Events: 2011 Archive

Past events from the Berkshire branch are listed below. Warning: This page contains historical data and some links may be broken

External event, Monday 14th November 2011 – 19:30 -19:30

Café Scientifique – Regulation of Medicine at
Déjà vu Bar and Eatery
14/11/2011

We all use medical services at some time in our lives, usually from the very first day! But how is medicine regulated? To find out come along to the Déjà vu Bar and Eatery, 61 St. Mary’s Butts, Reading, RG1 2LG. For more details see the Café Scientifique website.



  • Public event, Tuesday 15th November 2011 – 19:30 -19:30

    The Cyborg Experiments with Kevin Warwick at
    The Outlook (formerly Copa)
    15/11/2011

    Kevin Warwick will talk about creating biological brains for robots, enhancing humans and ameliorating some neural illnesses. Downstairs in the Copa bar, Reading.



  • External event, Tuesday 22nd November 2011 – 20:00 -20:00

    Second Life Night at
    BCS Office in Second Life
    22/11/2011

    Meet at the virtual BCS office. Talk about sensible stuff then move on to a secret location to mess about a bit and have fun! The secret location will be notified to all members of the Second Life group BCS The Chartered Institute for IT and will be announced at the virtual BCS meeting.



  • Member event, Tuesday 6th December 2011 – 19:00 -19:00

    AGM and Christmas Party at
    The Outlook (formerly Copa)
    06/12/2011

    Come along to the Copa Bar, Reading, and hear what your Committee and Council have done for you in the past year. Vote in the elections for a new Committee. Better still, contact the Chair to volunteer to take part in our Committee next year. Do it now! Any help you can offer is really useful. If you have Public Relations skills then we can give you a great opportunity to build up recognition of the Berkshire Branch within the local community. Be part of the team that makes Berkshire great! Join the campaign GB GB – Great Berkshire in Great Britain



  • External event, Tuesday 6th December 2011 – 19:30 -19:30

    Responses to Global Climate Change, follow up By Vic Michalak at
    Science Circle Building in Second Life
    06/12/2011

    This event is organised by theScience Circle and takes place in the Science Circle Building in Second Life. The Science Circle organises an event every first Tuesday of the month and every third Saturday, both at 11.30 Second Life Time.



  • External event, Monday 12th December 2011 – 19:30 -19:30

    Café Scientifique – Ice Warrior: a modern day explorer at
    Déjà vu Bar and Eatery
    12/12/2011

    Meet the ice warrior in the Déjà vu Bar and Eatery, 61 St. Mary’s Butts, Reading, RG1 2LG. For more details see the Café Scientifique website.



  • Public event, Tuesday 13th December 2011 – 09:00 -17:00

    Lean Quality Assurance: free two day course at
    BCS London Office
    13/12/2011

    Smart ways to get quality that are more effective and cheaper than testing. For professionals in employment or currently working as contractors. Venue: BCS, 5 Southampton Street, London, WC2E 7HA. Applications for places are to be sent directly to Tom Gilb, giving the details of the course you want to attend, your employment status, and why you are interested in the course. Download full details of the course.

    The BCS Quality SG is sponsoring free training for people who qualify as ‘unemployed’ (no job currently, seeking a position) or ‘underemployed’ (freelance consultants) as they might have the time and motivation to upgrade their skills.



  • Public event, Tuesday 13th December 2011 – 18:30 -19:30

    Social Night at
    The Outlook (formerly Copa)
    13/12/2011 – 14/12/2011

    Downstairs in the Outlook bar, Reading (formerly Copa). Get the low down on local opportunities. Bring a friend and have a good time with the the Young Professionals Group (YPG) and Social Tech. Stay on for Reading Geek Night.



  • External event, Tuesday 13th December 2011 – 19:30 -22:00

    Reading Geek Night at
    The Outlook (formerly Copa)
    13/12/2011 – 14/12/2011

    An eclectic evening of talks and conversation around technology, media, making, design and general geekery. Check out the rest of the programme for the night then pop in to the downstairs bar in the Copa bar, Reading.



  • Public event, Wednesday 14th December 2011 – 09:00 -17:00

    Project and System Level Requirements Specification free two day course at
    BCS London Office
    14/12/2011

    For professionals in employment or currently working as contractors. Venue: BCS, 5 Southampton Street, London, WC2E 7HA. Applications for places are to be sent directly to Tom Gilb, giving the details of the course you want to attend, your employment status, and why you are interested in the course.

    How to communicate your organisation’s ‘real’ requirements, and your customer’s most critical improvement requirements, in an unambiguous, clear, measurable, and testable way. Download a more detailed description of the course.

    The BCS Quality SG is sponsoring free training for people who qualify as ‘unemployed’ (no job currently, seeking a position) or ‘underemployed’ (freelance consultants) as they might have the time and motivation to upgrade their skills.



  • External event, Saturday 17th December 2011 – 19:30 -19:30

    Intro to the science of social networks, by Ari Latour at
    Science Circle Building in Second Life
    17/12/2011

    This event is organised by the Science Circle and takes place in the Science Circle Building in Second Life. The Science Circle organises an event every first Tuesday of the month and every third Saturday, both at 11.30 Second Life Time.



  • Public event, Sunday 18th December 2011 – 00:00 -00:00

    test event – please ignore at
    BCS Office in Second Life
    18/12/2011

  • Public Event, Wednesday, 26.10.2011, 14.00, Royal Holloway University of London and Friday 28.10.2011, 10.30, Reading University – The Space Shuttle Thirty Years of Flight, Thirty Years of Lessons Learned: A presentation full of stunning pictures and video highlights from recent shuttle missions, offering firsthand experience of how NASA conducts its operations today. Booking is essential as places are limited. Full event and booking details are on the TeenTech website.

    Public Event, Tuesday, 25.10.2011, 20.00 London Time – Second Life Night: Meet at the virtual BCS office. Talk about sensible stuff then move on to a secret location to mess about a bit and have fun! The secret location will be notified to all members of the Second Life group BCS The Chartered Institute for IT and will be announced at the virtual BCS meeting.

