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Digital Youth Research November 21, 2008

Posted by liverpoolchamber in Education, Technology, World Wide Web.
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kidHow Those Pesky Kids Use The Interwebs

The Digital Youth Project, an American, 22 case study, $3.3 million ethnographic study of what kids are doing online, has  published its results. The project is the largest and most comprehensive study of young peoples’ internet use ever undertaken in the US.

The conclusions are sane, compassionate, and compelling: in a nutshell, the “serious” stuff we all hope kids will do online (researching papers and so on) are only possible within a framework of “hanging out, messing around and geeking out.” That is to say, all the “time-wasting” social stuff kids do online are key to their explorations and education online.

Ito and her team establish a taxonomy of social activity, dividing it first into “peer-driven” and “interest-driven” — the former being what kids do with their real-world friends, the latter being the niche interests that drive them to locate other people who are as fascinated as they are by whatever brand of esoterica they fancy.

Within these two categories, the researchers break things down further into “hanging out” (undirected, social activities), “messing around” (tinkering with media, networks and technologies) and “geeking out” (delving deep into subjects based on global communities of interest) and for each one, they describe the successful and unsuccessful techniques deployed by parents and educators to direct kids’ activities.

See the report’s website here.

Download the 2-page summary [PDF]

Download the full report [PDF]

The above copy / post has been shamelessly lifted from Boing Boing

Reuse, Recycle, Recover – Free MERIT Event November 18, 2008

Posted by liverpoolchamber in Environment, Events, Merit, Technology.
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wall-e_1a_900MERIT’s next free event looks at the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive. This came into force in January 2007 and aims to both reduce the amount of WEEE being produced and encourage everyone to reuse, recycle and recover it. The WEEE Directive also aims to improve the environmental performance of businesses that manufacture, supply, use, recycle and recover electrical and electronic equipment.

If you are an importer, rebrander or manufacturer of new electrical or electronic equipment then it’s likely that you will need to comply with the UK’s WEEE Regulations, which in part implement the WEEE Directive. If you do need to comply, then you must register on a producer compliance scheme.

This event will provide information and advice on complying with the WEEE Regulations and challenge you to think about the environmental consequences before deciding to replace equipment. Do you really need to buy a new product or could you buy a refurbished product instead. If you have working equipment that you no longer need, could you think about passing it on to others instead of throwing it away?

Also covered within the seminar, will be an update on the Batteries Directive which will affect businesses that produce, supplies or disposes of batteries and accumulators. If you manufacture or design battery powered products, you will need to ensure that the batteries can be removed from the products and supply instructions on how to remove them.

11:00am – 11:30am

11:30am – 12:30pm

12:30pm – 13:30pm

ICDC Lecture Theatre
Liverpool Innovation Park
2nd Floor Faraday House
360 Edge Lane
L7 9NJ

Book online for FREE at the MERIT website

Connect To Your Computer From Anywhere (And For Free) November 14, 2008

Posted by liverpoolchamber in Technology, World Wide Web.
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remoteWatching TV last night, I saw an ad for a paid-for service that lets you connect to your home computer from any other machine with internet access. Great idea, but why would anyone pay for it, when there are free tools that do just that?

Here’s a handy list of options that will allow you get at your desktop from anywhere. Great for accessing info or files, or for getting at your mum’s PC when she can’t figure out how to attach a photo to an email (again).

LogMeIn was one of the first popular remote desktop solutions aimed squarely at consumers, offering a quick, no-hassle set up to remotely control your computer from the comfort of any web browser. LogMeIn comes in a variety of flavors, but the two that are designed to satisfy your remote desktop needs are LogMeIn Pro and LogMeIn Free. A Pro account adds more features to the service, including drag-and-drop file transfer, file sync, and meeting tools.

This is the one I use to get at my home computer when in work. It’s easy to use and simple to set up.

TightVNC (Windows/Linux)
TightVNC is a cross-platform, open-source remote desktop application. With TightVNC, you need to set up a VNC server on the computer you wish to access remotely; you can then remotely access that computer from anywhere else with any VNC viewer.

TeamViewer (Windows/Mac)
TeamViewer—like LogMeIn—offers free and paid accounts for remote controlling any PC. Unlike LogMeIn, TeamViewer is free for all non-commercial users. It doesn’t offer browser-based remote control, instead using small utilities to connect between computers. TeamViewer is even available as a portable application you can carry around on your thumb drive.

Windows Remote Desktop Connection (Windows)
Windows Remote Desktop—the default remote desktop app that comes bundled with Windows—is still more than enough for most Windows users looking for full-featured remote desktop control. If you’ve never happened upon the Remote Desktop Connection application buried in the Accessories folder of your Start menu, now might be a good time to try it out. Just be sure you’ve enabled remote desktop access.

This is what we use for staff to access our system remotely here at the Chamber.

