Presentation Zen – Garr Reynolds at Oxford

“People who know what they are talking about don’t need Powerpoint”
(Steve Jobs)

He got a discussion going on what is good and bad about slides (people’s opinion).

Bad: too much content, bad graphics (out of context, bad quality), audio effects, bad contrast, “Comic Sans”.
Good: visuals, contrast, communicate idea, uncluttered

Good slides tell stories about data too. (Difference between Bill Gates presentations from now and then)

“You must unlearn what you have learned”

Keep in mind: Restraint, Simplicity and Naturalness

Look things around you, learn from the past and as much as possible get away from the computer to get ideas. “Be here now, be somewhere else later” (commenting about people in meetings with laptops on – and eventual email checking/twitter).

“We cannot see our reflection in running water… it is only in still water that we can see”
(Taoist proverb)

We are naturally storytellers, if you want to connect: tell a story.
Storytelling – harmonious blend of words, images and sounds.

(He mentioned Robert McKee – )

Other things to keep in mind: Change, Conflict, Contrast (example of StarWars poster with contrast between characters)

Scott Adams – the joy of work (Dilbert creator)

Do or not do, there is no try

Do or Don't Do, there is no Try

He showed pie graph with 3 keys but only 50% 50% relating to do or not do (very nice!)

Empathy is important – put yourself in other’s shoes

Colours: choose colours in your pictures/words similar the one as the data showing in graphs

Quickly showed a video about Hans Rosling and his passion about data (

Be passionate – like Steve Ballmer (showing his passion through sweat! :))

Simplicity is good but simple is not.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
(Leonardo Da Vinci)

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

Parody on simplicity:


“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities. In the expert minds there are few.”
(Shunryu Suzuki)

Fall in love with the problem, not the solution.

He also mentioned the concept of gamestorming

DrupalCon – London

DrupalCon London 2011

What I thought/experienced/noted…

DrupalCon was really good, I participated on a great workshop and the sessions were in majority entertaining, informative and really good to learn new things or reinforce concepts already known. (Of course, in any conference there are a few exceptions… some boring sessions and some really bad presentations, but thankfully they were just a few.)

For my pleasant surprise and future reference, all the sessions were recorded, so you might also benefit checking each day tab at

QUICK UPDATE: The Drupal conference has around *60* videos here: – thanks Peter Robinson!

Advanced views

Presented by Johan Falk

Link to conference schedule of this course.

Main screencast from NodeOne website (before the course):
Read the following related to this course:

Blocks: you can click ‘show blocks’ and you can see them highlighted.

Interesting modules: token, transliteration, Pathauto, CTools, Views, Panels, References, Masquerade – be sure to read the description to know more!!!

Check: “display suite” for more panel and views configuration

Instructors: Johan Falk (Itangalo), Hagen Graf (hagen), Roel De Meester (demeester_roel).

Keynote – the state of Drupal

Presented by Dries Buytaert

Link to the keynote video

Drupal biggest opportunities: substituting legacy systems, IT cutting costs, mobile

Big vision: Flexibility, Scalability, Reach.

Competition: WordPress, Joomla, Sharepoint, TYPO3

The roll out of Drupal 8 from 7 will happen only if critical bugs are less than 15 and major bugs/tasks are less than 100. Trying to reduce thresholds to balance D7 and D8.

Drupal 8 initiative priorities: Native html5/css3, media/asset handling; usability ease of use; mobile support wysiwyg editor; better apis; configuration management; content import/export; content staging.

