Calling all Young Coders – Guest Post from Emma Mulqueeny

The previous year has seen a groundswell of interest and support for the notion that this generation of young people and the next should be equipped with finer digital knowledge. That they should be given the opportunity to create and build digital stuff, viagra 60mg as well as use it. A part of this is learning how to code, cheap ed to programme the increasingly digital world around them.

There are many ways that kids can learn how to code nowadays, online plenty of free tutorials online, and schools are just beginning to make room in the day to include this in the curriculum. But it is ever more about learning through discovery, a bit like the Montessori method for the older child! Learning how to build mobile apps, and hopefully become rich and famous, is obviously a great self-motivator for many young people to get to grips with HTML5 or a variety of platforms and languages and is often a starting point, especially for the teen programmers starting for the first time.

Yet it is as much about learning on your own or through playing with SDKs and APIs as it is about the community, seeing what other people are doing, peer-to-peer learning and experience is critical, and not available in most schools… yet.

This is where events like Over the Air and Young Rewired State play such a great role. This year #OTA12 is implicit in its welcome for the younger programmer, not that they have to hive off somewhere separate and do their own thing, rather an encouragement for them to come along and join in with everything.

I can vouch for the fact that you learn a huge amount at a hack event, it is the most incredible environment for challenging yourself, racing against time and then showing off what you have done – so I would call any of the younger coders to pack up their kit and head over to Over the Air, you will love it, learn a lot and make some lifetime friendships and discover some fabulous mentors.

Of course after Over the Air has run, if you have caugh the bug, you can join in with Young Rewried State and the festival of code in August. Let the Summer of geekly fun begin!

Emma Mulqueeny


Twitter: @hubmum


Beanbags – the very soul of a Hack Day

Back in 2007 a gang of us got together from the BBC and Yahoo! and brought Hack Days from the States to the UK. The event was called Hack07 and there was a great deal of talk about how we’d create a space that was comfy, informal and easily reconfigurable. The answer, rather obviously, was beanbags. So off I set… I toured the worlds manufacturing facilities at great expense to the public purse (this was the BBC after all) and eventually settled on a company called (it took literally seconds of googling).  They’re based up Nottingham way and are responsible for the now iconic Hack Day Bean Bag – the wedgie.

These bags have become a tradition at Hack Days that I’ve helped organise – especially the big ones. At every event we order about 100 of the things, print a logo on the front, chose the loudest colours and then… we give them away at the end of the event. The great thing about the bags is that apart from being all the useful things I’ve already alluded to – they’re also cheaper than hiring a pile of boring furniture that would make our Hack Days look and feel like a corporate conference.

Photo by mmorr on flickr

So here’s the thing – this year we’ve not yet quite got to our sponsorship goal so are still short enough money to buy bean bags – we’ve never not had bean bags and it’s a terrific opportunity for an amazing company to come in, pop their logo on a 100 bags and be the hero of the event. They’re properly cool, people get to keep them, they’re useful and even more importantly – it’s a damn site funkier than a stand!

So what do you say? Know someone who can help us? Point them in our direction and drop me an email…

When was the first computer invented?

Article from ComputerHope

First mechanical computer or automatic computing engine concept

In 1822Charles Babbage purposed and began developing the Difference Engine, considered to be the first automatic computing engine that was capable of computing several sets of numbers and making a hard copies of the results. Unfortunately, because of funding he was never able to complete a full-scale functional version of this machine. In June of 1991, the London Science Museum completed the Difference Engine No 2 for the bicentennial year of Babbage’s birth and later completed the printing mechanism in 2000.

Analytical EngineLater, in 1837 Charles Babbage proposed the first general mechanical computer, the Analytical Engine. The Analytical Engine contained anArithmetic Logic Unit (ALU), basic flow control, and integrated memoryand is the first general-purpose computer concept. Unfortunately, because of funding issues this computer was also never built while Charles Babbage’s was alive. In 1910, Henry Babbage, Charles Babbage’s youngest son was able to complete a portion of this machine and was able to perform basic calculations.

First programmable computer

The Z1, originally created by Germany’s Konrad Zuse in his parents living room in 1936 to 1938 is considered to be the first electro-mechanical binary programmable (modern) computer and really the first functional computer.

The first electric programmable computer

The Colossus was the first electric programmable computer and was developed by Tommy Flowers and first demonstrated in December 1943. The Colossus was created to help the British code breakers read encrypted German messages.