UltraVNC (Windows)
UltraVNC is an open-source, Windows-only remote desktop application. UltraVNC supports a hefty feature set, including text chat, file transfer support, and support for optional plug-ins. Although UltraVNC only runs on Windows, you can still access your computer from any operating system using your web browser.

So, don’t shell out for something that’s already available free.

This list was put together by those nice peeps at Lifehacker. You can see their post here.

Business Should Embrace Social Networking October 29, 2008

Posted by liverpoolchamber in Media, Technology, World Wide Web.
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The BBC today carries an article on how businesses should embrace social networking sites like Facebook, Myspace and Twitter.

The article says:

Companies should not dismiss staff who use social networking sites such as Facebook and Bebo at work as merely time-wasters, a Demos study suggests.

Attempts to control employees’ use of such software could damage firms in the long run by limiting the way staff communicate, the think tank said.

Social networking can encourage employees to build relationships with colleagues across a firm.

Using technology to build closer links with ex-employees and potential customers could also boost productivity, innovation and create a more democratic working environment.

“In today’s difficult business environment, the instinctive reaction can be to batten down the hatches and return to the traditional command-and-control techniques that enable managers to closely monitor and measure productivity.

“Allowing workers to have more freedom and flexibility might seem counter-intuitive, but it appears to create businesses more capable of maintaining stability.”

Liverpool Chamber has supported this view for a long time – see our previous posts here and here. We have ourselves embraced social networking as a way to communicate with the local, and global, business community. We’re no experts, but we see its value. If treated sensibly, it’s a great tool for business.

We’re on Facebook (you can be our friend if you like!). We use it to both be a part of Liverpool’s business and wider community, as well as to let people know what we’re up to and what events we’re running.

We’ve also signed up to Twitter although we do keep forgetting to ‘twit’, if we’re honest! Plus we use this blog and Upcoming to stay in touch with interested parties. We also post pics from our events of Flickr, a good way to get a real feel of what we do across to our members. And that’s all above and beyond our normal old website.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

Keep Your IT System Free Of Wreckers And Fraudsters October 21, 2008

Posted by liverpoolchamber in Arena & Convention Centre, Business Crime Direct, Events, Technology.
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Business Crime Direct at Liverpool Chamber is taking a lead in the fight against cyber crime.

The organisation is holding a conference and exhibition to raise business awareness of cyber crime and demonstrate how to manage the risks.

The conference and lunch is free of charge and Liverpool companies are being invited to attend to find out how to best safeguard their business. The event is being held at the BT Convention Centre from 2:00pm on Wednesday 29th October.

Detective Sergeant Geoff Conway from Merseyside Police’s High Tech Crime Unit will talk on IT security. Eminent national figures Mike Wyeth, Littlewoods Shop Direct national head of security and Merseyside head of Crime Stoppers, and D.I. Roy West from the City of London Police, will reveal how they have become partners and developed new tactics to tackle organised “boiler room” gangs.

The speakers, who all have extensive police experience at a national level, will cover all aspects of internet crime, from basic information on the activities of petty e-criminals, to in-depth information on how to catch out sophisticated e-fraudsters.

D.I Roy West, who heads up London’s cheque and credit card crime unit and will give a presentation featuring dramatic slides of Internet fraudsters taking possession of goods in “controlled delivery” operations. Gangs, many from West Africa are said run a call centre type operation, with fraudsters seated in rows in front of banks of computers, working away with e-mail addresses and bank details provided by supervisors.

Side by side with the conference, local firms providing solutions to IT crime will exhibit their products and explain them, and the costs, to interested businesses.

Business Crime Direct has been helping Merseyside businesses keep ahead of conventional robbers, thieves and burglars for eight years now. But increasingly they have found businesses worried about a different kind of menace.

The battle to keep IT systems from collapsing under the weight of spam, viruses and phishing attempts is of paramount importance to all businesses.

Peter Jones, Manager of BCD explained, “I remember going to visit a small shop selling expensive food supplements for body builders. The owner told me that selling over the Internet gave him a massive opportunity to expand. But he was repeatedly coming up against determined criminals using stolen credit cards or cards obtained in false identities.”

“This event will galvanise the Merseyside business community and make companies aware of the potential risks that internet crime presents to their business.”

To reserve a place, please contact Sue or Melissa on 0151 227 1234 or email events@liverpoolchamber.org.uk.

Open Office 3.0 – Free Office Software Applications October 15, 2008

Posted by liverpoolchamber in Technology, World Wide Web.
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Open Office 3.0, the latest version of the free, open source alternative to Microsoft Office, has been released.

Whether you don’t want to splash out on expensive, proprietory applications like Word, PowerPoint, Excel etc, or just want to stick it to the man by not giving Bill Gates even more of your money, Open Office is the way to go.