Dries Buytaert – @dries

The Path to a Mobile Drupal: Techniques, Tools and Failure

Presented by John Albin Wilkins

Link to the session video and description

Other Links:

Mobile the traditional way:

Responsive Web Design (Hicksdesign)
Check Hicksdesign website and scale the browser to see it working… notice the different rendering of images/paragraphs/divs, etc.
A list apart article: responsive web design
1. flexible grids
2.flexible images
3. CSS3 media queries

Adapttive Design – developed in response to Responsive Design.
1. CSS3 media queries
2. fixed layout sizes

Flexible grids:
use perentages to set grid sizes
.content{width:62.5%;} //5 grids
.sidebar{width: 37.5%;} //3 grids
percentages allow grid to grow/shrink with the screen size
eg (5 grids)/(8 grids) = 62.5%

Flexible images
use max-width to constrain images within the flexible grid.
img, embed, iframe, object, video{max-width:100%;}

CSS3 media queries
with css2 media types we could target different classes of devices: print, screen, handheld, all
with css3 media queries we target device capagilities
[type] and ([query])
all and (max-width: 768px)

.info Files (Drupal)
stylesheets[all][] = css/print.css — move your media types and queries inside your css files
@media all and (min-width:480px){
put all your style here;

Few (monica’s) links for inspiration:

Two types of breakpoints

device breakpoints (unnatural):
ex: 320px iphone in portrait mode, 480px iphone in landscape mode 768px ipad in portrait mode, 992px – small laptop (minus browser chorme) 1200px large desktop

design breakpoints (natural):
“Devices will change, follow your design”

Revenge of the Meta Tags (mobile device zooming)
check metas: ‘viewport’, ‘MobileOptimized’ content width, ‘HandhelFriendly’ content true

Browsers not supporting CSS3 Media Queries
IE6-8 – Respond.js ( — insert inside IE conditional comments

Mobile First! – at least have one design outside media queries, the idea is to use mobile first.

Loosing 80% of the screen make you focus!!! just put what is really interesting/relevant/important first

Image Handling in Drupal

Zen 7.x-5.x
Responsive panels layouts, respond.js, sass (CSS preprocessing), html5
Check and resize browser (it is in Drupal)

Speaker’s links:

Web Typography & Drupal: Putting Arial Out To Pasture

Presented by Jason Pamental

Link to this session video and description.

Didn’t go to this session but I wish I had gone… the next one I actually went was a bit boring… (probably because of my lack of knowledge, don’t blame the presenter!)

References related to the above:

Easy Drupal Hosting Lifecycle: Local Dev, Production Deploy, Cloud Scale, and Sleep Well

Presented by Barry Jaspan

Link to description and video of this session.

Barry Jaspan @bjaspan (

Acquia Dev Desktop also runs like xampp (??? this I didn’t get it, would check presentation later to understand or send him an email asking about)

Mostly saying about DevCloud, which is easier to push.

Said that Acquia is recruiting, check

Forensic Theming: Key Techniques to Building Effective Drupal Themes

Presented by Emma Jane Hogbin

Link to video and description of this session.

My first time at DrupalCon and I got a book Front End Drupal from her! (thanks Emma Jane!)


She will usually change one tpl.php ()

Tools: css editor, firequeries, webdeveloper, ie web developer, firebug, sweaver

Devel/Themer: overlay on top of page, “point, click, analyse”. Also give info about the template file you are working on.

Drupal (layout) Modules: context, display suite, panels, omega, tao

Emma Jane Hogbin is author of:

Theming API

Presented by Rolf van de Krol

Link to this session video and description.

He started talking about the theme function call.
Found slideshare for this session at:

Links – theme hook, it will give a list of links and will be themed as a list of links. On array is the list of links itself and with the titles on it.

On the node you can also find a path to the template.

Template will override the default from Drupal.

Preprocess and process functions
Get the variables in the pipeline and change them as necessary (???)
gets the variables array as parameter and change the variables array and you can extract the values more easily like the ‘title’ value.

Templates, then modules, then themes pre-processing (preprocess use for any template, preprocess_node only use for the node template).

Inside the node array instead of have a type theme, was found a ‘theme engine’, so the engine actually find the template files for you, you don’t have to specify them yourself. PHPtemplate – default template engine in Drupal.

Pattern: node– (dash,dash)

If engine find these templates on site: page.tpl.php, node.tpl.php and node–page.tpl.php (is a special case of node)

mythemes_lnks__comments (mythemes will be ignored, a function links__comments will be created, if you don’t define the function it will use the default from the core).

