Retiring, March 2020 - sorry, you have missed our final public course.
The Coronavirus situation has lead us to suspend public training - which was on the cards anyway, with no plans to resume
Please ask about private 'maintenance' training for Python, Tcl, Perl, PHP, Lua, etc
Happily continuing private consultancy / programming work
Change of balance, of attitude, and of work method
There's a balance which, when tipped, changes one's whole attitude to something.
Laptops have batteries - and that's marvelous because they can be used away from the power source. But when battery life was limited, taking the laptop away from the home / office was something of an expedition, with careful thought given ahead of time to where the next charging hookup point would be, and with computing on long journeys often limited to short(er) sessions rather than being able to use the whole journey as worktime if that was needed. How things change ... yes
I'm delighted to see power points for topping up in some trains, but with the new MacBook Pro and MacBook air, battery life has extended beyond the need to be thinking of where the next charging point is all the time. You may think I'm a bit paranoid in this worry - but please remember that I've always got a spare computer on each course we run, just in case there's a problem with one of them or (more often) an extra delegate asks if he can attend.
Being on line while running a course on a customer's site? At one time that was such a rare luxury, as I won't normally connect my machine inside an organisation's firewall - they are fearful or viruses, etc (for university sites, though, I'll go on the student network). But come the 3G Wireless Router that I wrote about [here]
, and that has been changed - not only can I be on line, but me delegates can too - and that gives us full access to online resources that they really should be familiar with as they'll use them in their daily work. One of the things that disappointed me about the Huawei procust was that it didn't have a battery - so had to be plugged in to work. Only a technical problem really, as I've never needed to use it where it's unpowered. Oh - and I was also concerned about using such an unusual box and one I great difficulty finding out about from the supplier. So I'm delighted to see that Maplin are offering a box from Zoom
that looks like it does the same thing, and with a battery. Provided that the USB modem is suitably recessed (I have to find out), I can see myself using such a box in the future - simply having it switched on in my pack on the train, and saving the awkward, knockable one on the side of the laptop at my seat.
I started doing training when computers were very expensive. "Should we buy another computer to add to our fleet" was a big decision in the earlier days that I was with First Alternative, and our Silicon Graphics courses ran with each computer shared between two delegates as a matter of financial necessity. As hardware costs dropped, it became a point on honor to provide a computer for every delegate to use, and as they than dropped still further - and people now have their own laptops - we're often not call on to provided a system for everyone. Most people prefer to use their own computers anyway, and where two people end up sharing it's because they've chosen to do so - gaining so much from working with each other during the practical sessions. It's interesting to see just how much things have gone full circle.
The tipping of balance changes the attitude. The changing of attitude tips the way we work ... and so much for the better. We come to realise just how much of the way we've done things has been limited by the technology, and we wonder what's likely to change next. (written 2010-11-30, updated 2010-12-04)
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articlesG913 - Well House Consultants - Hardware and Devices 
Setting up your MacBook Air as a mobile broadband router - (2013-07-07) 
Want to learn iPad and iPhone programming? Come along and learn with me for free. - (2012-01-28) 
Away to train - but still around by video for Melksham meetings - (2011-09-25) 
MacBook Air - hardware and system review - (2010-11-17) 
Web page to telephone calls / links using an iPhone - (2010-03-08) 
Camera to record where a picture was taken - (2009-05-18) 
Effect on server when memory runs out and swapping starts - (2009-02-26) 
Huawei D100 Wireless Router - Mobile Internet - (2009-02-10) 
Load Balancing - Hardware or Software? - (2009-01-15) 
What a shock - (2008-10-08) 
Latercomer to the technology - (2007-07-29) 
Hostnames spring forward - (2006-03-02)
Some other Articles
TransWilts Rail News ... Melksham (Santa Special) Edition ... 5th December 2010Royal Wedding. How William and Catherine have changed our schedulePerl 6 - significantly nearer, and Rakudo looks very goodPython through the SnowChange of balance, of attitude, and of work methodRunning a course ... what if the tutor isn't well?Customer Service - the boundaryFinding elements common to many lists / arraysWell House Price list, January to March 2011Belfast, on a cold November evening
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