In my old car on Skye
In my old car on Skye

I am a Professor of Computer Science and systems researcher at St Andrews University.

My research interests include: cloud computing, distributed systems, operating systems, file systems, persistent systems, ubiquitous systems, object-oriented middleware, p2p systems, programming languages, sensornets, component deployment.

I enjoy sailing, diving, keep milawi cichlids and growing hoyas.

$115 Million on iPads

January 17th, 2014 No comments

 The Los Angeles Board of Education has voted to continue its efforts to provide every student and teacher in the L.A. Unified school district with a computer by approving a new $115-million proposal to distribute iPads to 38 more campuses. 

Makes one think about approaches to technology to support L & T in the UK at all levels (primary, secondary, FE and HE).

Read more here –

Categories: Hardware & Software, iPad, Software Tags:

Cool wifi memory card for cameras

January 8th, 2014 No comments

Here is a cool sd card with built in wifi for automatically sending photos from your camera to pc or mac. Might also be able to use as a backup device for mobile devices.


More info here –

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New paid BBC iPlayer service.

December 30th, 2013 No comments

Quote from:

A New BBC Paid Streaming Video Service Takes A Page Out Of The iTunes Playbook
Cult of Mac – Given its tremendous success over the past 12 years, it’s easy to forget that the whole iTunes concept was once a risky proposition people weren’t sure would succeed.

Well, leap forward to the present day, and even the UK’s much-lauded BBC is taking its plays from Apple’s playbook — by announcing that it is rethinking (or at least augmenting) its classic flat license fee by borrowing from the iTunes/Netflix model and charging users £5 ($8.25) to download their favorite programs.”

I am sure we the Uk license and taxpayers have paid for these programs already. Another good BBC trick – sell us something we already own (like the boxed sets mentioned in the article). Will the availability of BBC programs on iPlayer reduce even further I wonder? We already cannot view the programs we have missed on holiday thanks to the amazing “available for x days trick”. Thank god for PVRs is all I say.

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Cool calculator for ipad

December 29th, 2013 No comments

I have played a bit with calculator for the iPad which allows you to write calculations with your fingers and then have them turn into real equations, like this:


I have just seen this app called Tydlig however, which combines free style calculations and graphing into something resembling a spreadsheet:


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A new cool thing (for Christmas)

December 12th, 2013 No comments

dekke have created a very cool new iPad stand which hold the iPad up using “nanofoam—laden with thousands of microscopic air pockets” (science bit over;)














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Digitising Scotland

November 22nd, 2013 No comments


The Digitising Scotland project, funded by ESRC grant ES/K00574X/1 will digitise the 24 million Scottish vital events record images (births, marriages and deaths) since 1855. This will allow research access to individual-level information on some 18 million individuals – a large proportion of those who have lived in Scotland since 1855. At the moment these records are kept as indexed images accessible from Scotland’s People, but this means that to extract data for research projects a researcher must first search for an individual record by name, and then manually transcribe the information they need themselves (eg cause of death, occupation, etc). This has made any large-scale research project impossible – a situation that the Digitising Scotland project will change.

More information at the new web site:

Categories: Cloud Computing, Research, Software Tags:

Volunteers Needed…

November 7th, 2013 No comments



















The Personal Genome project is looking for 100000 volunteers to have their DNA sequenced.

You can sign up here:

BBC Article about the project here:

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Tim Berners Lee Speaks Out

November 7th, 2013 No comments

Quote – “Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the computer scientist who created the world wide web, has called for a “full and frank public debate” over internetsurveillance by the National Security Agency and its British counterpart,GCHQ, warning that the system of checks and balances to oversee the agencies has failed.”

Life of Doug Englebart – inventor of the mouse and hypermedia pioneer

July 9th, 2013 No comments

On December 9, 1968, Dr. Douglas C. Engelbart and the Augmentation Research Center (ARC) at Stanford Research Institute staged a 90-minute public multimedia demonstration which presaged many of the technologies we use today – from personal computing to social networking. It was the world debut of personal and interactive computing: for the first time, the public saw a computer mouse, used to demonstrate a networked computer system which featured hypertext linking and composing with real-time text editing, multiple windows with flexible view control, knowledge management, shared-screen teleconferencing, and more.

 All can be found here –

Thanks to Andy (you know who you are:)


Categories: Hardware & Software, Software Tags:

Dean of Science Badge

July 1st, 2013 No comments

IMG 1455

These badges are interesting inventions, not necessarily heraldically correct, which refer to key individuals from the history of the University. Some were devised in the 1890s at a time when J Maitland Anderson, then Librarian, Registrar and Secretary to the University, wrote a little book on the heraldry of the University. I have used this to answer the question. I think the badges were made back then and get transferred from gown to gown.  Certainly, I had the dubious privilege of sewing the old badge onto the new Dean of Divinity’s gown when my husband was Dean! Taking the quartering of the shield like a clock face, on the image the 12-3 portion is the royal arms of the Kings of Scotland, lion rampant armed and langued, which appears on the University coat of arms. This represents the part played by King James I of Scotland in endorsing the foundation of the University. He endorsed the request by Bishop Wardlaw to the Pope, so the heraldry of those three appears on the medieval seal matrix, and they are generally regarded as the founders of the University. The 3-6 and 9-12 quadrants contain a version of the shield of Bishop James Kennedy, founder of St Salvator’s College in 1450, and the 6-9 quadrant is a representation of the shield of Prior John Hepburn, one of the two founders of St Leonard’s College in 1512.  So you could say that this relates to the United College, the focus since 1579 ( in two colleges) and since 1747 in one united college of the non-Divinity teaching of the institution. Perhaps there were two references to Kennedy because the United College is located on the site of his foundation?

Many thanks to Mrs Rachel Hart
Muniments Archivist and Deputy Head of Special Collections
Department of Special Collections

University of St Andrews Library

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