    Toby BreckonPublic Event, Tuesday, 18.10.2011, 19.00 for 19.30 – Cars that see – intelligent sensing for the next generation road vehicles: Downstairs in the Copa bar, Reading.

    Automotive vision is an increasing area within computer vision research for both on and off vehicle applications. Whilst improved driver awareness is an obvious conduit, the greater potential for enhanced sensing within the wider road transport system offers numerous benefits for safety, security and possibly the environment alike.

    Within this domain, this potential comes at the cost of hard constraints in terms of the obvious need for reliability and often real-time performance. However, the ever reducing cost of computation coupled with increasing low-cost sensor capabilities now help drive both research and commercial systems for both on and off vehicle vision systems. This talk comprises of a range of recent research work in this and related domains within the Cranfield research group.

    Toby P. Breckon is currently a Senior Lecturer within the School of Engineering, Cranfield University, U.K. His key research interests lie in the domain of computer vision and image processing and leads several research projects in this area. He led the development of image-based automatic threat detection for the 2008 U.K. MoD Grand Challenge winning team [R.J. Mitchell Trophy, (2008), IET Award for Innovation (2009)] and is 2011 recipient of the RPS Selwyn Award for early-career contribution to imaging science.

    Download the poster for the event and share it with your friends.

    External Event, Monday, 17.10.2011, 19.30 – Café Scientifique – Have I Got Snooze for You? Sleep is something that influences all our lives. From the struggle to get up on Monday mornings to coping with jet-lag, the body has to carefully balance our need to be alert or to be at rest. But how does the brain control this? How much sleep do we really need? Why do flamingos sleep on one leg? This meeting was held at the Déjà vu Bar and Eatery, 61 St. Mary’s Butts, Reading, RG1 2LG. For more details see the Café Scientifique website.

    External Event, Saturday, 16.10.2011, 19.30 London time – Getting off Oil, by Paleo Darwin. This event was organised by the Science Circle and took place in the Science Circle Building in Second Life. The Science Circle organises an event every first Tuesday of the month and every third Saturday, both at 11.30 Second Life Time.

    Private Event, Wednesday 12.10.2011, 9.00 – 15.00 – Careers’ Day at Little Heath School, Tilehurst. Two of the Berkshire Branch Committee attended the careers day and spoke to about 100 individual pupils.

    External Event, Tuesday, 11.10.2011, 19.30 – Reading Geek Night: To celebrate the second birthday of the Reading Geek night the Geeks organised a quiz night, downstairs bar in the Copa bar, Reading.

    Public Event, Tuesday, 11.10.2011, 18.30 – Social Night: Downstairs in the Copa bar, Reading. We had a good chin wag with the Young Professionals Group (YPG) and Social Tech then stayed on for Reading Geek Night.

    External Event, Tuesday, 04.10.2011, 19.30 London time – State of Being (in a Virtual World- the psychology and validity of multiple perspective), by Pamala Clift. This event was organised by the Science Circle and took place in the Science Circle Building in Second Life. The Science Circle organises an event every first Tuesday of the month and every third Saturday, both at 11.30 Second Life Time.

    Member Event, Tuesday, 04.10.2011, 19.00 – Organisation Night: Committee and Council met at the Copa Bar, Reading. Phillip Webb, Chair of the Government Relations Group gave us a presentation on how the BCS maintains relationships with Government. If you would like to get involved in this then do contact us. After the presentation we did all the usual stuff on planning the Branch’s activities. We are keen to promote programming in Berkshire’s schools.

    Public Event, Tuesday, 27.09.2011, 20.00 London Time – Second Life Night: The lights were on but no one was home! Just one avatar teleported in for the Open House meeting at the virtual BCS office, had a quick chat with four avatars preparing for an e-Learning session and then worked on a sofa for the office building.

    External Event, Tuesday, 27.09.2011, 20.00 – RepRap Planning Party: In the Copa bar, Reading. Plans were made for a series of RepRap parties in which participants will build 3D printers that can manufacture many of their own components. This event was organised by the Thames Valley RepRap User Group.

    Public Event, Tuesday, 20.09.2011, 19.00 for 19.30 – Performance Management: Matt Barker, a medal-winning runner, gave an inspirational talk about K2’s mission, which is to ‘help the corporate world to think, prepare and perform like elite athletes’. Matt challenged the usefulness of typical performance management and compared it with the world of highly motivated world-class sports performers and their coaches. He presented a definition of ‘performance’ that acknowledges both human inputs and business outputs. Matt acknowledged, but questioned, the relative value of talent and technical knowledge when it comes to performing at a consistently high level, focusing instead on other factors, of great importance but frequently overlooked. This meeting took place in the Waterhouse Chamber in Reading Town Hall.

    See Matt’s presentation here (PDF – 5.48mb)

    External Event, Saturday, 17.09.2011, 19.30 London time – Human Factors and Aviation Safety, by Julie Bluebird. This event is organised by the Science Circle and took place in the Science Circle Building in Second Life. The Science Circle organises an event every first Tuesday of the month and every third Saturday, both at 11.30 Second Life Time.

    Jane Eyre (2) - Second Life (Berks)Public Event, Friday, 16.09.2011, 20.00 London Time – Scenes from Jane Eyre: A group of English language learners, from Berlin, came to the virtual BCS theatre and put on a play. A robot maid served champagne, scenes were changed by holodeck and, when the play was over, we were treated to a performance of music. About 40 avatars attended throughout the evening.

    Public Event, Wednesday, 14.09.2011, 20.00-22.00 London Time – Second Life Night for BCS eLearning SG: We met at the virtual BCS office and did all the usual introductory stuff, including joining the Second Life group BCS The Chartered Institute for IT. Then we had a terribly erudite discussion, informed by a rather old document on using Second Life in education. For reasons that still escape me, we decided to sit on objects while editing them and came up with rather clunky versions of the flying carpet. Still, a good time was had by all, apart, perhaps, from one of our number who got left on the ground. Sorry about that!

    Public Event, Tuesday, 13.09.2011, 18.30 – Social Night: Downstairs in the Copa bar, Reading. A big turnout tonight of the Young Professionals Group (YPG) and Social Tech. We talked about many things and stayed on for Reading Geek Night. See next:

    External Event, Tuesday, 13.09.2011, 19.30 – Reading Geek Night: An eclectic evening of talks and conversation around technology, media, making, design and general geekery in the Copa bar, Reading.

