North East Blog Directory

September 24, 2014

Community IT Academy

Is it possible to have an ethical smartphone?

Is it possible to have an ethical smartphone?

We test drive the new Fairphone – a smartphone that puts ethical values first.

Modern gadgets can have a huge impact on the world around us: the mining of scarce minerals in areas of conflict, the poor treatment of workers in the factories that produce the devices, and the waste produced when we throw them away. It is easy to feel that this is an inevitable consequence of the way we live today, but does it have to be that way?

Amsterdam-based social enterprise, Fairphone, doesn't think so. It aims to change the way that products are made by showing that you can create high-tech products with ethical values. They have created a smartphone that is designed to have a lower impact on the environment and is built with respect to workers' rights.

These are great ideals, but would a Fairphone actually be any good in practice? William Mortada put it to the test when he received his new phone.

How does the Fairphone compare?

The Fairphone is a full-featured smartphone with all that you would expect from a decent modern phone. It isn't top of the range, but it's not far off. It compares well with top phones of a couple of years ago, like the iPhone 5 or the Samsung Galaxy S3. It's not the latest and greatest but it is still a very powerful machine.

The phone has a decent specification – a quad-core processor running at 1.2GHz, 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. It runs Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) with some additional Fairphone functionality. It has a 4.3 inch display and an 8 megapixel camera. These are all good specifications by modern phone standards but it has a couple of added benefits that you won't get on a standard phone. Firstly, it isn't locked to a particular network so you are free to use it with whichever network you choose. Secondly, it has dual SIM slots so you can have personal and work numbers in one phone.

The Fairphone case is made from post-consumer recycled plastic and the phone itself is designed to be easily repaired, with a full range of spares available via the Fairphone website. In a bid to reduce waste further, the Fairphone doesn't come with a charger or headphones because most people already have these. They can be purchased separately if needed.

What is it like to use?

Like all new gadgets it takes a few days to explore the new system and get used to how it works. To be honest the user experience isn't that different from my previous phone (a Samsung Galaxy S), but it is definitely a step up in terms of speed and functionality. It is a much faster phone than the Galaxy S and the more recent version of Android brings many new and improved functions.

The on screen keyboard is easy to use and it is quick to type by swiping your finger across the keyboard. It took seconds to install all of my favourite apps and I was able to add some new ones that weren't compatible with my old device. Since all of my data is stored in the cloud, syncing my contacts and emails was as simple as logging in to my Google account.

Conclusion

In short, the phone does everything that I would expect of a modern smartphone. It is fast, has a clear bright screen and a reasonable battery life. I would certainly recommend that you consider it if you need to replace your existing phone.

However, as it says on the Fairphone website, "the fairest phone available is the one you already own, so we'd like to encourage you to keep your existing mobile as long as it works." A different way of doing business.  The real test will be whether I still have the phone in five years' time.

by william@communityitacademy.org (William Mortada) at September 24, 2014 10:52 AM

September 23, 2014

SuperMondays

6 years 1 day

Thank you to all who made it to our birthday event. It was great to have time to catch up with so many people and I think everyone enjoyed themselves. Also a big thank you to Peter Nelson for buying everyone drinks. We will be back at the end of October and will have more information soon.

by supermondays at September 23, 2014 02:34 PM

Community IT Academy

Leg ulcer charity uses database to demonstrate impact

Leg ulcer charity uses database to demonstrate impact

The Lindsay Leg Club Foundation has adopted a new database that will help show the impact of the organisation's work.

The Lindsay Leg Club Foundation is a UK charity that was created to relieve suffering from leg ulcers and associated conditions. It implements an award-winning model that motivates and empowers patients to take ownership of their care, alleviate their suffering and reduce the stigma attached to their condition.

The charity wants to collect data about the work of its clubs, in order to demonstrate the benefits of the model. This statistical data will be used to strengthen the organisation's business case and help it to obtain government support for the work it is doing.

The Foundation asked CITA to develop a simple desktop database that would enable it to collate this data and generate the reports it needed. We developed a user-friendly database using Microsoft Access that allows staff to easily transfer paper records into an electronic format. It features an easy-to-use reporting system that creates reports on key performance indicators such as attendance, ulcer healing time and recurrence rates.

Roland Renyi, Chair of the Lindsay Leg Club Foundation, said:

“We are extremely excited about this, Leg Clubs have over 10,000 members in the UK alone and it has always been a challenge for us to maintain a good information system on how their treatments are going. We believe that CITA has helped us to find a simple and workable solution that will also be both elegant and effective.”

If your organisation needs help generating data to show the impact of your work please call Lewis Atkinson on 07958 482 509.

by william@communityitacademy.org (William Mortada) at September 23, 2014 09:24 AM

September 22, 2014

Community IT Academy

What's new in Joomla 3?

What's new in Joomla 3?

Joomla has undergone many changes in the last year. Here is an overview of the top new features.

Joomla is a popular open source content management system. It is a well-supported and flexible system that we use to build many of our websites.

Joomla 3 brings a radical change to the administrative interface. It is quite different from previous versions. It is more user-friendly and easier to navigate. It has also been designed for mobile devices, with a responsive template that adapts to the size of your screen. This means that you can log in to edit articles from a tablet or even a mobile phone. This is great if you need to make a quick change while you are out of the office or on the move.

Joomla now features an article history, this allows you to view previous versions of your content and to roll back to an older version. This can be really helpful if you've made a mistake and want to restore an earlier edit.

Security has been improved by allowing you to set more complex password rules and enabling two factor authentication. Two factor authentication means that to login you have to type in a code from an app on your phone in addition to your normal password. This makes it much more difficult for a hacker to gain access to your website.

Should you upgrade?

If you are using an older version of Joomla we would definitely recommend that you upgrade to version 3. Joomla 3 has been out for two years now and any initial bugs have been firmly ironed out.

Joomla 2.5 reaches end of life at the end of this year. This means that beyond this date no further security patches will be released for this version of Joomla. Older versions of Joomla are now well past their end of life and are increasingly vulnerable to being hacked. You may also find that your website host stops supporting sites that run older versions of Joomla.

If you would like more information or to discuss your organisation's website needs please contact Lewis Atkinson on 07958 482 509 to arrange an informal no obligation meeting.

by william@communityitacademy.org (William Mortada) at September 22, 2014 09:51 AM

# This site is managed by the team at SuperMondays, is hosted by the team at Consilience and is maintained on github.