For Sale – Samsung 15.6″ Laptop, i5, 8GB RAM, NVIDIA Graphics

Selling this fantastic little machine on behalf of my mother. She’s only moving it on and she’s upgraded to something bigger and newer.

Photos of the laptop to follow tomorrow (10th Nov)

Specifications:
15.6″ 1366×768 Panel, TN with LED back-light
Intel Core i5 3210M CPU (2 Core, 4 Thread, 2.5GHz Core with 3.1GHz Boost)
8GB (2x4GB Modules) DDR3L RAM
Integrated Intel HD 4000 Graphics
Dedicated NVIDIA GeForce 650M with 2GB VRAM & Optimus Technology
320GB HGST 7200RPM HDD
DVD+/-RW dual-layer optical drive
1.3MP Webcam
Intel Advanced-N 6235 802.11b/g/n Wireless + Bluetooth 4.0
Genuine Samsung 57Wh Battery (98.1% health)
Windows 10 Professional digital license
Windows 7 Home Premium CoA sticker
Original 90W charger
JBL 3 Speakers with Subwoofer

Ports:
1x 3.5mm Headphone Jack
1x 3.5mm Microphone Jack
1x RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet
1x VGA DB-15
1x HDMI
2x USB 3.0
1x DC Input
2x USB 2.0
4-in-1 Card Reader (SD/SDHC/SDXC/MMC)

Condition:
Minor scratches on the lid, but overall condition is great. Purchased in 2012 and never had a single issue over the 5 years. Battery is reporting health at 98.1% (it was never used and the option to keep it at a storage charge was set). HDD has a little over 10,400 hours of spin time. Provided with a fresh install of Windows 10 Professional, fully updated to the fall creators update and with all drivers installed. Ready for you to personalize through the out-of-the-box-experience (OOBE).

All offers are welcomed and will be considered.

Payment via BT or PPG. Will be shipped via fully insured and tracked 24-48hr courier.

Price and currency: 300 GBP
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: BT or PPG
Location: Nr High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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For Sale – X99 Mobo, CPU, DDR4, NZXT AIO

Due to an upgrade I have the following available –

UPDATE

Sold subject to RMA return –
5930k
Asus X99-A II Intel X99 (Socket 2011)
2 x 8GB DDR4 2666 corsair dominator plat ram

For Sale –
2 x 8GB Sticks of DDR4 – Corsair Platinum RAM PC4-213000C15 2666MHz – £60 each
NZXT X52 – bought from overclockers 12th August for a threadripper build – £100

Price and currency: Various
Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: BT
Location: GLASTONBURY
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
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Wanted – Microsoft Surface Pro 2 (or good 1)

It has been a while since I last used it but I’ll dig it out and check, there wasn’t any real damage the last time I had it out. I’m afraid I don’t know about the battery since it has been a number of months since it was last used (although fully charged before it was put away), it didn’t get a lot of use over the years since I purchased it.

Yes, will include the stylus.

Edit – Will try to take some photos tomorrow evening after work

Brad Smith takes his call for a Digital Geneva Convention to the United Nations – Microsoft on the Issues

On Thursday, Microsoft President Brad Smith spoke in Geneva, Switzerland, at an event hosted by the United Nations on the growing nature of nation-state cyberattacks and the urgent need for the world to work together to address this growing challenge.

Tags: Brad Smith, cybersecurity, Digital Geneva Convention

Accelerating the adoption of enterprise blockchain

Over the past year, we have had the pleasure of working with several customers on their business initiatives related to blockchain’s technology. During this time, we have been helping them to envision business scenarios, choose the right blockchain protocols and distributed ledgers, and most importantly, develop pilots focused on validating the technology capabilities to provide real value to their organizations.

When to use blockchain?

From the technical perspective, we could apply blockchain to many scenarios. However, not every situation requires blockchain, but there are some scenarios where it creates significant value compared to alternative technologies. Usually, these are shared business processes, with the organization in different industries such as financial services, manufacturing, or retail.

The recommendation to recognize blockchain scenarios is to make sure you are using the core capabilities of blockchain. You should respond positively to four key questions (see below), and there should be a real business case with measurable outcomes. If this is not the case, please consider using other more mature technologies.

Blockchain capabilities

The blockchain is one of the top emerging technologies revolutionizing today’s business models. Fundamentally, blockchain enables participants to exchange value without the need for intermediaries.