    Public Event, Monday, 12.09.2011, 14.00-16.00 London Time – Second Life Afternoon for BCS Hampshire Branch: Avatars from the Hampshire Branch met at the virtual BCS office, had an introduction to Second Life, joined the Second Life group BCS The Chartered Institute for IT, and had an interesting time. We went to the disco, museum, and theatre on the BCS island and discussed how Second Life can be used for eLearning.

    2nd life hantsPublic Event, Monday, 12.09.2011, 14.00-16.00 London Time – Second Life Afternoon for BCS Hampshire Branch: A handful of avatars met at the virtual BCS office and joined the Second Life group BCS The Chartered Institute for IT. We visited the disco, beach bar, museum and theatre. We tried a little building and scripting in the sandbox and the BCS teaching plot then went site seeing in Second Life.

    External Event, Monday, 12.09.2011, 19.30 – Café Scientifique – Can’t win; can’t draw; can’t stop playing! Using functional imaging to map cancer. One in three people will get cancer so this talk, in the Déjà vu Bar and Eatery, 61 St. Mary’s Butts, Reading, was relevant to many people. See the Café Scientifique website.

    External Event, Tuesday, 06.09.2011, 19.30 London time – Why is mathematics hard to learn? by Deep Thinker: It is a common claim that children avoid mathematics and science because these subjects are hard to learn. Teachers have bemoaned this situation for years; new methods for teaching mathematics and science come and go, but the issue persists. A group of avatars explored this issue through the stories of how the members of the Science Circle managed to overcome the mathematics hurdle. This event was organised by the Science Circle and took place in the Science Circle Building in Second Life. The Science Circle organises an event every first Tuesday of the month and every third Saturday, both at 11.30 Second Life Time.

    Member Event, Tuesday, 06.09.2011, 19.30 Organisation Night: Committee and Council met at Oracle. Steve Lamb, Senior Director of Oracle, gave a presentation on Leadership in Society, describing how Oracle engages with social objectives. For example, Oracle gives Comic Relief access to Oracle databases delivered via the cloud. For most of the year there are very few transactions, but for about two months there are up to 400 transactions per second. No organisation could afford to meet such peak demand without the cloud and Oracle gives the databases free of charge to Comic Relief. Keith Polhill discussed how Thames Valley’s Café Scientifique and Berkshire BCS might work more closely together. We already cross advertise events and will explore the exchange of speakers at events. Then we got down to the ordinary stuff of organising events, managing budgets and such like.

    External Event, Saturday, 20.08.2011, 19.30 London time – Fake It ‘Til You Make It, by Vic Michalak. This event was organised by the Science Circle and took place in the Science Circle Building in Second Life. The Science Circle organises an event every first Tuesday of the month and every third Saturday, both at 11.30 Second Life Time.

    Second Life (Berks branch)

    Public Event, Monday 15.08.2011 19.00 London Time – E-Learning in Second Life: Members of the BCS e-Learning Specialist Group met at the virtual BCS office on the BCS island. Participants were given some basic training in using the SecondLife viewer, or availed themselves of in-world training manuals, before setting off on a guided tour of the island. Highlights of the tour were displays by the Computer Arts Specialist Group, an award winning display of the Bayeux Tapestry, and conference pods which teleported six people into the sky to give the group a good degree of privacy and an excellent view! The island is still under development; when the rough edges have been removed it will be opened up to all BCS Specialist Groups, International Sections, Branches, and members.

    Public Event, Monday 15.08.2011 9.00 – 17.00 – The Introduction to Object Oriented Programming in Java: This event was organised by the BCS Hampshire branch.

    External Event, Tuesday, 09.08.2011, 19.30 – Reading Geek Night: Downstairs bar in the Copa bar, Reading. There were three talks: Beyond the Molecule – Designing the future by Jenny Woods; Young rewired state mentoring by James Marwood; and Build iOS/Android apps with Appcelerator by Ketan Majmudar. This last had a lot of people crowding round his server setup after the talk. This talk was organised by the Reading Geeks.

    Public Event, Tuesday, 09.08.2011, 18.30 – Social Night: Downstairs in the Copa bar, Reading. The Young Professionals Group (YPG) and Social Tech got together for a fun time and then stayed on for Reading Geek Night. See above.

    External Event, Tuesday, 02.08.2011, 19.30 London time – Mammography as an example of population screening: The Good the Bad and the Ugly, by Leandra Kohnke. This event was organised by the Science Circle and took place in the Science Circle Building in Second Life. The Science Circle organises an event every first Tuesday of the month and every third Saturday, both at 11.30 Second Life Time.

    Public Event, Monday 01.08.2011 9.00 – 17.00 – Web 2.0 Technologies: This one-day course introduced some of the newer technologies for building interactive, modern web applications, to server-side web developers. The course covered the essentials of JavaScript, building dynamic and interactive web applications using AJAX, XML as a universal format for data storage and exchange, and the concept of web services and their importance in the increasingly mobile web. This event was organised by the BCS Hampshire branch.

    Second Life - 240711

    Public Event, Sunday, 24.07.2011, 20.00 – Second Life Night: On a balmy Sunday evening in real life, a couple of avatars met at the virtual BCS office. After discussing organisation of the island and CPD training for UK teachers, we set off to take possession of the entire island for the BCS. This turned out to be quite a lot harder than we expected. Most of the plots of land were soon corralled into ownership but where, oh where, were the last couple of thousand square meters? Eventually, we walked along an underwater pipe, fought our way past a giant octopus, ran rings around a crocodile, and found an underground plot of land that housed pirate treasure and the skeletons of the last few avatars who didn’t find the secret tunnel out. Still one thousand square meters to go. Putting our sensible heads on, we tried an quad-tree search of the island using the terrain editing tools and, bingo, the missing plot was right beside the BCS building! The entire island is now safely deeded to the Second Life group BCS The Chartered Institute for IT.

