Rule Changes: Clear-Desk, Desk Rental, and Hazardous Chemical Safety Policy Updates

TL;DR: After going through due process, the desk usage policy has been updated to: explicitly state that un-rented desks should be cleared after use; that members have the right to move equipment left on un-rented desks to communal storage areas; which desks are currently rented/hot-desk/communal; and implementing standard COSHH practices. Continue reading Rule Changes: Clear-Desk, Desk Rental, and Hazardous Chemical Safety Policy Updates

Free Workshop for Secondary Teachers: Introduction to BBC micro:bit

Interested in getting hands experiences on with the BBC micro:bit, due to land in the hands of every Year 8 student in the summer term? Now’s your chance!

Farset Labs will be running a free, hands on “Getting started with the BBC micro:bit” Computing at Schools Northern Ireland Hub workshop on the 10th March 2016 from 6:30pm-9:00pm at Farset Labs.
We will hope to cover
– What is the micro:bit?
– Getting started and making your first programs
– Brief overview of the different programming environments available
– More in depth look at Python on the micro:bit
– Ideas for use in the classroom

We will have a few computers available at Farset, but if possible, please bring your own laptop.

If you have any queries or questions, feel free to drop myself (Andrew Mulholland, Outreach Manager @ Farset Labs) an email at andrew.mulholland@farsetlabs.org.uk

This event is supported by the Python Software Foundation, Farset Labs and Computing at Schools NI.

FAQ

Do I need to have any previous programming experience?
Nope! We are targeting the workshop at those will little or no programming experience.

I am not a secondary school level teacher (am a primary school teacher, higher education academic or from industry), can I come down and take part?
Unfortunately we expect high demand for this workshop so have to prioritise secondary teachers for now. If we still have space closer to the workshop, we would still love to see you there though. Put your name down for the waiting list for the “Other” ticket type and we will be in contact closer to the date.

If there is sufficient demand, we well look into launching follow-on events for a wider audience.

Do I need to provide my own BBC micro:bit?
Nope! We have been kindly been provided a set by the Python Software Foundation.

Is there anything then I need to bring?
If you have a laptop running Windows, Mac OS or Linux, then it would be great if you could bring it. Although we have some computers available, it is better to learn and practice on familiar equipment.

Is there free parking available nearby?
Yip! Weavers Court Business estate (which Farset Labs is located within) has ample onsite free parking.

Eventbrite - Introduction to BBC micro:bit

FailFast: Come and Play with Ideas on Makers’ Day, part of Belfast Design Week

Twitter FailWhale Artistic Painting
Artistic interpretation of the classic FailWhale, celebrating the inevitability of failure in the fast-moving tech world. Source: ka-92

Fail fast, fail cheap.

Or is it “fail fast, fail often”?

On Saturday, 7 Nov we’re uniting with some of our friends, including The Design Salon and The Potting Shed, for an all-day event, as part of the first ever Belfast Design Week. You’re invited to join us in a creative, hands-on, welcoming environment, as we all take the journey from idea to soup.

Event Summary: Sat 7 Nov 2015 // 10:00 until late (12:30 – 16:00 at Farset) // Register here: FailFast: Makers’ Day Field Trip to Farset Labs // It’s all FREE OF CHARGE.

Yes, soup. We will begin the day at The Hive, venture over to Farset in the afternoon, then end up back at The Hive for a pitching session, while we enjoy some hot refreshment with Belfast Soup. Mmm, soup.

Then we’ll all go to the pub. Mmm, beer.

That Saturday of Design Week is designated as Makers’ Day so roll up your sleeves and come f*@k things up with us. You don’t need to consider yourself a designer or maker to get value out of the day. It’s a good chance to make some smart, creative friends and take part in the fascinating process of developing ideas.

Here’s the planned Itinerary:

  • 10:00 – 12:00: The Potting Shed @The Hive : Bring your new or existing idea to the Potting Shed team and get their multidisciplinary input on how to make it happen or bring it to its full potential.
  • 12.30: Walk from The Hive to Farset Labs.
  • 13:00 – 16:00: FailFast @ Farset Labs: taking the ideas and designing prototypes to see how they might function in reality.
  • 16:00: Walk back from Farset Labs to The Hive.
  • 17:00 – 19:00: Belfast Soup @ The Hive: Buy some soup and pitch your ideas for the chance to win some startup money to make it happen!
  • 19:00 – Collapse: Drinks at The Sunflower.

And here is the official page and links to register for other parts of the day.

For our part, we’re going to focus on that challenging step in the creative process where you have to get your idea out of your head and into the world so it can be given a chance to fail. During the workshop we’ll talk about what prototyping involves, and look at the recent revolution in rapid prototyping, assisted by technologies like 3D printers and the internet. Then we’ll stop talking and play – making simple prototypes with paper and pen and whatever we have to hand.

You can come to all or just part of the day’s events. Or just meet us in the pub in the evening. Mmm beer. There’s no charge but please register if you’re coming so we know the numbers. And we’re seeking techie, creative and communicative people to be in the room to help facilitate progress – please contact me if you can help.

We’re calling it FailFast to resurrect an old project that never got much momentum. I guess you could say it failed, rather fast. But that’s the whole point. There’s a popular sentiment in the entrepreneurial world that failure is a big part of innovation and creativity. So much so that it has become trendy. Most ideas don’t grow into anything substantial. Most startups collapse. The important thing is to try – develop your idea, get your prototype out into the world, see if it works and iterate on its development, and do so as quickly and cheaply as possible. It will probably fail so if you want something to succeed, fail fast, fail cheap and fail often. So yeh, we’re calling it FailFast.

Oh, and it rhymes with Belfast. Sort of.

We Need to Talk about how BIG this Big Data thing really is

Google Servers Big Data

Yes folks, 2014 is Belfast’s first year hosting a Big Data Week, brought to us by our buddies at Analytics Engines. And we have the privilege of holding the last event in the series, at 18:00 on Fri 9 May. Anyone with a techie interest is welcome. There’ll be content for all knowledge levels and of course we’ll wrap-up in good time with some beer and snacks.

Speakers and content are being discussed at the moment but we’ve plenty lined-up so far, from educational tutorials to a lighter take on the dark side of data. This is a good chance to learn about the big data movement and debate the validity and impact of the trend.

Feel free to jump in on the discussion on our Discourse forum ahead of the event.

Other events are running at different venues between 7 and 9 May, with the main show being the Big Data Insights Conference at Titanic Belfast all day on the Wednesday. More at Big Data Week Belfast.

All are welcome but please register FREE here so we know you’re coming. And watch out for the Giro D’Italia road closures, including Gt Victoria St, which you can dodge by coming over to Sandy Row. Bloody cyclists, coming here, stealing our congestion!