Blockchain capabilities

But what is blockchain exactly? And what capabilities make it so attractive for enterprises? The blockchain is a disruptive technology trend that enables a shared, authentic, decentralized ledger:

  • SECURE: Blockchain uses strong cryptography to create transactions that are impervious to fraud and establishes a shared truth. Also, all the transactions are signed with the digital certificate.
  • SHARED: The real benefits of blockchain, over conventional technology, are achieved when we use it to link organizations to share information on a distributed ledger.
  • DISTRIBUTED: A blockchain can be distributed across multiple organizations and becomes more secure as replicas are added.
  • LEDGER: Every transaction is written into the ledger once and cannot be changed after the fact.

Questions to be answered before developing a blockchain solution

Answering the following four questions can determine if blockchain is appropriate for the identified business scenario.

  • Do multiple parties share data?
  • Do multiple parties update data?
  • Is there a requirement for verification?
  • Can intermediaries be removed and reduce cost and complexity?

If you answered yes to all of these questions, then you have a potential scenario to apply blockchain.

Public blockchain vs. enterprise blockchain

A public blockchain (i.e., Bitcoin or Ethereum) is an Internet protocol managing the distribution of potential unique data with the following characteristics:

  • Many, anonymous, or pseudonymous participants
  • Open read and write by all participants
  • Consensus by proof of work

Too often organizations fail with blockchain because they try to use public blockchain networks, or their rules, for their enterprise solutions. Instead, the organization should consider the use of Enterprise Blockchain.

What do we mean with enterprise blockchain? An enterprise blockchain (i.e., Hyperlegder, Ethereum Enterprise, Ripple, Quorum, etc.) is a distributed ledger with the following characteristics:

  • All the participants, and their digital identities, are known from one or many trusted organizations
  • Writes and read permissions are roles-based and usually requires consensus of several participants
  • Multiple algorithms are used for consensus

You should know that we have two types of enterprise blockchain:

  • Private: Usually managed by a single organization. Typically, the network participants are internal business units or divisions. 
  • Consortium: In this case, the blockchain network is managed by multiple trusted organizations. New participants require a consensus of several participants.

Industries using blockchain

The potential impact of blockchain is significant across all sectors and industries—from banking to government to healthcare and beyond:

  • Eliminates intermediaries increasing efficiency and speed.
  • Simplifies operations by reducing cost and time related to reconciliations and disputes.
  • Potentially enables new business models increasing revenue and savings.

According to top market analysts and leading consulting firms, the top five industries that blockchain will likely disrupt by 2020 are financial services, government, real estate, supply chain management, and media distribution.

Reviewing our historical data, we also see that close to 80% of the customers using blockchain in Microsoft Azure are also financial services institutions, including insurance companies. However, as you can see in the following figure, the trend is changing if we just consider the existing engagement and pipeline.

Industries

On the other hand, double checking the solutions related to banking & capital markets, we had discovered that 60% of the blockchain implementations involved at least one participant from a second industry such as manufacturing, government, or retail. 

Common business patterns 

Just in the last 12 months, we were able to count 76 scenarios across seven industries. The good news is that based on our engagements with customers and partners, we also were able to reduce them in the following eight business patterns.

Common business patterns

By exploring business patterns, our customers can now learn how blockchain can promote operational simplification, reduce the role of intermediaries, and potentially enable new business models. For each pattern, we provide an overview of our common needs and challenges, the potential benefits from applying blockchain, key near-term milestones for initial blockchain applications, and an use case sequence diagram. Using this approach is helping us to define reference architectures, and developing IP to reduce the time-to-market of blockchain solutions.

As an illustrated example, below I’m sharing current blockchain applications and some public references:

Recommended engagement model

Based on our previous engagements, our experience delivering innovative projects and using our agile approach, we are now ready to help customers understand the potential impact of blockchain technology on their industries, as well as determine whether it is capable of delivering both cost efficiencies and competitive advantage for them.

Microsoft Services provides offers to help our customers have an improved understanding of blockchain, explore the potential of this technology through business scenarios and implement a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) based on Microsoft Azure.

Engagement model

Supported protocols

To finish, let us share our answer to the most frequently asked questions by our customers. Does Microsoft have its own blockchain ledger? The answer is NO.

Microsoft has been working on blockchain since November 2015 when we were the first major cloud provider to announce a Blockchain as a Service (BaaS). Our vision is to be the worldwide cloud platform leader powering the blockchain-based applications.