    Public Event, Tuesday, 19.07.2011, 19.00 – CV and Career Clinic: Downstairs in the Copa bar, Reading. There were three short talks, with questions and answers, on CVs, job hunting, and trade unions. See the presentation slides . Then we settled down to an evening of individual feedback sessions on CVs. Margaret Ross also gave a presentation – see the slides here .

    External Event, Saturday, 16.07.2011, 19.30 London time – Nikolai Tesla, by JustHere999 Halostar: This event was organised by the Science Circle and took place in the Science Circle Building in Second Life. The Science Circle organises an event every first Tuesday of the month and every third Saturday, both at 11.30 Second Life Time.

    External Event, Tuesday, 12.07.2011, 19.30 – Reading Geek Night: An eclectic evening of talks and conversation around technology, media, making, design and general geekery. Downstairs bar in the Copa bar, Reading. The talk on high-tech start ups was really good! Let’s have a longer version some time.

    External Event, Monday, 11.07.2011, 19.30 – Blurring the boundaries? This Reading Café Scientifique event took place in the Déjà vu Bar and Eatery.

    Public Event, Tuesday, 12.07.2011, 18.30 – Social Night: Downstairs in the Copa bar, Reading. The Young Professionals Group (YPG) and Social Tech got together then stayed on for Reading Geek Night where they organised a public Skype call with BCS members in the USA.

    External Event, Thursday, 07.07.2011, 19.00 for 19.30 – Engineer’s Question Time: The IET Berkshire Network introduced, for the very first time, an Engineer’s Question Time event. This mimicked the popular BBC Question Time programme with a science & engineering flavour!

    External Event, Tuesday, 05.07.2011, 19.30 London time – What is Dark Matter? – a question posed by Patio Plasma: This event was organised by the Science Circle and took place in the Science Circle Building in Second Life. The Science Circle organises an event every first Tuesday of the month and every third Saturday, both at 11.30 Second Life Time.

    Member Event, Tuesday, 05.07.2011, 19.30 – Organisation Night: Committee and Council met at Oracle. We discussed closer working with Oracle and then organised BCS Branch events up to December. We are looking forward to the summer break, in August, and will be back with a full programme of events in September.

    Public Event, Tuesday 05.07.2011 9.00 – 17.00 – The Introduction to Web Application Development Course: This one-day course introduced the fundamentals of server-side web development to desktop programmers. The course covered the client-server architecture of a web application, server side scripting with PHP, interacting with a MySQL database, and building multi-page web applications and maintaining state using query strings and session variables. This event was organised by the BCS Hampshire branch.

    Public Event, Thursday, 30.06.2011, 14.00, 15.30, 17.00 – Professional Certification Workshop: The workshop was for existing IT professionals who are seeking re-employment in the IT industry and others seeking a career change. The session was introduced by a talk on professional certification, biased towards computer networking. In analysing the IT jobs market it can be seen that many IT vacancies specifically request vendor specific certifications available from organisations such as Cisco, Microsoft, Red Hat, etc. The initial talk highlighted the areas of demand for these types of certification by discussing the UK IT jobs market. It also looked at what they are, how they are structured and how to study for them. A practical workshop followed the talk that concentrated on computer networks and the Cisco certification programme. This event was organised by the BCS Hampshire Branch.

    External Event, Monday 27.06.2011 to Friday 1.07.2011 from 9.30 to 19.00 daily – Book sale at Reading University library: The library sold off unwanted stock, much of it in excellent condition. Children’s fiction books, age 4 to 14, 50p each. Computer books £1.50 each. Politics books £1 each. Books in Italian 50p each.

    Public Event, Monday 27.06.2011 to Tuesday 28.06.2011 – Project and System Level Requirements Specification: How to communicate your organisation’s ‘real’ requirements, and your customer’s most critical improvement requirements, in an unambiguous, clear, measurable, and testable way. This two day training course took place in the BCS London offices.

    Second life

    Public Event, Sunday, 26.06.2011, 20.00 London Time – Second Life Night: The meeting started off, perhaps for the last time, at the virtual BCS offices on the Bangor University campus in Second Life and then moved to Berkshire’s new virtual office on Learn4 Life island. Members of the Second Life group, BCS The Chartered Institute for IT, discussed e-Safety and CPD for UK school teachers, before finishing the installation of the Alan Sutcliffe collection of computer art. The virtual offices still need a lot of work to make them homely, but all BCS members and groups are free to use them now. We will send out direct invitations over the coming months and then have an official opening toward the end of the year.

    Yearning - by Alan Sutcliff (CAS)Public Event, Tuesday, 21.06.2011, 19.00 for 19.30 – Computer Art: Alan Sutcliff and Nick Lambert from the BCS Computer Arts Society Specialist Group gave an illustrated lecture on computer art, downstairs in the Copa bar, Reading. Alan spoke about an algorithm that divides polygons up into, mainly, pentagons. Nick spoke about projecting art onto the inner surface of domes so that viewers are immersed in the art work. There was discussion of the Computer Art Society putting on exhibitions in Berkshire’s virtual office in Second Life. The office does not yet have a permanent home. It is programmed as a holodeck that can be moved from site to site.

    External Event, Saturday, 18.06.2011, 19.30 London time – Ancient Knowledge; Hidden Secrets, presented by Astronomer Somerset: This event was organised by the Science Circle and takes place in the Science Circle Building in Second Life. The Science Circle organises an event every first Tuesday of the month and every third Saturday, both at 11.30 Second Life Time.

    Public Event, Thursday, 16.06.2011, 19.00 for 19.30 London Time – Extreme Parallel Computing -The Man, Machine and the Maths behind it: James Anderson gave a presentation on transmathematics and its application to the Perspex machine. The meeting was organised by the BCS Oxford Branch and took place in Oxford.

    External Event, Tuesday, 14.06.2011, 19.30 – Reading Geek Night: An eclectic evening of talks and conversation around technology, media, making, design and general geekery. Alan Sutcliff talked about computer art as a taster for the BCS event on the 21.06.2011, and there was a talk about 3D printing with a noisy demonstration!

    Public Event, Tuesday, 14.06.2011, 18.30 – Social Night: Downstairs in the Copa bar, Reading. The Young Professionals Group (YPG) and Social Tech did their thing then stayed on for Reading Geek Night.