If you are really interested in this topic I recommend checking the video for this session and analysing the slides on slideshare since it went a bit fast to follow up everything.

Take Full Control of Your Site Layout with Display Suite for Drupal 7

Presented by Kristof De Jaeger and Jan-yves Vanhaverbeke

Link to this session description and video.

@swentel drupal user 107403
@janyves drupal user 591438

Maintainers of field_group, sweaver, imagecrop

Demo for this presentation

Philosophy of Display Suite
manage your site layout from one central place, bridge the gap between themers and developers, make template files unnecessary, no php code (reduce danger of exploits), focus on ease of use, portability and manageability; not a css tool!

Modules: Display Suite, Extras and Search Display

Really good for dragging and dropping your layout without having to mess with Css, where to put, etc. (the basic way, more specific layouts you can tweak with the style). Very nice to style some teasers with images, etc.

Display suite has other view modes. You can also go on Page: Row style options and use individual views for each item on your page.

Extras module: field templates, regions to block, contextual links, page title options, switching view modes, views displays (templates and fields) and more.

If you don’t use panels, the extras/display suite could be a good replacement for panels.

“A beautiful search”
override search result pages for Node and apache solr
search display allows to override the search display of the search.

Use page control with panels and content control with Display Suite.

always a concern, D7 was rewritten from ground up, views field API fields, install


Keynote: The Future of Social Media – a historical perspective

by Tom Standage

Link to video of this session

Truly enjoyable talk, with some funny moments!

“The Roman used laptops and tablets”

Social network in Roman era (scribes – enabling the infrastructure, scrolls)

Romans writing on walls “Gnaeus Alleius posted on your wall” (messages, adverts, graffiti)
St Paul used social media, ‘open letters’ (know as epistoles)

‘Scroll the news’ like the old times…

“New blog post from Martin Luther” pamphlet distributed getting ideas against selling indulgences to get a piece in heaven. Traffic stats when something was reprinted and spread, difference between german and latin letters to reach clericals or general public.

Coffee houses in England inspired origins of the open source movement (environment allowed discussion, exchange of ideas, debate).

Multilingual Drupal Solutions: Use cases and modules

Link to the video:
Presented by Florian Loretan and Jose Antonio Reyero del Prado

They have an international discussion going on, using hashtag #dci18n on twitter.

Why multilingual? focus on audience, but not easy because some things don’t translate well or have different meanings (cooking and baking -> cousine cousine (French))

Localisation is only associating a place to something.

  • Use case #1 simple multilingual blog: (simple multilingual blog)
  • Use case #2 multilingual brochure site (wunderkraut)
    Publishing options > Multilingual support > enabled, with translation
    (check isomething sync module to check which parts will be translated or not – maybe an image don’t, don’t duplicate). Same, check permissions that maybe multiple users can translate the website, so need more people.
    Drupal automatic recognises which menu item belongs to which language and only show the correct menu when the language is selected.
  • Use case #3 multilingual community (Drupal documentation to be translated, for example)
    Different setup, get a term and translate each individual term and possibly the whole meaning still would stand.

Contact info:

Jose A. Reyero –

Florian Loretan –

Creating and measuring the user experience

Presented by Jeff Noyes

Video for this presentation:
PDF for this presentation.

He gave an example of bad user experience if you have a Microsoft Word interface with all toolbars turned ON, leaving only 20% of space for typing… and it should be the opposite, 80% focus on writing.

IDEO video – example of redesign of the shopping cart
“One conversation at the time”. “Wild ideas”
Focus caos… loads of posts with ideas, voting on the ideas that are cool but also doable.
“Fail often in order to succeed sooner”
Ideas: child safe, baskets to fast shop, scanner to add products, wheels that allow car go sideways, after check-out basket stays in the store and bags are hooked on the frame

IEEE study ‘why software fails’, lack of requirements, fixing error after something was manufactured (100x more cost after something was actually manufactured to fix a problem).

