Making a soil moisture sensor with Raspberry Pi 2

It’s been a while since I did anything productive with my Raspberry Pi 2, but my recent purchase of a Yucca made me think about how I could use it for something intelligent, like Making a soil moisture sensor with the Raspberry Pi 2. This post is really aimed at saving you a lot of time hunting around for all the information you need. I had to browse a tonne of sites to find all the bits and pieces, but eventually I got it all to work as I expected.

Continue reading →

Python 4-Bit LED Counter on Raspberry Pi 2

It was my birthday last month. Your lack of card and cake was noted, dear reader, but let’s not dwell on it…

One of the presents I was most eager to get to grips with was my new Raspberry Pi 2! (It’s a single-board computer roughly the size of a credit card) Now, I studied both GCSE and A-Level Electronics, but haven’t done anything remotely related since I left school, so I figured I should start with the basics. After setting up Raspbian and fitting the device into its snug little case I set about figuring out how to turn on a single LED.

I won’t bore you with that little exercise, this post is about how I wrote a 4-bit binary counter with a “heartbeat” made of 5 LEDs and some hastily (and probably shoddily) written Python.

Continue reading →

Changes to Office 365 Offer Names

Office 365, as a suite of services, has a number of different “packages” or SKUs that it uses to bundle services together at different price bands so that customers have flexibility over how much they consume of their cloud services. Office 365 broke these into different tracks based on whether you were an enterprise, a small business, home user, education, government and so on.

From this October, 2014, Microsoft is making changes to Office 365 offer names, simplifying the naming conventions used for education, government and non-profits. Read on to find out more…

Continue reading →

Deploying Office 365 Education? You don’t need single sign-on, and here’s why!

TL;DR? Providing highly available single sign-on to cloud solutions can be a complex thing to do. The most successful deployments keep things simple, and work up. In most cases, there are better, quicker, and more cost effective ways to simplify access for students and teachers.

There are a number of ways to provide access to Office 365 Education; everything from a separate username and password, through to transparent single sign-on. If you don’t already have the infrastructure and skills in place to roll it out, the latter can be complex to achieve. I’ve come to the conclusion that on day one you don’t need single sign-on, and here’s why!

Continue reading →

Jensen Harris Tells The Story of Windows 8 at UX Week 2012

It might not surprise you to know that in my line of work I meet a lot of customers who are ready to give me their opinion about Microsoft, its products like Windows 8 and Office 365, and vision. It isn’t always positive, but negative feedback is just as important.

I’m really privileged in being able to work with so many talented and passionate people. I listen to the way they talk about what they do and I wish that I could condense that passion and sincerity down into a 2 minute conversation that I could have with people I meet.

Continue reading →

Old Favourite: Changing Education Paradigms

I know this has been around for a while, but the RSA Animate version of Sir Ken Robinson‘s “Changing Education Paradigms” talk is such a good video I thought I’d blog it.

Whenever I need reminding why I stay involved in education, albeit much further away from the front line than I used to be, I watch this video.

Continue reading →

Configure Regional Settings For All Users In Live@edu

When students and teachers first login to their Live@edu accounts they are presented with a screen asking them to select their regional preferences. They’ll only see this screen once; however, many administrators do not want to give their students (and teachers!) the choice to pick the wrong locale! In fact, if they pick the wrong language it might make it practically impossible for them to use without getting some help from IT. Therefore, the question begs: how can I configure regional settings for all my users so that they don’t have to choose?

Happily, the solution is fairly simple. All you need is a few lines of PowerShell…

Continue reading →