    External Event, Monday, 13.06.2011, 19.30 – The quantuum and the capitalist: why are we selling science? This Reading Café Scientifique event took place in the Déjà vu Bar and Eatery.

    External Event, Friday, 07.06.2011 – HE Women in IT: The Berkshire Branch womaned a display table at this event for female university students considering a career in IT. The event was held at the Microsoft Campus in Reading.

    External Event, Tuesday, 07.06.2011, 19.30 London time – Global Weather Change, presented by Vic Michalak: This event was organised by the Science Circle and took place in the Science Circle Building in Second Life. The Science Circle organises an event every first Tuesday of the month and every third Saturday, both at 11.30 Second Life Time.

    Public Event, Tuesday, 07.06.2011, 19.30 – Visual Basic User Group: In the Copa Bar, Reading:

    Talk 1: Building Line-of-Business Applications using Microsoft Silverlight. Kiril Matev presented a session covering the process of building a line of business application in Silverlight, including data access, input validation, persistence of user settings, and data visualization. As a Sales Engineer, Kiril blogs on .NET technologies, performs presentations in front of customers and helps them make the most of Infragistics products. Prior to his Sales Engineer role, Kiril has worked as a Web and Windows Forms developer and has a work experience spanning the software development and IT consulting industries.

    Talk 2: User Experience – Why and How. Peter Lindsey discussed the concept of User Experience which spans the ideas of Usability and Human Factors with the emotional response and appeal of visual design. In the current world of ever-increasing digital experience, an understanding of the value of good User Experience is important for all software development project managers. This presentation introduced the tenets of User Experience, and introduced UX Patterns as a resource for software architects and development managers. Peter is the Managing Director of Infragistics Europe, the European office of Infragistics, the world’s leading publisher of presentation layer tools for Microsoft .NET platforms. Prior to joining Infragistics, Peter was the founder of System Science, a UK based reseller of development tools, and latterly the VP of European Marketing for Programmers Paradise. He also founded the UK office of Data Junction (now owned by Pervasive Software). Peter is passionate about great design.

    Member Event, Tuesday, 07.06.2011, 19.00 Organisation Night: Committee and Council met at the Copa Bar, Reading, and discussed future events and the impact of forthcoming budget cuts. The meeting was followed by the Visual Basic User Group.

    Public Event, Wednesday 01.06.2011 to Friday 03.06.2011 – Lean Quality Assurance: Smart ways to get quality that are more effective and cheaper than testing. This free workshop, which was held in London, was supported by BCS HQ and was aimed at computing professionals who are unemployed or underemployed.

    External Event, Thursday, 26.05.2011, 19.00 for 19.30 – A sense of things to come – Access control for the ‘internet of things’: The ‘Internet of Things’ is still a fuzzy concept. From RFIDs to sensor networks, from smart grids to wearable computing, from pervasive sensing to distributed cooperating objects, different people focus on distinct features of what is still an emerging concept. But while the broad overarching ideas are still crystallising, the underlying technologies and applications are quite real and in some cases mature. The presentation provided an overview of the concepts behind the ‘Internet of Things’ and its applications to make sense of the diversity it covers, and then focused more specifically on the problem of access control. This event was organised by the IET and took place at Reading University.

    Member Event, Wednesday, 25.05.2011, 20.00 – Skype Meeting with Members in the USA: Three people got together on Skype to discuss Branch organisation in Berkshire and at the Georgia Institute of Technology. It is hoped to organise further meetings with a wider participation.

    External Event, Wednesday, 25.05.2011, 17.30 – Life Skills – Dealing with difficult situations: There will be certain times that we have to deal with difficult situations or people, which may result in conflict in the workplace. Dealing with these situations can be tricky and also quite stressful. This workshop aims to provide you with the skills to be able to handle conflict in a calm and assertive manner. This event was organised by the IET and took takes place at Reading University.

    Berks branch 2nd life

    Public Event, Tuesday, 24.05.2011, 19.30 London Time – Second Life Night: After a major hiccup, the foundation stone of our new virtual BCS office was laid or, Second Life being what it is, the foundation plywood box was laid. Future meetings will start at the new office – once it has walls and a ceiling. Members of the BCS are very welcome to help with the build and furnishing. When finished, the building will be open for all BCS groups to use.

    External Event, Tuesday, 24.05.2011, 20.00 Stand-Up Maths: Comedian and mathematician Matt Parker mixed his two passions with hilarious, statistically accurate results. As heard on Radio4’s Infinite Monkey Cage, Matt covered his favourite bits of mathematics. This event was organised by the Oakford Social Club, 53 Blagrave Street, Reading RG1 1PZ. Tel: 0118 957 3500.

    External Event, Saturday, 21.05.2011, 19.30 London time – Does location matter any more, or does it not? What is happening to our concepts of space as a result of our participation in virtual worlds? – a question posed by Jadyn Firehawk: This event was organised by the Science Circle and took place in the Science Circle Building in Second Life. The Science Circle organises an event every first Tuesday of the month and every third Saturday, both at 11.30 Second Life Time.

    Public Event, Wednesday, 18.05.2011, 19.00 – Behaviour Driven Development: Ian Cooper gave a talk about Behaviour Driven Development (or BDD) in the Copa bar in Reading. This is an Agile software development technique that encourages collaboration between developers, QA and non-technical or business participants in a software project. It was originally named in 2003 by Dan North as a response to Test Driven Development, and to Framework for Integrated Tests concepts, from the Customer Test practice in Extreme Programming.

    Ian Cooper has over 18 years of experience delivering Microsoft platform solutions in government, healthcare, and finance. During that time he has worked for the DTi, Reuters, Sungard, Misys and Beazley delivering everything from bespoke enterprise solutions to ‘shrink-wrapped’ products to thousands of customers. Ian is a passionate exponent of the benefits of OO and Agile. He is test-infected and contagious. When he is not writing C# code he is also the founder of the London .NET user group.

    External Event, Monday, 16.05.2011, 19.30 – Do we need ergonomically designed products in our lives? This Reading Café Scientifique event took place in the Déjà vu Bar and Eatery.