REMEMBER the audience!!! you have to remember who you are designing for, what are you designing, why? which problems they have.

To find the right solution (the “How”), we
need to prioritize the features we invest in
(the “What”). To determine our priorities, we
need to define the problem (the “Why”). To
define the problem, we need to identify the
intended audience (the “Who”).

– Whitney Hess, Happy Cog

How to know the audience and the problem (Who and Why):

  • contextual inquiry (field research in natural setting)
  • surveys
  • interviews with target users (check views3)
  • usability tests
  • analytics (Google Analytics, Crazyegg-have heatmaps and scrolling, also search criteria- etc)


  • design principles
  • ideation
  • task flows

Some interesting online tools: and

  • greyboxing (really leave as grey boxes, avoid divisions, number of items on titles, etc)
  • storyboards – sequence of events (views project, map general flow of the 80% use of the tool)
  • wireframes (not usually helpful from a user perspective)
  • prototypes (clicable version of your design, can be high/low fidelity)

Test / Validade

  • moderated test (someone guiding the user through tasks)
  • self-moderated test
  • static image, self moderated test (user will be presented an image and get feedback on what’s stand out, etc)
  • navigation tests (focused on the information architecture of your site)
  • diy testing (have to keep in mind: target audience, be unbiased, listen more than talk

Don’t Design Websites. Design web systems!

One of the best presentations in my opinion!

Presented by Todd Ross Nienkerk and Adam Snetman
Link to the session and video presentation
PDF of this session

Today’s websites are really websytems
Designers determine the site’s functionalities… (big responsibility!)

Cannot paint a house without building it… architecture is necessary first.

  • Define the site
  • Gather goasl and requirements
  • Create personas (audience)
  • What is the content and how would be organised? (content types and site map)
  • usability testing
  • choose your platform
  • translate everything into drupalspeak if you choose this platform (to map to its structure from wireframe)

Check Samantha Warren (and also check mood boards – collage and style tiles – elements of inspiration, sample colours)

Really liked the style tiles!!!

Example of the redesign of the logo, then site.
Check the goals, logo, typography, imagery, catch phrase, grid, experience.

Design on grid
960 grid, check the module, etc…

Stark theme is default, included in core.
understand the source code….

The trick to find the modules you need…

textformatter module, check! module monday blog series to check popular modules or reviews. sort by most popular for easiness

Minimize templates (design for change): less maintenance, consistent styling, specify the rules and all elements that we need functionality before implementation itself, remember architecture…

Check navigation levels, how many levels you can have?

‘the site you design today will change tomorrow’
The designers are the primary architects


Drupal as base system for your iPhone, Android, iPad apps

Presented by Sumit Kataria
Video for this session
PDF of this session

This session is about building native iPhone/iPad/Android applications using opensource web based technologies ( with Drupal as base system to manage content, users, views, permissions etc.

Some iPhone/Drupal stuff Sumit wrote in past:


Tool they choose: Titanium (major brands choose titanium)
Free framework which allows build apps for phones, apps, desktop (90% of code base) get native apps (services APIs gives the end-point to make request and get data out of it. Layers: services, serves, authentication layer).

Drupal will have data, users and services api, TI network api will gather that and then compile to the platform. (example:

I thought that with Titanium you could actually develop for iPhone/iPad independently of platform but apparently you still need a Mac for that.. 🙁

However, good idea, you can use your Drupal site to contain all the information and structure of the application and you just make calls to the nodes and get the content. Storage of videos still on Drupal (is the app only streaming?)

Keynote: Designing the Sustainable Web

by The Web Standardistas

Link to video and description for this session

I thought it was worth it to include the session description here, since it was succinct enough and also very relevant to my interests:

The web is evolving. Fast. As designers and developers working in this volatile medium – one that is characterised by a relentless pace of change – we need to consider strategies that deliver a sustainable web that exists beyond the here and now.