Microsoft is working with customers, partners, and the developer community to accelerate blockchain’s enterprise readiness. Our mission is to help companies thrive in this new era of secure multi-party collaboration by delivering open, scalable platforms and services that any company can use to improve shared business processes. Our roadmap is based on the following principles:

  • Blockchain on your terms: No one-size-fits-all approach — Microsoft’s platform and ecosystem partners make it easy to get started and iterate quickly with the blockchain of your choice, both on-premises and in the cloud.
  • Integrated with your business: Merge blockchain with the IT assets you already have. Azure lets you integrate blockchain with the cloud services your organization uses to power shared processes.
  • Ready for the enterprise: With the Coco Framework, Cryptlets, and our Azure services integrations, Microsoft is addressing existing technology gaps with blockchain and helps organizations build durable enterprise-grade applications.

Our active participation in industry consortiums such as R3, Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, and IC3, also help us to understand core industry scenarios, and to continue learning to meet the needs of our customers.

Currently, Microsoft supports the most widely used blockchain and distributed ledger protocols on Azure, including HyperLedger Fabric, R3 Corda, Quorum, Chain Core, and BlockApps

For more information, please contact your Microsoft Services representative and ask for the BLOCKCHAIN ESSENTIALS Offer. You can also visit www.microsoft.com/services.

Generation at risk of falling behind in tech skills unless computing education funding improves, report finds

A tenfold increase in computing education funding is needed or the UK risks seeing an entire generation fail to have the technology skills needed for the future, a new report has found.

The Royal Society study, which was co-funded by Microsoft, found that more than half of schools in England do not offer a GCSE in Computer Science, leaving many young people without critical experience in coding and programming.

It is estimated that around 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t been invented yet, and these will require skills in areas such as robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

In order to prepare the next generation for advances in technology, the Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of sciences, said more than £60 million needed to be injected into computing education over the next five years – a tenfold increase from current levels. This would give the area the same support as maths and physics.

School provision of GCSE Computing in 2015-16

Cindy Rose, Chief Executive of Microsoft UK, said: “Microsoft is dramatically scaling up its digital skills programme in the UK and we believe now is the time for the Government to do the same. The risk, if we don’t make these investments now, is that too many young people struggle to access new opportunities, and the UK loses its advantage in a world being transformed by technology.”

The report (below), which was also part-funded by Google and led by world-famous engineer Steve Furber, found that:

  • 54% of English schools do not offer Computer Science GCSE
  • 30% of English GCSE pupils attend a school that does not offer Computer Science GCSE – the equivalent of 175,000 pupils each year, almost a third of the total number in England
  • Bournemouth leads England with the highest uptake of Computer Science GCSE (23% of all pupils), with Kensington & Chelsea, Blackburn and City of London coming last
  • England meets only 68% of its recruitment target for entries into computing teacher training courses, lower than Physics and Classics
  • Only one-in-five Computer Science GCSE pupils is female

Only 11% of Key Stage 4 students took GCSE Computer Science (62,703 out of a total of 588,000) in 2017. The report also found that more than half of schools in England (2,703 out of a total of 5,135) do not offer Computer Science GCSE at all.

At local authority level, Bournemouth leads England with the highest uptake of GCSE Computer Science (23% of all pupils at Key Stage 4), followed by Central Bedfordshire (22%), Hartlepool (22%), Knowsley (20%) and Slough (20%). The City of London has the lowest uptake (4%) followed by Blackburn (5%), Kensington & Chelsea (5%), Carderdale (5%) and Rutland (5%).

The report also found that two-in-three schools in Hackney do not offer Computer Science at GCSE level, despite being located near the Silicon Roundabout, London’s tech hub. Nearby Islington only had six out of 14 schools offering the subject.

The Isles of Scilly (100%), Hartlepool (71%), Harrow (67%) and Bracknell Forest (67%) are the local authorities with the highest proportion of schools offering Computer Science GCSE, while Kensington & Chelsea (18%) sits at the bottom of the list, followed by Tower Hamlets (27%), Shropshire (27%), Rutland (29%) and Greenwich (29%).

The report, which was based on a survey, in-depth meetings with teachers and Government data, suggests that part of the problem with computing education is a lack of knowledge about the fast-paced technology sector among staff. One-in-four secondary school teachers surveyed took no professional development activities to enhance their knowledge of computing. The Government allocates just £1.2 million a year to training existing computing teachers, and the Royal Society called on the government to provide enough funding to train 8,000 secondary school computing teachers.

The Royal Society also found that just 20% of GCSE Computer Science candidates were female, falling to 10% at A-level
The Royal Society also found that just 20% of GCSE Computer Science candidates were female, falling to 10% at A-level

“For pupils to thrive, we need knowledgeable, highly skilled teachers,” Furber said. “The report paints a bleak picture in England, which meets only 68% of its computing teacher recruitment targets and where, as a result, one-in-two schools doesn’t offer Computer Science at GCSE, a crucial stage of young people’s education.”