The first digital computer

Short for Atanasoff-Berry Computer, the ABC started being developed by Professor John Vincent Atanasoff and graduate student Cliff Berry in 1937 and continued to be developed until 1942 at the Iowa State College (now Iowa State University). The ABC was an electrical computer that used vacuum tubes for digital computation including binary math and Boolean logic and had no CPU. On October 19, 1973, the US Federal Judge Earl R. Larson signed his decision that the ENIAC patent by Eckert and Mauchly was invalid and named Atanasoff the inventor of the electronic digital computer.

ENIACThe ENIAC was invented by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly at the University of Pennsylvania and began construction in 1943 and was not completed until 1946. It occupied about 1,800 square feet and used about 18,000 vacuum tubes, weighing almost 50 tons. Although the Judge ruled that the ABC computer was the first digital computer, many still consider the ENIAC to be the first digital computer because it was fully functional.

The first stored program computer

The early British computer known as the EDSAC is considered to be the first stored program electronic computer. The computer performed its first calculation on May 6, 1949 and was the computer that ran the first graphical computer game, nicknamed “Baby”.

The first computer company

The first computer company was the Electronic Controls Company and was founded in 1949 by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly, the same individuals who helped create the ENIAC computer. The company was later renamed to EMCC or Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation and released a series of mainframe computers under the UNIVAC name.

First stored program computer

First delivered to the United States Government in 1950, the UNIVAC 1101 or ERA 1101 is considered to be the first computer that was capable of storing and running a program from memory.

First commercial computer

In 1942, Konrad Zuse begin working on the Z4, which later became the first commercial computer after being sold to Eduard Stiefel a mathematician of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich on July 12, 1950.

The first PC (IBM compatible) computer

On April 7, 1953 IBM publicly introduced the 701, its first electric computer and first mass produced computer. Later IBM introduced its first personal computer called the IBM PC in 1981. The computer was code named and still sometimes referred to as the Acorn and had a 8088processor, 16 KB of memory, which was expandable to 256 and utilizing MS-DOS.

The first computer with RAM

MIT introduces the Whirlwind machine on March 8, 1955, a revolutionary computer that was the first digital computer with magnetic core RAM and real-time graphics.

TransistorsThe first transistor computer

The TX-O (Transistorized Experimental computer) is the firsttransistorized computer to be demonstrated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1956.

The first minicomputer

In 1960Digital Equipment Corporation released its first of many PDP computers the PDP-1.

The first mass-market PC

In 1968Hewlett Packard began marketing the first mass-marketed PC, the HP 9100A.

The first workstation

Although it was never sold, the first workstation is considered to be the Xerox Alto, introduced in 1974. The computer was revolutionary for its time and included a fully functional computer, display, and mouse. The computer operated like many computers today utilizing windowsmenusand icons as an interface to its operating system.

The first microprocessor

Intel introduces the first microprocessor, the Intel 4004 on November 15, 1971.

The first personal computer

In 1975, Ed Roberts coined the term “personal computer” when he introduced the Altair 8800. Although the first personal computer is considered by many to be the Kenback-1, which was first introduced for $750 in 1971. The computer relied on a series of switches for inputting data and output data by turning on and off a series of lights.

The Micral is considered the be the first commercial non-assembly computer. The computer used the Intel 8008 processor and sold for $1,750 in 1973.

The first laptop or portable computer

IBM 5100The IBM 5100 is the first portable computer, which was released on September 1975. The computer weighed 55 pounds and had a five inch CRT display, tape drive, 1.9MHz PALM processor, and 64KB of RAM. In the picture to the right, is an ad of the IBM 5100 taken from a November 1975 issue of Scientific America.

The first truly portable computer or laptop is considered to be theOsborne I, which was released on April 1981 and developed by Adam Osborne. The Osborne I was developed by Adam Osborne and weighed 24.5 pounds, had a 5-inch display, 64 KB of memory, two 5 1/4″ floppy drives, ran the CP/M 2.2 operating system, included amodem, and cost US$179.

The IBM PC Division (PCD) later released the IBM portable in 1984, it’s first portable computer that weighed in at 30 pounds. Later in 1986, IBM PCD announced it’s first laptop computer, the PC Convertible, weighing 12 pounds. Finally, in 1994, IBM introduced the IBM ThinkPad 775CD, the first notebook with an integrated CD-ROM.

The first Apple computer

Steve Wozniak designed the first Apple known as the Apple I computer in 1976.