This keynote will focus on how, by marrying fundamental web standards with timeless design principles, we can create beautifully designed user experiences that embrace the full range of emerging technologies at our disposal. HTML5 and CSS3 offer today’s designers and developers a platform on which to build sustainable web presences for tomorrow. In short, to create a sustainable web – one that exists across a growing number of devices – that is designed not with short term goals in mind, but that is built from the ground up with longevity as its driving force.

We discuss how a standards based approach that is forward looking, whilst embracing classic design principles, can ensure wonderful user experiences that exist outside of the latest trends and live on in our users’ imaginations.

We both believe great design and enhanced user experiences go hand in hand:

  1. Build a solid platform, embracing emerging standards, ensuring maintainability moving forward is pain free;
  2. Apply fundamental and timeless design principles to ensure wonderful user experiences, experiences that exist outside of the latest trends and ensure a longer shelf life; and
  3. Deliver efficiencies (via 1) and marketability (via 2) to satisfy the business people.

The Web Standardistas

In addition to their role as The Standardistas, Christopher Murphy and Nicklas Persson teach interactive design at the University of Ulster at Belfast, where they have been active in promoting a web standards-based curriculum.

As tweed-clad duo The Standardistas, they write regularly on standards-based web design and the importance of improving web design education. Their first book, which extols the virtues of A Web Standardistas’ Approach, has received widespread praise for its practical and hands-on modus operandi. In addition to this they have been invited to write for, amongst other publications: 24 Ways (, The Manual (, and .net magazine.

In addition to speaking regularly at conferences worldwide, they run workshops and masterclasses, teaching the principles of design, both on and off the screen.

My notes:

Design for multiple devices (desktop, tablets, mobiles)
Content shifting
Secret formula, not sprinkles, they can be used to add for flavour

Check: grids, ratios, typography, semantics
Remember of the 50/50 of the iceberg, design and code

Initial web was already responsive (no styling in the beginning), tables were used for styling instead of their original purpose.

Zen garden starting the show of content and design separation.

Seriously good resources below!

Jan Tschichold typography.
Check book: Grid systems in graphic design
hierarchy, composition, typography, semantics, device independence, openness.

Check Designing the invisible (a practical guide), also Josh Brewer website, Build conference. Check The Grid System website. Also check (it is a responsive website) and Naomi Atkinson, Dan Rubin and Ryan Taylor.

Surveying the landscape, the secret formula, the markup and design timelines, a marriage made in heaven.

@standardistas – rich typography – Tim Brown

Adaptive, Responsive, Mobile First and Drupal theming for the future with HTML5, CSS3 and Omega

by Jake Strawn

Link to video for this session

Really great presentation and some good resources (check link for session above).

This session will introduce you to Adaptive Design and Responsive Layouts and how you can implement designs and themes that will work on ANY device without the need for multiple versions of a site all with different themes and designs.


Mobile first: it is the common (minimum) denominator.
One reason for mobile first: mobile is exploding!

Responsive web design:

Theme for Drupal – Omega html5 – media queries for 3(?) different sizes 1200, 960 and ….

Of Constraints and Capabilities: applying systems thinking to design the ideal experience

by Dante Murphy and Angel Brown

Link to video and description of this session

PDF of presentation

“Design must convey the essence of a device’s operation”

Recommended books: The design of everyday things; The laws of simplicity book and website (John Maeda);

Idea of offline capabilities: tube system – longer distances, related system: buses for shorter terms. Walking signs (tourists/info).
Appearance: impacts how people perceive and also how they feel.
Constraints are good to be able to start and stop.

“Designs depends largely on constraints”

– Charles Eames

Theory/mental/psychology term FLOW (challenge activate your capabilities).