Teachers told the Royal Society they are most confident with parts of the computing curriculum inherited from previous Information and Communications Technology courses, and 44% feel more confident in delivering the earlier stages of the curriculum.

Computing teachers are also in short supply, with the government meeting only 68% of its recruitment target for entrants to computing teacher training courses in England between 2012 and 2017. In Scotland, the number of computer science teachers has fallen by 25% in the past 10 years. There is also a shortage of trainees with enough specialist knowledge to teach a technical subject. While there are 65 Physics and 93 Maths teacher conversion courses available, none exists for computing. The Royal Society is calling for government funding on top of the £60 million to set up conversion courses so there is no personal cost to teachers and schools.

Student uptake of GCSE Computing in 2015-16

Reinforcing previous reports on the gender divide in computing lessons, the Royal Society also found that just 20% of GCSE Computer Science candidates were female, falling to 10% at A-level. There is a similar picture in Scotland, with a 20% female uptake at National 5. Chinese pupils and those from other Asian backgrounds are significantly more likely than white pupils and black pupils to study GCSE Computer Science (12.7% vs 7.5%, 5.5% and 4.1% respectively).

“The rate at which technology is transforming the workplace means that we live in a world where many primary schoolchildren will work in technology-based roles that do not yet exist, so it is essential that future generations can apply digital skills with confidence,” Furber added.

“Overhauling the fragile state of our computing education will require an ambitious, multipronged approach. We need to invest significantly more to support and train 8,000 secondary school computing teachers to ensure pupils have the skills and knowledge needed for the future.”

Girls work in school lab, with laptop on table showing science website
The Royal Society wants support for Computer Science to be on a par with maths and physics

Microsoft President Brad Smith told the CBI Annual Conference earlier this week that technology skills were in demand in the UK, and companies and that people of all ages needed to acquire the right knowledge and experience.

“It’s clear that 90% of jobs will need new digital skills; and it’s clear that employees don’t have the skills that employers require,” he told hundreds of business leaders at the event in London.

“That starts with bringing new skills into schools, bringing new initiatives like Computing at School, a programme we have been proud to support. It’s a programme that does what needs to be done – create a new curriculum to teach a new subject and provide professional development.”

Microsoft has also launched a programme to teach digital skills to people across the UK, to ensure the country remains one of the global leaders in next-generation technologies.

For Sale – 1 x Hitachi 3TB Enterprise Hard Drive & Cooler Master 110 mini ITX case

I also have for sale

Hitach HGST HUS724030ALA640 3TB internal hard drive – Warranty until 2020.

In full working order.

Looking for £60.

Cooler master 110 cube mesh front mini itx case.

It’s around 18 month old, in great condition, may have the odd slight mark, will double check.

Only selling due to changing cases.

Looking for £30 delivered.

SOLD

2 x WD Red 1TB 3.5″ hard drives, all in full working order, all three drives still have warranty until Sep 2018.

1 x WD Red 3TB £60

    • 1 x WD Red 1TB 3.5″ hard drives, all in full working order, warranty until Sep 2018.

£29

Price and currency: Various
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: paypal or bt
Location: Pontefract
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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Wanted – Ubiquiti AC AP

Hi

Looking to fix poor wifi receiption, looking to get a Ubiquiti wireless access point, has to be AC and i would prefer the pro version as well

Thanks

Location: Ldn

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For Sale – i7-4790, GTX 750ti, 8GB, Asus Z87m+ mainboard

Hi, Son is selling his PC as he doesn’t use it anymore and uses his PS4!

Its in a basic case with a 430w PSU (Model ATM 430FB) by startech
rough spec is an i7-4790 3.6ghz + a cooler on top obviously!”!
8gb hyperx RAM
Asus Z87m-plus M/Board (LGA 1150)
and a NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 750ti graphics adaptor
No hard disk as he removed it because he has al sorts of things on it otherwise its all in great condition and working fine, think he even has the original boxes for the motherboard etc as well.

will post some piccies when I have time and just thought I’d get the ad up if any interest.

bargain I think at £230 ono

Price and currency: 230
Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: paypal or cash
Location: Durham
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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For Sale – AMD Ryzen 1600X

Just upgraded from this chip. Boxed retail 1600X bought in June.

Price and currency: 155
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: PPG or BT
Location: London
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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