Music scene in Sheffield

made in sheffield logo, of someone throwing a guitar off a balconyOne of the things that I love about Sheffield is the music scene as it’s so vibrant and how over the many decades it has produced bands who have influenced loads of bands in the music industry at the moment. It has been the starting location for now famous bands like Pulp, Def Leppard, The Human League, Joe Cocker to modern bands such as Arctic Monkeys, Reverend and the Makers and 65daysofstatic.

These bands have been influential to new bands which are starting out in the steel city who start out in the smaller venues which give a closer connection between the band and the crowd, such as West Street Live, O2 Academy 2, Dove and Rainbow, Nelson Rock Bar and The Frog and Parrot. Once they get a bigger fan base the larger venues are open to them such as the Motorpoint Arena, Plug, O2 Academy, City Hall, Corporation and obviously Leadmill.

In my first year of uni I didn’t really get to see as many bands as I wanted to but this year I have seen 2 bands, one of them is one of my friends bands, Utopia Lost who are an unsigned metal band who recently played at the O2 Academy 2. They have previously played at Corporation last year and have got an EP out called “And So It Begins, and have got some more gigs coming up. For some reason that aren’t that many big name bands which play in Sheffield but when they do they sell out really quickly, despite their being a vast music scene in Sheffield. I was lucky enough to get a chance to see The Killers play at the Motorpoint Arena which was amazing and by far the best gig I have ever been too, the atmosphere was incredible and they are such a good live band.

Sheffield is definitely a music city which thrives on it with local and famous bands and it makes it feel vibrant, with the ride range of festivals such as Tramlines and Made in Sheffield which showcase local talent and bring more people into the city.

MySpace: Can relaunching social networking sites work?

MySpace has announced that they are planning to relaunch their website in a bid to try to, capture the energy that it had when it was released onto the Internet in January 2004. As with every other social networking site that has been released a very few have survived the new websites which have been developed as new social norms are used within society.


As with most websites it gets views once the word goes out its views increase the statics when it was new was 1 million users after a month, then in November of 2004 it got 5 million users. Then in 2008 MySpace had 110 million active users a month compared to Facebook active users of 60 million active users, which is about the time that Facebook started to become more popular. Despite these  statics users over the next 3 years dropped as they followed their friends to other social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Personally I think that as with fashion changes over time so does the trends in technology and that is what happened to out-of-date social networking sites like Bebo. As with the majority of social networking users I have joined them just because my friends was on them or just grew out of them as I got older. When I used my MySpace account (not sure if it is still active or not) I didn’t use it as much I used my Bebo account, as I saw it in the view that it was mainly for bands to use to get people to get into the music industry. I also found it really confusing to use and change to make it your own, which to me is where it didn’t keep it’s users interested in it which is where Facebook had a bigger advantage.

Eventually other social networking sites will disappear as new ones come out which are bigger and better than what already exists and trends change according to society. Trying to keep any service fresh and exciting is hard task but especially in technology related services, but if it is done correctly it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will attract the users and views they want to stay number 1. MySpace will be one of the first social networking sites to try to relaunch itself whether it works will rely on using Facebook and Twitter which may not work how they want it to as it may backfire on them. I have watched a video about what is new with MySpace and it is basically a mash-up of Facebook and Twitter which may bring up a few issues with copyright with the companies themselves. I do like the look of the new layout as it shows differences in the competition, but if the change of layout isn’t what the existing users like then there users who have stayed may stray to a different site or leave it entirely.

Are we becoming dependent on technology?

The other day I was watching a film called ” The Animatrix” which has some interesting short stories  based on “The Matrix” it got me thinking about how reliant we are with technology. It may seem hypocritical as I am wanting to work with technology in the future but, the more we use it the less we are using what is seen as more traditional ways of how we live our daily lives. When I was younger computers, gadgets and the Internet was just coming out, and what used to be considered as fast is now considered to be an out of date form of technology.

In the film the short stories mainly concentrate on how the use of robots in everyday lives are seen by humans as slaves with no feelings and taken for granted. The robots then revolt and take over to be a power which has the possibility of overpowering their previous owners. Although we haven’t got that far just yet how technology has gone in a few decades is beyond what the forefathers of technology could have ever imagined. In the next few decades or years robots (although at the moment they are basic compared to what we can do) could eventually come more powerful, despite the obvious limit that they can only be as clever as the people who program them. This may change as the memory of the robots of the future they have the possibility that they can find more logical ways of solving a problem, in ways in which the human brain can’t comprehend.