‘If you wait for ideal circumstances in which you have all the information you need (which is impossible)…

‘Not my problem’ self imposable contrains

@dantemurphy @angelbrownuk

Making your theme scale with your brand

by Maarten Verbaarschot and Terrence Kevin O’Leary

Link to video and description of this session

Reduce power of theming from editors/project managers and leave it to the themers/designers. Create and use personas (google it). The master theme document (chapter three website –

Groups at Drupal:

Sass compiles the code once you import the images with @import all (???? check)

Principle: save time, stay focused, do things properly

ICTF 2011

We had a great conference this year. In my opinion the topics were more relevant and presentations had more quality. To know who is who check:

Please note that PDFs of the workshops can now be found here:

An Introduction to Biometrics by Julian Ashbourn

He gave some examples to illustrate ‘history’:
Egyptians – had a way to identify people using marks on forehead, etc
Galton Eugenics
Henry Goddard – Feeble-Mindedness
Juan Vucetich – fingerprint system based upon Galton’s ideas. First positive identification – Francisca Rojas – adopted by police – Galton-Henry system adopted by Scotland Yard

So, biometrics is not new idea…. what changed through time was the use of computers/technology to allow automation.

How does it work

  • define what we want to measure/match
  • extract features/biometric reference
  • statement of ‘likeness’

Two moments:
1. Registration – capture sample, extract features, create reference/biometric code (hash)
2. Live operation – capture sample, extract freatures, create code, retrieve stored code and compare!!!
– problems with accuracy and false positives – what comes to my mind is the case of Shirley McKie, for example (false positive, or better, a lack of proper judgment from the specialists involved)

The use of “User Psychology Index” to compare theoretical performance vs real performance. You can check some sample images from a software that does that.

Biometric matching is not an exact science…

Where to use? everything? security? convenience only?
Who the biometrics belongs to? Americans say it theirs, a person say that is theirs. So depends who holds it/the information, who will decide how is going to be used? Should a biometric be covertly? (here he gave an example of people watching a big screen and the screen scanned the ‘biometrics’ and started to show information on screen according to analysis on the public / face recognition (male/female, age, etc).)

Because it is biometric doesn’t mean that is correct.

Enrollment procedure very important. Establishin and identity, template quality (if the quality is bad, you can have bad data), user instruction, etc.
Be extra careful about exception handling; repudiation; and use of biometric forensics.

Ideas, new frontiers…

  • Biometrics in the cloud – (my personal reaction: “aaaaaaaaaaahhhh”)
  • Federated identities – implications for the registration process, who owns them? who services them? WHO MAINTAINS THE DIRECTORY OF BIOMETRICS?
  • Aligntment with profiles, privileges, location, device and other factors.
  • Virtualised environments and identity measures

Brave new world
Do we want the William Shakespeare version of it?

O, wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in’t!
The Tempest (V, i)

OR these other verions:
Aldus Huxley, George Orewell, H.G. Wells

Final conclusion

Maybe is a good time to take a fresh look at what we might achieve with this technology.

  • Re-statement of relevance (where to use),
  • best practices around the systems integration,
  • clarity around privacy, ownership and data protection (on an international scale).
  • Clarity of purpose with respect to large scale public sector applications (and communication)

Book suggestion (same author): Guide to Biometrics for Large-Scale Systems – ISBN 978-0-85729-466-1

The Python Scripting Language by Bruce Beckles (e-Science specialist)

Did some interviews to academics/students/staff to identify what they need in computing support.
Answers: basic programming skills, easy access to libraries (not reinvent the wheel), lack of time (scientists, not programmers), return of investment.
Then, repeated the interview to social science and answers were the same/similar.

Why python?

  • good first language – match basic programming skills
  • loads of libraries available
  • ‘instant gratification’ because is interpreted
  • strict about syntax
  • object oriented
  • does its own garbage collection
  • dynamically typed/strongly typed

Common ‘academic’ libraries:
NumPy – numerical python
SciPy – scientific python –

There is a Python Package Index – – that could help in finding the package you might need.


the capacity of being everywhere or in all places at the same time

Python everywhere: OS, types of application, disciplines, people

Alternative Implementations

  • CPython – bytecode interpreter
  • IronPython .net
  • Jython – Java
  • Stackless – Branch of CPython supporting microthreads

Where used?
Many places/projects, a few examples:

  • Eve Online – multiplayer online game, written in stackless python
  • Web apps – Django, turbogears, Zope/Plone,
  • Graphical applications in Linux are written in Python
  • Glade – gui builder written in Python, can be use to create GUI
  • Robots:PyVISA and PySerial
  • Embedded systems — mesh network
  • Written in Python:
    • Gutenkarte – book catalog
    • PyArchint – excavatioon management tool
    • Pleiades – cartographic framework

Integration/interfacing with existing code:
c, c++ > swig > python
fortran > f2py > python
java > jython > python
.net > ironPython > python

Python 2 (still supported for about 3-4 years), slowly the most common libraries are being converted to Python 3

Suggested links:
Python, an introduction to Computer Science –
Cambridge Computing Service Python course

Challenge for Computer SVCS in HE by Tom Mortimer

UCISA – Conferences, training sessions, lobbing in all UK universities

Top concerns:
1 – ongoing funding and sustainable resourcing of IT
2 – delivering services under sever financial constraint (new concern compared to 2008)
3 – providing a quality, resilent service (structure of service)
4 – IT strategy and planning
5 = business systems to support the institution
5 = organisational change and process improvement
7 – IT/IS service quality (delivery of the service)
8 = benchmarking, costing and value for money (new concern compared to 2008) – 2011 meeting – Know your numbers
8 = mobile computing, anytime, anywhere computing, home working (new concern compared to 2008) 2011 meeting done by Paul Golding
10 = cloud, managed services and alternative service delivery models (new concern compared to 2008)
10 = use of technology in teaching
12 – governance of IT

Concerns that are ‘out’: environmental and energy and data centres (feel that these concerns were ‘dealt with’)

Iceberg example (12% above water, 88% below)

How IT spend money: 5-15% transform, 5-15% grow, 70-90% run the business
IT expenditure – driven by business needs and funding pressures

Ideally increase percentages of transformation and growth to up to 40% and reduce the running of the business to 60% through resources and funding.

Multi-platform Mobile Apps by Greg Jennings (IT manager – Hertford College)

Started with DVDs for things about Hertford. Film, sound track with orchestra, 20000 cds over the years….
But to reduce costs and look ‘in the loop of technology’ they decided to invest in mobile apps. Starting with iOS then add one another platform per year.

Phonegap – framework for making apps. Don’t need to relarn Object C, can design for many platforms (symbian, iOS, #Blackberry, etc…)
What phonegaps gives you: accelerometer, geolocation, etc…

What you will need: html + css + phonegap + device + SDK
Starting from iOS/android – they limited their project to 50hs development if it was to be longer than that they would scratch the idea.
Phonegap, jQTouch – free

How to start
Design – keep it simple, design on paper first (useful article, not included on the ICTF, if you like wireframing, I highly recommend Balsamiq mockups)
XCode, – (xcode3 is quite nicer, but xcode4 is the way to go now…), Phonegap, JQTouch (get the whole bundle except the demos, they are too big)

Basic index.html

hello world, you can go here or there
this is here
this is there

Images are usually PNGa

PhoneGap Build – compress files into a zip and upload it don’t need to use multiple compiles

Testing – repeat the process many times, get tested on simulator, get tested on devices, etc

Publishing – screenshots, icons, descriptions, android self sign or tun off trusted sources – apple requires a registered CA or development device (ad hoc, jail broken, b2b) – android market updates happen synchronously – iTunes take 2 days but 14 days for ‘review’.

The results – iTune connect is poor and is yesterday’s info – iTunes connect is ok, android market is great android app andlytics is great app

Json – why should you use it? it is small/compact/great – why not xml? because doesn’t scale well, too much info you don’t need to know.

Building a search – mysql back end, php ‘fuzzy’ query page, separate page lookup.html within the app for ease of writing – what we wanted it to do: either retain user details or do a look up of anyone’s details. (this part I missed a bit, so it may clarify when I get an update with the presenter’s slides)


Green Open data & sustainability by Alex Dutton and Howard Noble

Main idea: check how much saving happens with people turning off their pc before going home. Also, making this data available so people get aware of it.

