Yesterday I reached an anniversary, one year as a freelancer and I survived!
Les advising customers about computing in Liverpool
I started my freelance career in May 2013, with just one client, Linux Format. I then contacted other people and organisations and talked with them about what I could do for them.
To be honest in those early days I was terrified. I went into freelancing as a reaction to moving away from my previous role at Farm Digital. But what I quickly learnt was that I had some skills that people would pay money for, and over the course of this past year my skills have been sharpened and new skills have been learnt.
It hasn’t been easy, but I rose to the challenge and luckily everything has worked out rather well. Thanks in part to a good community of hackers, makers, teachers and techies in the North.
Without these people helping me, answering questions and referring clients to me, I wouldn’t be where I am today
So where am I today?
I’ve currently got 8 regular clients that I work for, ranging from print magazines to web sites.
I teach computing, Python, Raspberry Pi and Scratch to teachers around the UK.
I also develop applications and technologies using Arduino and Raspberry Pi for clients, for example my Raspberry Pi powerd Fortune Teller which is now living at Blackpool Tower.
I’m also doing my fair share of not for profit / voluntary work in the community.
I started the first Blackpool Coder Dojo on April 26th,. I released the tickets for the second dojo the other week, and all 46 are now gone! WOW!
Blackpool has it’s first co-working space in the form of Blackpool Jelly, we’ve been running for 3 months and all is going well.
All in all, if I hadn’t of left my old job, none of this would of happened. It’s been an adventure, and I am a better man for taking the plunge.
Coder Dojos are monthly workshops where children can learn new skills and work together to understand the many facets of computing and coding.
Blackpool is not very well know as a hub of tech activity and this is far from the reality. In Blackpool we have many different groups who meet to talk and practice their craft.
What was lacking was a place where children could learn in a safe and productive environment.
Jo Culshaw, a mum who’s son Joseph attended the Bolton Coder Dojo, thought that Blackpool should have their own dojo. Jo was given my name by an old friend of mine, Simon Skinner.
Jo and I sat down for a coffee in Cafe Dolce and devised a plan of action.
The dojo must
Be accessible to all
Have wifi / internet access
Be able to provide space for 20 hackers
Have confident, knowledgeable speakers
So with this in mind we set to work with a to do list each. Jo handled the venue requirements and ticketing, and I went and arranged course content for the first two sessions.
We released our tickets to the world and sold out rather quickly
The big day came, and with it a class full of enthusiastic children all eager to learn more about coding.
Over the course of 4 hours, our young hackers learnt how to create web pages using HTML and CSS, and learnt how to program using Scratch. There was even time for the children to learn how to create, test and debug a sequence of code, using an idea from the “Computer Science Unplugged” book.
At the end of the day, all of the children really enjoyed themselves and had masses of great ideas for the next session.
We’ll be hosting the next Dojo on May 24th, and you can get a free ticket from our eventbrite page
We also need sponsorship to help our event grow with the anticipated increase in attendees. So please if you can help, or know someone who can help, please leave a comment on this post and I will get in touch
Just a quick post to say that I have set a date for Blackpool’s first Jelly co-working event.
I’m a freelancer, and sometimes it can be quite boring working from home, I’m sure there are many like me, who live in the Blackpool area.
At Jelly, we offer you free wifi, power and a desk to work from. All in a private space, with access to a bar stocked with coffee, tea, juice and of course beer. You can also order food via the bar, to be delivered to your desk.
During the summer we can also work outside in a private roof terrace, which is also suitable for any smokers to use.
All you need to do is grab a ticket, bring your laptop and tweet about it using #jellyblackpool.
So make a date in your diary for Friday March 14th, at Gillespies Bar on Topping St, from 10am to 5pm.
(Change the /path to/wordpress install/ to where you WordPress install is located)
What this command achieves is to change the ownership of the directory /path to/wordpress install/ and all of it’s contents to the user www-data, which is a user created just for the web server (normally Apache).
By making this change and then retrying the auto update option you should now be updating your blog to WordPress 3.8.
I’ve recently been setting up a couple of sites for clients, and they wanted the ability to use a contact form on their WordPress site. No problem I said, and I duly installed the necessary plugins to make it work.
When I tested the form, it took over 30 seconds to send the email, which was unacceptable, so I did a bit of Googling and found an interesting solution.
SSH in to your server.
As root edit the /etc/hosts file using vi or nano.
I recently received an email from my good friend Alan “@teknoteacher” O’Donohoe, informing me that he had been on BBC Radio Lancashire, talking about the Raspberry Pi and associated Jams. I snipped out the section from the show and below is a link to the audio.
This is provided under fair use, and all copyrights are respected.