There is a computer called “Watson” who competed against humans in a quiz called “Jeopardy!” which is powered by 2,800 processors and has 15TB of RAM, it shows that the capabilities of how  we can design robots and computers can be more powerful than could ever be imagined. It answers questions by having all of the information that the programmers thought it would need to win the quiz and wasn’t connected to the Internet throughout the quiz, it analyses the question with the keywords and logically thinks what the answer will be. It’s an amazing feat of engineering which needs to be celebrated but also questioned to how important it is to our every day lives, whether having technology that is more advanced than us is an advantage or a disadvantage.

I think that we are becoming more and more dependent on technology and whether it is good or bad is something which, needs to be thought about the more we rely on it to do basic tasks such as organizing our lives and how we communicate with people. This has changed drastically and if we as a society can reach a state of where we aren’t addicted to using it can find a balance between reality and virtual life.

Why aren’t girls willing to go into IT?

I have been interested in technology for 7/8 years now and the gender balance has always been uneven. There are many reasons why such as the sheer amount of males on courses which can be a bit daunting. When I was looking at my university course I was excited and happy to find a female on my course, it was different at college where I was the only girl on my course. It doesn’t come as a shock to know that there aren’t many females in IT but, when there are females with you it allows a break in the geeky conversations which is very helpful.

Another reason why there aren’t many females in the technology industry is the image that working with technology brings, that the typical stereotype of a girl who works in technology. This stereotype is of a girl who wears bland colourless clothes, glasses, a girl who is boring and more, but this is far from the truth as society has modernised the stereotype has almost disappeared.

Stereotypical nerd

As IT is a technical and mathematical subject this can put off females from studying it further than they can, I have found it to be stumbling block in my first year of uni as maths isn’t my strong point. In reality it only uses basic maths such as adding and the theories which, are used in IT I found to be quite easy to grasp once they was explained outside of maths lectures. Once it was taught outside of the lectures and seminars and when it was used in practice it made more sense in how it worked. So once it is taught practically and not theoretically it makes more sense which could make technology more appealing to girls.

When I was researching for this topic I stumbled upon a news article which made me proud, it was about how Sheffield Hallam University had won the national award for promoting the role of women in science and technology. The university ensures that there is an equal number of females and males in an interview panel, which is helping to raise the profiles of women inside and outside of the university environment.

Overall I think that as the more use of new technologies such as the Raspberry Pi will hopefully help to bring more girls interested in computers, as long as it is taught effectively compared to the way that IT is being taught now. The teaching of IT needs to be changed in secondary schools to create more interaction with code and hardware to make girls more interested in it. From a personal experience I find that thinking with technology girls prefer the creative and logical thinking aspect of how a program will work and what won’t work. The way that it is taught in secondary schools isn’t done as effectively as it could be as it doesn’t cater for this way of thinking of technology.

Is Apple testing the loyalty of it’s users?

Although I’m not the biggest fan of Apple products as I find them expensive and not worth the money that they ask for, I wouldn’t buy one myself but wouldn’t turn one down if I was brought one. The news that came out a few days made me question how loyal the buyers of Apple products, will be when the iPhone 5 is released.

I ask this because reports have shown that the current 30 pin connector in the iPhones up to now will use a 19 pin one. Which will mean that Apple users who buy this will have to get a new charger, new dock and all the other countless accessories will have to be brought. Will Apple users who are dedicated to buying new products when they are released be willing to everything new? I think most of them will to keep up with appearances with their friends and family to have the best and newest technology at that time.


Steve Jobs said that this wouldn’t happen as Apple like most companies around the world rely on customer loyalty, with this slight change it design it might show who is really loyal to Apple. I can see why they have changed the pin size to allow for a more technological and better way of charging up phones via a magnet cable or a switch to allow charging via magnets. The gamble which Tim Cook has taken will show how many loyal customers will buy the new iPhone 5, and the new accessories and adapters to allow it to still be used will be seen in a few months.

Lack of security of the Internet

Since the news of Google Street View has been stealing data when it was taking pictures of all the buildings and gardens of the streets in the world. It has come out that when they released the images in 2007 there wasn’t any information released about what other reason they was doing it for. 

In may of 2012 it was released in the news that as they was taking pictures of the streets around the world they, was also capturing information from people’s computers and laptops. Google has a responsibility to be transparent about what it is doing, behind all of it’s ventures in innovating the internet to be more interactive. It’s reputation could be scarred temporarily as human nature will most likely remember it happened for a few weeks but, will be forgotten and still use Street View for finding where and what places look like. 