    Public Event, Tuesday, 10.05.2011, 18.30: Reading Geek Night in the Copa bar in Reading. Reading Geeks, the Young Professionals Group (YPG) and Social Tech listened to three talks. First up was a talk about the Hackspace Foundation and how to be a hacker. This covered everything from making hardware and software through arts and the crafts. Second up was a heterarchical database and third talk was about internet communications.

    External Event, Tuesday, 10.05.2011, 19.00 for 19.30 – Kinect – You are the Controller: The IET held a talk on the Microsoft Kinect. The current generation of gaming systems has seen a massive explosion of non-traditional control paradigms, from motion tracking controllers to the multi-finger gestures and swipes of mobile games. Microsoft’s Kinect for Xbox 360 goes a step further offering, for the first time, controller-free gaming through full-body skeletal tracking without the need for a motion tracking studio or a suit covered in ping-pong balls. The talk examined the technology behind Kinect and looked at the challenges and opportunities of gaming in a world where a gamepad is nowhere to be seen.

    Member Event, Tuesday, 03.05.2011, 19.30 Organisation Night: Committee and Council met at Oracle. Mandy Nicol, VP, made a presentation on Oracle’s involvement with schools throughout the world. There was discussion of forthcoming Branch events and some succession planning. Due to employment commitments, a new Secretary is needed from September and a new Chair may be needed. Do contact the present Chair if you are interested in fulfilling either of these roles.

    Second Life Night

    Public Event, Tuesday, 26.04.2011, Second Life Night: A small number of Avatars met at the virtual BCS offices on the Bangor University campus in Second Life. We talked about having a dedicated location for the BCS in Second Life. Then, instead of teleporting to a secret location to have fun, we spoke about video recording in the Windows operating system and, as our international guest was curious on these matters, we discussed the political and geographical structure of the UK, our constitutional monarchy, and the forthcoming royal wedding. All this was fun, too. The members of the Second Life Group: BCS The Chartered Institute for IT are an accommodating lot. Join us some time.

    Andy Piper

    Public Event, Tuesday, 19.04.2011, 19.00 for 19.30 – Connecting a Smarter Planet. The Silverthorne Room in Reading Town Hall. Andy Piper, Consulting IT Specialist at IBM’s Hursley Development Laboratories, gave an enthusiastic talk to a very small audience on the key aspects to enabling smarter working and a Smarter Planet. As computing devices get cheaper, smaller and more powerful, the traditional view of messaging is changing, and the boundaries of messaging networks are being pushed further and further. There is a need to get messages to and from new kinds of client devices: from terminals and small server devices, through hand-held devices like smart phones and PDAs, down to sensors, and tiny embedded devices. Andy described some of the innovations that have come from that Hursely laboratory and are now being implemented around the world.

    Public Event, Tuesday, 19.04.2011, 18.30 – Launch of the virtual BCS Offices in SecondLife: The Chester and North Wales Branch was to run a simultaneous event in Second Life and at the University of Chester, in real life, to officially open the virtual BCS Office. Sadly, the event was cancelled, at short notice, due to a bereavement.

    Alan Turing statueMember Event, Sunday, 17.04.2011, Bletchley Park Tour: BCS representatives took a day trip to Bletchley Park and the National Computing Museum in Milton Keynes. Arriving at 10.30am, we were given a guided tour of the surrounding buildings and a comprehensive history of how the capturing of the German Enigma machines reduced the war by, perhaps, 2 years. Lunch was also included in our day, before a quick tour around the National Computing Museum and seeing a working example of the world’s first computer, Colossus. The trip was enjoyed by everyone, with many stating that they would definitely return again to see all that Bletchley has to offer. More comments and photos can be found at the meetup website we used to organise the event.

    External Event, Wednesday, 13.04.2011, 14.30 for 15.00 – Inventech: Are you starting a business for yourself? Or are you working in a new business unit within your company? Or are you leading a new project within your company? Then this event was for you. We aim to inspire, encourage and advise would-be entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and innovators with new / novel technology ideas in electronics hardware, software and application engineering, who want to turn their ideas into successful commercial ventures. This event was run by the Berkshire IET.

    Public Event, Tuesday, 12.04.2011, 18.30 – Reading Geek Night: Copa bar in Reading. More talks with the Reading Geeks, the Young Professionals Group (YPG) and Social Tech.

    External Event, Monday, 11.04.2011, Fusion: Powering the Future? Imagine an energy source that uses water as its fuel; that produces no carbon emissions; that is safe; and will last potentially millions of years? That is nuclear fusion – the power source of the Sun and stars – and it could be closer than you think to becoming a reality. This Reading Café Scientifique event, like all of their events, was presented in the round, without the benefit of audio visual equipment. Dr Chris Warwick, form the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, made good use of limes from the bar to illustrate neutrons in the fusion of tritium and deuterium. Mind you, members of the audience remembered stories of nuclear fusion in the 1950s and how it would be commercially feasible in twenty years’ time. Chris offered us the same thing – commercial fusion power in twenty years’ time. I’ll have to wait for the power, but I’ll have the gin, now, Chris – and can you spare a lime?

    2nd LifeExternal Event, Saturday, 09.04.2011 – Leveraging Virtual Professional Networks: The Science Circle described its work setting up and running a virtual university in Second Life. The university is hosted on Second Life property owned by members of the Science Circle Board. It has over one hundred volunteer teachers who are university teachers in real life. They offer a wide range of classes and also have formal presentations on the first Tuesday of the month and informal discussions on the third Saturday of the month. Both events take place at 11.30 Second Life Time, which is currently 19.30 London Time, but varies according to daylight saving in California and the rest of the world! The events take place in the Science Circle Building.

    Member Event (07.04.2011) – Are you MBCS but not Chartered? Funmi Adeusi, Chair of London Central Branch, started proceedings by introducing the speakers. Adam Thilthorpe, BCS HQ, gave a talk on “Professionalism + relevancy,” Keith Taylor, Fellow CEng FBCS CITP Panel Fellow Chairman / BCS Assessor gave a talk on “Overview of process + requirements for CITP” and Mike Underwood CEng CSci FBCS CITP Assessor gave a talk on “Overview of process + requirements for CEng/Csci.” At the end there was a question and answer session. Jannette Bolton, Membership Team Leader, and Jon Jefferies, Membership Team Advisor, both from HQ, joined the panel. The meeting was well-attended by more than 80 delegates. Read the presentation slides or listen to an audio recording of this event.