Meter data is open at Oxford

Problem with efergy – smart metering – might help in the begining but once you don’t have more reduction people will get bored and start to consume more.

Ways of presenting the information to people:

  • Graph A-G rating (like the refrigerator scale)
  • Are we saving energy? NO, 2.7% more than UK.
  • – graph on street
  • Graph with the polar bear sad – not very good for some people
  • Energy dashboard – showing in reception

I urge developers to use to represent electricity as a public good, i.e. help others understand how private consuption has public ramifications. Help reduce the ignorance that propelling us to a tragedy of the commons and/or social injustices with respect to electricity, clean water, air quality, natural gas, nuclear waste, fish stocks…
Please get creative with the University electricity meter readins and help us upload more data sets.

More widgets on website – “how we are doing”
Tags/barcodes on bins to weight how much is reclyclable or not

Apple Technology Update by Stuart Anderson

OS X Lion is the new release (the new big cat) has 250+ new features as:

  • muti-touch gestures
  • full-screen apps
  • mission control
  • mac app store
  • launchpad
  • resume and auto save
  • versions
  • mail with ‘conversations’ (which looks a lot like the google mail already
  • server

Voices downloaded as needed; no printer drivers, just download when necessary; accessibility inherited – if you have a mac desktop then you can connect an iphone, ipad to it and it will inherit your accessibility features (hi-contrast, or color scheme for example).

  • File vault – encrypt your home folder
  • iCal has colouring code for slots that are too busy (a way to show you that you shouldn’t add any more opinion)
  • Launchpad – applications organised by category
  • Search – faster
  • Networking – you can wake up a specific drive for backup without having to wake up all drives automatically, they support DFS now
  • Preview – can open word documents in Preview
  • Privacy – location data, who can use
  • QuickTime Player – share directly to Flickr and Facebook
  • Resume – resume the whole state of the computer
  • Safari – loads of features, populating email
  • Screen Sharing – can see under the hood not only screen itself
  • Spotlight search – gives a preview while scrolling on the list
  • System – general system: can import everything from Windows machine, AppleID
  • Text – improving on the entering too
  • TextEdit – revert to other version (only the final version)???
  • Time machine – not always have to be online, back it up daily just syncronyse when you are online
  • Version – browse between versions of your document, nice interface
  • Resize from the corners (in Windows for ages, but now in Mac)
  • Multiple desktops (Linux has for ages)
  • Integrated Mac Store
  • AirDrop (friends around can receive documents without worrying about network configuration)
  • Mail Server 3 – beautifully design interface (finally)

iOS 5 200+ features

  • notification cente
  • newstand
  • reminder
  • twitter integrated
  • faster safari
  • reader – get the ‘clutter’ out of the way, just show content
  • photo – accessible from main
  • split keyboard to make it easier to type
  • share with the TV: show on tv what you are seeing on the iPad (you need an Apple TV for that)


  • content in all devices
  • 5GB free storage
  • itunes in the cloud
  • photo stream (+apple tv)
  • apps, books, documents and backup
  • contacts, calendar and mail (
  • iCloud API
  • available in full this autumn

Sense and Sendability – Novel Mobile Devices for the Future by Lyndsay Williams

My personal comment on this presentation: very amusing, this woman did LOADS, and some very creative things!!! Hard to describe in words… well, some of her inventions:

  • Camera to take pictures of room when a person crosses a door, the door frame gives a very different change in shadow: to aid people with memory problems.
  • SenseSurface – Knob to adjust volume on lcd screen but real 3d experience
  • Hand tracker for mobile phones
  • Detection of tremor of someone having epilepsy (hand sensor detector)
  • Thrill chip – record and replay skin sensations, touch, replay feeling with skin actuators like chill, heat, nerve stimulation –
  • Microsoft GyroTablet handheld computer with motion detection

Please have a look on her slide presentation – found on her website – it has links to youtube videos with demonstration of the technologies…