The first PC clone

The Compaq Portable is considered to be the first PC clone and was release in March 1983 byCompaq. The Compaq Portable was 100% compatible with IBM computers and was capable of running any software developed for IBM computers.

The first multimedia computer

In 1992, Tandy Radio Shack becomes one of the first companies to release a computer based on the MPC standard with its introduction of the M2500 XL/2 and M4020 SX computers.

Other major computer company firsts

Below is a listing of some of the major computers companies first computers.

Compaq – In March 1983, Compaq released its first computer and the first 100% IBM compatible computer the “Compaq Portable.”
Dell – In 1985Dell introduced its first computer, the “Turbo PC.”
Hewlett Packard – In 1966, Hewlett Packard released its first general computer, the “HP-2115.”
NEC – In 1958NEC builds its first computer the “NEAC 1101.”
Toshiba – In 1954Toshiba introduces its first computer, the “TAC” digital computer.

Mobile Developer’s Guide To The Galaxy: An unplanned success story

– Guest Post by Marco Tabor of Enough Software @enoughmarco

Enough Software will be giving away 400 hard copies of the Developer’s Guide to the Galaxy at OTA12 – we’ll announce the details of how you can pick your copy up at the event.

What a great plan: Publishing a non-commercial and free handbook about mobile technologies, invite the whole community to contribute and put out updates whenever the ecosystem’s changes make it necessary. By doing so, you will always have a nice (and useful!) give-away when your company exhibits at events, you gain visibility as multi-platform experts and you keep on expanding your network. Once you have some attention, it will be easy to find companies who are willing to sponsor the printing – even though they do not control what is written about their products: The big players know pretty well that they have to please developers and provide them with useful tools and information if they want them to develop for their platform, use their tools and/or distribution channels. A great plan indeed. But we never had that plan.

When we started putting out the first edition of our “Developer’s Guide To The Galaxy” at Mobile World Congress 2009, we simply did it because we realized that a lot of people were loosing the big picture in the fragmented and ever-changing mobile world. Back then it was a tiny brochure with 40 pages and I think the longest chapter spoke about J2ME. There never was a commercial idea or business plan behind this. It turned out that the demand was bigger than expected: We quickly ran out of copies, a lot of experts came up to us and offered their support as writers and a company offered some money to cover the printing costs of a re-print. So the second edition came out just some weeks later. It already had 60 pages.

Then Android gained traction and of course we needed to include that in the book, so we extended the content again and printed a third edition. And so it continued.

At this year’s Mobile World Congress we published the 10th edition. It has over 200 pages, 20 authors are involved and almost all the 5000 copies we printed are distributed already (of course we will hold back some boxes for OTA 2012!). Nokia, BlueVia, Immersion and Deutsche Telekom financed the printing this time. Our friends from WIP even published a companion guide which concentrates on app marketing.

It turned out once again that you do not need a detailed plan and stick to it, especially when things are changing as quickly as they do in our business. Just start something if you think it makes sense. If you keep following a good idea, you have a good chance that it will develop its own dynamics.

Download a digital copy:
Mobile Developer’s Guide To The Galaxy No. 10
Mobile Developer’s Guide To The Parallel Universe of App Marketing

Big Data Week

23rd April – 29th April – London / New York / San Francisco / Sydney

Big Data Week is one of the world’s most unique global platforms, treatment offering a series of interconnected activities and conversations around the world across not only technology but also the commercial use cases for Big Data.

Big Data week was founded by @stewarttownsend on a wet and windy Sunday afternoon, being a co-organiser of four London based Big Data events he felt there was a gap between meetups across not just London but the globe, communities tended to stay in one part of the Big Data landscape and thus the idea was born to bring together all the communities and networks across a week of events, alongside his co-organiser @empiricator (Carlos) they have built a week of FREE community events that explores the core areas around Big Data these are

  1. Data Scientists
  2. Data Technologies
  3. Data Visualization
  4. Data Business

The week consists of a series of events across the globe with London hosting 8 of these and ending with a data hackathon which was born from the London meetup Data Science London this is a hackathon over 24 hours and spread across the globe from London to San Francisco and Sydney, with data scientists aiming to solve problems set on four large data sets with the end result accumulating in a overall winner to be announced at the end of the competition.

For a full list of events go to but we have Hilary Mason Chief Data Scientist at speaking at Data Science London on the Monday evening, Doug Cutting the Co- founder of Apache Hadoop foundation on a panel with Edd Dumbill Strata program chair as the moderator and the CTO from Moshi Monsters talking at Londata on Thursday about their growth and how data has been crucial to them.

