-contract). I am an individual, I do not like be grouped into a pot and treated like the “majority of customers”. I chose the 40GB package for a reason: it was ideal for my needs. Sky, you have moved the goal posts, changed the size of the nets and made the pitch four times wider at your end. Have I told you that this is scandalous? Utterly scandalous.

[UPDATE 07/07/2007 – after checking out the speed test here: http://www.skyuser.co.uk/speedtester/, it turns out I’m not even getting the average speeds for my package. Yet “more for less”.]

Given my distance from the BT exchange, it’s unlikely I’ll ever see more than 2700Kbps (via http://www.broadbandspeedchecker.co.uk/) download and 160Kbps upload speeds. Therefore, the other so-called upgrades do not appeal or apply to me.

So now I am paying 30% more than I was 15 months ago FOR LESS. A lot less as it happens: where did Sky channel 795 go? I’m trying to learn Spanish and may well have chosen to pay the extra £1 per month just for a single channel…however it has vanished from the channel line up. Scandalous, utterly scandalous. “Paying more for less”, that should be Sky’s tag line: I’m not the first person to say this, but Mark, I’m sorry to say this: you’re charlatans. [Update 06/07/2009 – Channel 795 has reappeared. However, let’s not forget this thing called Sky Anytime – it takes up 80GB of my 160GB of space, it records channels that I cannot get with my subscription: more “getting less”]

“Sky Believe in better” – I will be switching broadband provider as soon as possible and will be reconsidering our TV options too – that is something you can put money on, you had better believe it. FreeSat and Freeview may cost me upfront, but at least they don’t demand money downstream. I’ll be ‘phoning 08705 515 515 to request my MAC key next week.

Sky: Paying more for less.

Fancy a free Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer?

Colin Mackay invites you to blog about DDD Scotland in exchange for a local delicacy:

A Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer* to anyone who blogs about Developer Day Scotland between now and 20th April 2009. You must send me a link to the blog post and the prize can be collected only at Developer Day Scotland on 2nd May 2009. (*Prize subject to change, but will be a Scottish food delicacy)

There’s plenty of other legalese that applies, your acceptance of this delicacy and subsequent weight gain has nothing to do with us, etc.

Leave your links in comments here at this blog, e-mail Colin or send @scottishdevs a message on Twitter!

Music and comedy don’t understand politics…what are you doing on 20/01/09?

To celebrate a great day in history in the greatest city in the world, the Ibbamo Trust is hosting one of the largest celebrations for the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America.

This party will have the award winning Lemar, the platinum selling N-Dubz, YolanDa Brown, DJ Ironik, DJ Abass, Twin B, Ava Leigh along with the London Community Gospel Choir as entertainment with many other special guests and speakers. Comedy by Eddie Kadi with Patrick Alen and the Music Box Live band!

Limited tickets start at £18.50 and are available through Ticketmaster. For special bulk rates email tickets@20109change.com

Come celebrate with the world!

Further information can be found at the event’s web-site and at theo2.co.uk

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