Although Google has a responsibility for telling their users of Street View what they are doing it is also the responsibility to make sure that their internet is secure. Most people don’t properly secure their Internet connection which would have protected their data from being stolen. The majority of people don’t change the default password to their Internet connections which, makes it easier for anyone who knows what their doing to access personal data. 

So whether it’s the big Internet companies not saying exactly what they are doing beyond the main aim, users of the service need to ensure that their connections are secure at all times to make sure that their personal data is protected. 

UK/USA Extradition

Haven’t had much chance to update my blog recently due to uni work overload, but now have sometime in which I can update before my final exam.

Since I completed my poster for the Lovelace Colloquium 2012 on Extradition and how it affects the Internet, a lot has changed with what I put on it. Firstly Chris Tappin has been released on bail of £31,026 and is now awaiting trial which his lawyers say will start in early autumn. His lawyer Kent Schaffer said “He was disappointed that the British justice system wasn’t more supportive of him and did not give him due process, but on the other hand, he’s very grateful to the judge who set the bond. Because he knows that if things hadn’t gone the way they did, you know he would have been in jail for the next five or six months”.

Although it is some way to sort out the one-sided Extradition treaty between the USA and the UK, there is still a long way to go. As with Richard O’Dwyer his trial date is on the 30th/31st July 2012 when hopefully some justice will be done to solve the problem of the treaty being biased towards their own citizens. At the same time when Richard’s website was taken down there was several other domains taken down, as well whose “crimes” being the same haven’t been sent to trials.

When David Cameron went to America back in July 2010 but it has been over 20 months where nothing has been done about it where along with Chris Tappin, the Gary McKinnon case was mentioned along side it. The only news that has been recently said about it was back on the 28th March 2012 that he wasn’t a suicide risk and can be sent to be extradited.

All of this shows that the only way to get it mentioned in government is through signing petitions to get more pressure on the government to do something about it, and make sure that the Internet is made more secure for everyone. Please sign the petitions and send emails to the UK government as this is the only way to get the unfair Extradition Treaty 2003 changed. It is also essential in helping to prevent more UK citizens sent to America for crimes which aren’t a crime in this country.

Richard O’Dwyer:

Gary McKinnon:

Email your mp:

Buzz in the heart of the city

Been a bit busy with uni work so haven’t had much time to write here recently, when I’m not busy with uni stuff I love just wandering around Sheffield. The snooker at the moment is really exciting despite me not really being interested in it at all, it’s the fact that the eyes of the snooker is here and it’s exciting.

When wandering around Sheffield I went to the Winter Gardens and saw the pool table and some of the commentators, and it has brought a buzzing atmosphere to Sheffield. It’s also exciting to know that it is happening 5 minutes from where I live which is something which I won’t ever experience when I am at home.

When it finishes Sheffield will still be buzzing as I love living here as compared to my home county of Lincolnshire, there’s so much going on here.There is always a performer near enough around a corner every day of the week which to me is often a highlight to my day whether it is good or bad. As much as I like Lincoln, I love Sheffield more as it’s such a vibrant city which I will miss when I move back home for the summer.

BCS Lovelace Colloquium 2012

I went to the Lovelace Colloquium this year and it was an amazing experience as the atmosphere was so different to anywhere I have ever been. As I’m a naturally shy person when it came to presenting my poster I felt confident, and at ease as there wasn’t many males around to make me feel worried about it.

It was an empowering experience as I got to talk to women in IT from various companies such as Google, ThoughtWorks, Bloomberg. It made me more confident as they had got into the IT industry and are taking on women who are in their undergraduate years of university studying computer related degrees.

A big surprise to me came when they was presenting the awards out and my name came up for the People’s choice award and I won £100. My poster was about the Extradition Treaty 2003 and cases on Richard O’Dwyer, Chris Tappin and Gary McKinnon. When I was presenting it people seemed interested in the poster topic, but as I didn’t get to see half of the posters winning one of the prizes was a shock to me.

Attending the event has made me more confident in myself and has made me think about int he future maybe educating young girls into the benefits and rewards of working in the IT industry. It has also made me want to help make young girls believe that they can make it into a male dominated industry, so I will look into the idea of mentoring when any opportunities come up. I will definitely be attending next years (if my abstract is chosen), as it is an amazing experience and I definitely recommend it to any female doing a computer related degree at university.

First blog post

Hi, this is my first blog post so this is just basic things about me really. I wanted to create a blog to write about what I am thinking about really, and it would be an advantage when I graduate (hopefully) in 3 and a bit years time. I will update it when I have time in between uni work.

Speak soon