It offers equivalent packages to all the major office tools: word processing, databases, spreadsheets, graphic / image manipulation, presentations. It’s compatible with Microsoft, so you can open .doc files etc in open office, edit them and they’ll still work with Microsoft apps. There can occasionally be formatting issues if moving documents between systems, but nothing too bad. And if used as your primary suite of apps in the office or home, there won’t be a problem.

It’s a great option for home workers, small businesses, freelancers etc.

Simply get your free download here and join the open source revolution!

The site may be operating in basic mode at the moment due to high demand, but downloads are still available.

Take a look at Open Office and its tools over on the Lifehacker website.

You can also get a portable version for your memory stick to use anywhere. This is of a slightly earlier version though.

Featured Chamber Charity Member – 3tc October 9, 2008

Posted by liverpoolchamber in Charity, Liverpool, Technology.
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3tc, Merseyside Third Sector Technology Centre is a not-for-profit charitable company limited by guarantee that supports charities by supplying them with a range of services designed to bring equality of access to new technology.

3tc’s ICT department can provide hardware, software and peripherals, maintenance support and complete network and server installations; Conference Facilities manages a conference room, small meeting room and IT suite that are all available for hire; ICT Training offers a range of accredited, non-accredited, taster and bespoke training packages; the Print & Design department provides printing, copying, binding, booklet-making and laminating services; whilst our Web Solutions team uses the latest Content Management Systems.

3tc Solutions Limited is the charity’s trading arm, offering the above services to business, the public sector and private individuals. The trading arm is also involved in developing business activities including Virtual Office and our new Flexible Maintenance Plan. Any profits generated are used by the charity to help bring equality of access to new technology.

Find out more about 3tc and how you can help here.

Economic Crisis Blamed On Failure To Recognise Change September 30, 2008

Posted by liverpoolchamber in Business, Technology.
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Here’s an interesting (short) essay from America looking at the current economic crisis.

It postulates that failing to recognise the change from industrial to information and service economies has resulted in a failure to account for modern businesses’ greatest assets – talent, staff, innovation, communication and more….

In the industrial economy, value is added by taking raw materials and turning them into finished goods, which are then brokered to their destination in some supply chain, and consumed or used to produce further value.

The entire philosophy of our accounting and systems for valuation are based on this system which was developed for assessing risks in the renaissance for trading and raiding (European war financing) ventures.

Accounting methods really haven’t been updated to keep up with the changes as service and information economy overlays have changed the game.

We have no way to account for our greatest assets in the modern economy — talent, staff loyalty, team productivity in innovation, effective communication of information through media and business channels, and so on.  These are all without accounting value in our current systems.

Read the full article by Sheva Nerad over on the Gather website.

Article found via Boing Boing.

Has she got a point? What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

Ubiquity – A New Extension For FireFox 3 Users August 28, 2008

Posted by liverpoolchamber in Technology, World Wide Web.
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Ubiquity creating an email including selected content

Ubiquity creating an email including selected content

For those of you who have made the switch to superior web browser Firefox, and are using its most up to date version, a new super-duper extension has been released full of innovative ideas.

Ubiquity is an add-on that could make using the web much, much easier. Once installed, Ubiquity lets you:

  • select copy and images from a web page and pop them in a new email (if using GMail) straight from that web page
  • find and insert maps into emails, rather than sending just a link
  • translate foreign text directly in the page you are looking at
  • edit a web page’s content
  • delete HTML elements from a page
  • search a plethora of seach engines and Wikipedia for highlighted text from a web page
  • tons more stuff we haven’t discovered yet.

It’s still in Alpha release, so expect bugs, but after playing around with it we can report it’s well worth investigating and has great potential.

Learn more and intsall Ubiquity here.

Read the user tutorial to see some of what it can do.

If you give it a whirl, why not let us know what you think in our comments?

Warning! Science Inside! August 12, 2008

Posted by liverpoolchamber in 2008, Capital of Culture 2008, Events, Liverpool, Technology.
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The BA Festival of Science: 6-11 September 2008

The British Association for the Advancement of Science (BA) Festival of Science is coming to Liverpool from 6-11 September. It will bring over 350 of the UK’s top scientists and engineers to discuss the latest developments in science with the public. There will be around 200 events to chose from, taking place at the University of Liverpool and across the city as part of the European Capital of Culture 2008 celebrations.

Showcasing and debating the latest most topical and challenging scientific issues of our time, the BA Festival of Science will no doubt hold the interest of many more people than just the science elite.

You could enjoy some unique science street theatre from the Science Butlers and find out about the science of superheroes, or delve deep into the impact of climate change on our planet. Plus much much more.

The event is massive for the Capital of Culture year. It will attract many visitors to the city to see the many events, including celebrities Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Adam Hart-Davis come together with leading academics to address the public.

Find out more about what’s on on the Festival of Science website.