    Mike Underwood

    Member Event (05.04.2011) – Member Groups Convention: Anthony Parker, James Anderson, and Mike Underwood attended the national Member Groups convention. James gave a talk about recent successes in the Berkshire Branch and Mike was awarded a BCS Certificate of Appreciation. The picture shows Mike holding the certificate and a scroll, with a bust of Charles II in the background. The award citation was as follows:

    Janette Bolton, Membership Assessor Team Leader

    Mike Underwood has performed the role of Membership Assessor for all chartered registrations and fellowship for the past several years. We have depended on Mike’s contribution to enable us to deliver effective and timely assessment processes as well as good guidance and training for our assessors.

    Mike has regularly contributed to the continuous improvement of our guidance and processes and has regularly attended Engineering Council workshops and meetings both internal to BCS and at Engineering Council when requested.

    Mike’s contribution to the development of an eLearning programme for Engineering and Science Council has been absolutely key. Mike dedicated a great deal of time and effort to translating our guidance, documentation and processes into a format which could be used for the purposes of an eLearning training programme. This piece of work has been invaluable in enabling us to deliver an eLearning course to our trainee assessors which will complement that which has been developed for CITP.

    Mike has made a valuable and significant contribution.

    Jon Jeffery, Membership Operations Assessment Advisor:

    As one of the few CSci, CEng, CITP and Fellowship members, Mike has been able to take a holistic approach to assessment activity and take a broad view on assessment practices.

    Mike has been instrumental in facilitating the Science Council revalidation process, as one of only two CSci registered assessors Mike has been responsible for revalidating 50% of the BCS registered Chartered Scientists.

    To reiterate Jannette’s comments, Mike has played a key role in the development of Engineering Council and Science Council eLearning. Along with BCS staff he has contributed using his holistic knowledge and has helped develop an eLearning programme which takes engineering council and science council assessor recruitment into the 21st century. His expertise has helped ensure that BCS have a programme in place to recruit a new group of assessors.

    Member Event (05.04.2011) Organisation Night: Committee and Council met at the Copa Bar, Reading.

    Public Event (31.03.2011) – Tip Top IT: Some of the UKtech50 leaders, announced in Computer Weekly in November 2010, spoke about what it takes to be a top UK IT influencer in today’s challenging UK environment.

    External Event (30.03.2011) – Energy Debate: Do we have enough energy; is it secure? This debate was run by the Berkshire Branch of the IET.

    Second Life - 280311

    Public Event (28.03.2011) – Second Life Night: The last of the Second Life programming events too place on Lern4Life island. The time was spent debugging scripts, texturing hollow objects, and figuring out the rules governing where an avatar sits on a primitive. The evening ended with a visit to a builders yard to pick up a few thousand free megaprims and to have a look at what accomplished builders can achieve. The lights shown here respond to an avatar’s touch, just like touch lights do in the real world!

    Public Event (23.03.2011) – Tackling Redundancy: Our neighbour, BCS Hampshire, got together with Southampton Solent University to run a workshop on employees rights and the processes of redundancy.

    Berks branch 2nd life

    Public Event (22.03.2011) – Second Life Night: We met at the virtual BCS offices on the Bangor University campus in Second Life and talked about TeenTech, Reading Geek Night, Oracle, building objects in Second Life and scripting in Second Life. Then we went to Soho in Second Life and had a good time. Join us in the Second Life Group: BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.

    Public Event (22.03.2011) – Blueprint for Green Print: During Climate Week there was a special series of talks and a panel discussion on environmentally friendly printing. This event was organised by the School of Computing, IT and Engineering at the University of East London and by the BCS Green IT Specialist Group.

    Public Event (21.03.2011) – IBM Smarter Planet: Five IBM staff ran a workshop at Park House School on the Smarter Planet scheme. The purpose of the workshop was to provide teachers with added context to lessons. It was the first pilot of fifteen workshops that are to be run across the country. It involved a discussion of the history of IBM and the way in which the future will be tackled in a smarter way to create a greener planet to counter balance problems with the economy. The impact of Watson was discussed and its ability to tackle the age old problem of natural language processing. IBM also provided details of the sort of candidates and skills they are looking for in employees. Examples of resources that IBM offer to teachers were demonstrated. Teachers discussed how they could build Smarter Planet projects into the curriculum.

    Scratch

    Public Event (21.03.2011) – Second Life Night: The third of four workshops on programming with Scratch for Second Life hit the rocks! There was a general problem with Second Life that prevented some logins. I was the only one who made it so I amused myself by building a flying saucer! I used technique we learned in the first two workshops. A helpful passer by gave me some useful tips on building and scripting. At one point I teleported off to a scripting site to get more help. – James Anderson

    Special Event (18.03.2011) – TeenTech: During national science week, BCS Berkshire and Oracle supported the TeenTech exposition at the Madejski stadium. The event was attended by 300 local school pupils and their teachers.

    Public Event (16.03.2011) – Second Life Meeting on Computing for the Blind: The meeting took place in the virtual world of Second Life on Learn4Life island. Blind students attended as a collective with a sighted person taking principal charge of the avatar. A great deal of very specific detail was exchanged on the teaching and learning of computing at University, College and Secondary School. However some broad themes were identified:

    • Every blind student is unique, because each is a unique person and because each person’s visual impairment and compensatory skills are unique. Consequently it is important to consult each blind person about appropriate accessibility arrangements. The RNIB are extremely helpful.
    • Some blind people think visually and use diagrams, annotated with brail, to design computing systems. Many think linguistically. Most have excellent memory.
    • Some blind people like to learn visual and graphical programming to test the boundaries of their abilities. The results are usually significantly below the level of achievement of sighted programmers but it can be an important learning experience.
    • It is important for blind people to learn brail because it is used in public places and on the packaging of dangerous items and medicines. It is part of the culture of blind people.
    • Traditional brail is arranged as characters with 2 columns of 3 dots, giving 6 bits of information. Modern brail has 2 columns of 4 dots to make it compatible with 8-bit computer characters. There are several brail encodings, including one for mathematics.
    • Electronic brail readers present one line of 80 characters. Having one line makes indenting code pointless; having just 80 characters puts extreme pressure on programmers to adopt short variable names. Such code is difficult for sighted people to access. Sighted people benefit from re-formatting the code with a syntax directed formatter.
    • Brail writers are not portable.
    • An electronic brail page would be highly desirable but none is available. As a single line of electromechanical brail costs in the range £1,500 to £6,000, a page format is not affordable with current technology.
    • Many blind people access machine-readable text via electronic voice spoken at very high speeds. Such systems are used as screen readers on computer displays and to access text messages, email and websites on mobile phones. Very few mobile phones are accessible to the blind.
    • Many visual GUIs are inaccessible. By contrast, text editors and compilers are accessible. Languages which require indentation or which distinguish between spaces and tabs are difficult to use – often requiring a brail dump to debug the input format.
    • Some blind people enjoy playing on-line games with sighted friends or strangers. Games with good auditory feedback are particularly appreciated. Mouse input, especially with a high degree-of-freedom mouse, makes gaming more accessible. Force-feedback would be highly desirable, as would ambisonic input and output if it allowed blind users to echolocate.
    • The blind students at the meeting demonstrated awesome skills, navigating an avatar in an auditory field with just a few minutes practice; though there were predictable mishaps as Second Life is not well adapted to blind users. Now a Second Life joke, “We’re not Griefers, we’re blind!”

    Public Event (15.03.2011) – Visual Basic User Group (VBUG): Martin Beeby from Microsoft gave a talk in the Copa Bar about his experience of creating the UKTechDays website. This is currently hosted on two servers, but is scalable to many servers on Microsoft’s cloud platform, Azure. The website’s content is managed with Umbraco, an open source content management system.

    Public Event (14.03.2011) – Second Life Night: Leon Cynch demonstrated methods for attaching media to objects in the virtual world of Second Life. We displayed live web pages and You Tube videos on objects. We used collaboration software to write shared documents in real time. These facilities allow people in Second Life to interact with web users outside Second Life. Leon invited everyone to explore the facilities offered by Learn4Life island.

    Public Event (08.03.2011): Reading Geek Night: About fifty people gathered in the Copa bar in Reading to hear three talks. First, Open Source tools to support the writing of training manuals. Second, creating an e-book for the iPad. Third, knitting.

    Second Life - 070311Public Event (07.03.2011) – Second Life Night: Leon Cynch demonstrated visual programming using MIT’s Scratch for Second Life and Scratch for Open Sim. The meeting took place in Second Life at Learn4Life island. Participants learned how to create Second Life objects, how to texture and colour them, and how to attach simple scripts that respond when the object is touched.

    Member Event (01.03.2011) – Organisation Night: Andy Boulton, Vice President of Oracle and Head of Customer Services, UK, Ireland & Israel, made a presentation to the BCS Berkshire Committee and representatives from Oracle. Oracle is a major supplier of database applications and secure database storage. Preetam Heeramun, from the Executive Committee of TeenTech, made a presentation on the exhibition for teenagers which will take place in the Madejski Stadium this month. Both Oracle and BCS Berkshire will operate stands at TeenTech. There was also discussion about the forthcoming trip to Bletchley Park and the possibility of cross-advertising local IET and BCS events. Members are welcome to attend the Organisation Nights in the Copa Bar and at Oracle, but if you want to come to Oracle then contact the Chair.

    Public Event (22.02.2011) – Second Life Night: This was a stealth event – meeting people and scoping out locations for the first of our regular Second Life meetings, starting in March.

    Public Event (08.02.2011) – Reading Geek Night: at the Copa bar in Reading with the Reading Geeks and the Young Professionals Group (YPG). We heard a talk about how the perceptions of technical people and managers differ, especially in relationship to time management. Then we settled into a talk about the good old BBC Micro. We also proposed a trip to the computer museum at Bletchley Park. More on this later.

    Member Event (01.02.2011)Organisation Night: Committee and Council met at the Copa Bar, Reading. We discussed relationships with Berkshire Schools, University Students and Oracle.

    Second Life (1) - 180111Public Event (18.01.2011): The Berkshire branch held its first ever virtual meeting in the world of Second Life. We visited a virtual version of Bangor University where Ted Hughes, also known as Epredator, told us about his experiences presenting virtual technologies to children on the TV programme, The Cool Stuff Collective. We saw still pictures of scenes from the show and browsed a web page that streamed video direct to each participant.

    Epredator demonstrated various ways of enlivening the presentation of information. My most memorable moment was when he picked me up on a box and showed me how to spin myself in space. Though, when he then zoomed around on a motorcycle things did get a little hairy for the other participants. And as for the avatars who had their ears boxed by giant hands, well, they won’t forget that in a hurry!

    Second Life (2) - 180111We had so much fun that we made a Second Life Group, BCSAGD, so that we can easily stay in touch and can get together again some time.

    After all this, I was so worn out that I decided to fly to the castle, where I played the grand piano. A few moments later, I was joined by another participant who played the harp. We had a little jamming session and then dematerialised to take up our ordinary lives in the real world.

    – By Nullity, also known as James Anderson.

    Public Event (11.01.2011): The Young Professionals Group (YPG) social evening, in collaboration with Reading Geek Night, was held on Tuesday 11 January, at 7pm in the Copa Bar, Reading. James Anderson gave a short talk on division by zero. He showed slides from a longer presentation and backed this up with examples from a computer program that implements transcomplex arithmetic. There was also a long discussion of what topics should be presented on future evenings. These ranged from cybersecurity to knitting! Drop the stitch, NOW, and come out with your hands up!

    Member Event (4.1.2011) Committee meets Oracle, by invitation only, from 7.30pm to 9.30pm at the Oracle Corporation Customer Visit Centre – Thames Room, Building 510, Oracle Parkway, Thames Valley Park, Reading, RG6 1RA.

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