If you want to attend or run your own events then go to for more information or

Follow us on twitter @bigdataweek and use the hashtag #bigdataweek


We are super-duper pleased with our new website design, thanks to the lovely Harry and Helen over at minimoko.

It seems only fitting that our very first blog post to the new site should be to give them a big thanks for all of their hard work.

The logo which Luke Razzell of Weaver Digital designed for us last year looks fantastic in this new setting.

It’s still a work in progress, but all of the basics are here, and if you’ve got any questions or feedback you can give us a shout @overtheair.

OKFN Energy and Climate Hackday this Saturday

If you are passionate about Climate Change, order you may want to join the  Energy and Climate Hackday, taking place on March 3rd at the offices of ThoughtWorks.

The event is organised by the Open Knowledge Foundation in collaboration with the UK Department of Energy and Climate (DECC) and AMEE ( this event will bring together developers, researchers and data journalists interested in exploring creative solutions to presenting climate and energy data.

This event will give you an opportunity to contribute to some smart applications and data visualisations of the big datasets provided by the World Bank and other international institutions. Whether you have been already involved in projects about environmental awareness or are a climate change skeptic, this event would empower you to make a difference in the way energy and climate data is presented and in showing the big picture of the climate change issue. It is also a chance to interact with other developers in an informal context.

Lunch and drinks would be provided for all participants.

For more information:
Please also sign on MeetUp page:

WhyMCA hackday in Bologna – Feb 4th

On 4th of February 2012 in Bologna reality is going to be hacked. WhyMCA, story in collaboration with Microsoft and Nokia, thumb is proud to announce the first Italian hackaton focused on interaction between mobile and reality.
It has been 3 years since Ricardo, Alfredo, Andrea and Paolo (who many of you will have met at OTA10 and OTA11) founded WhyMCA in Italy  as a Mobile Barcamp where professionals and passionate can meet together in an informal event. Since 2009 lot of things have changed and their main focus has moved on to mobile developers and designers – resulting in two developer conferences, four happyhours about cross-platform topics (from mobile gaming to in-app monetization and OpenData) and the first Italian mobile hackathon.

Now the team are ready for the next challenge: Hack Reality, a hackathon where attendees have the opportunity to create hacks on real stuff, mixing together mobile devices with controllers (Arduino, OpenPicus, Netduino), Augmented Reality (Wikitude), games (LEGO MINDSTORMS, Kinect), 3d printing, domotic systems and more. Everything will interact, everything will go mobile, everything in just one day.

The aim is high and tickets have sold out, but we thought you might enjoy watching what more than 80 Italian developers and designers will come up with at the CNR of Bologna on the 4th February.

Visit their site and stay tuned!


Riccardo Bosio Riccardo Bosio@ riccardobosio
Alfredo Morresi Alfredo Morresi: @ rainbowbreeze
Andrea Piovani Andrea Piovani@ andreaaa_p
Paolo Sinelli Paolo Sinelli: @ pasine

Mozilla Festival discount for OTA Attendees

The Mozilla Festival — Media, Freedom And the Web is on it’s way to London town, and Dees (@cyberdees) is offering attendees of OTA11 a 50% discount when you choose the Student & Partner Community Member option when registering to attend.

The event will be held at the fantastic Ravensbourne College opposite the O2/Millenium Dome during November 4-6. Think 400+ developers, designers, journalists and kids looking at the Future of Journalism…

And you gotta love their byline: “Less Yak, More Hack”!


Power of One discount for OTA Attendees

As an attendee of Over The Air, the organisers of the Power of One Conference are offering a special 50% discount, just use the code OTA when booking at (yes, the newsletter said 20% – it’s now 50% FTW!)

Power Of One is a celebration of a tipping point. The power is now with the small agile organisation that through technology can change the world. This one day event is designed to motivate and inspire entrepreneurs and developers.

The event will be looking back at past experiences of starting tech businesses from scratch and looking forward to new possibilities and opportunities that abound, and will help you find the best ways to get your ideas heard and how to get funding to turn them into reality.

Tickets are only £99 + VAT (minus 50% with your discount code), which includes the conference, plenty of coffee, food, and a party at the venue after the talks with free beer.

You will also be one of the last people to set foot inside the iconic Battersea Power Station before it closes for long-term for redevelopment.