OCR A Level Computer Science – How businesses exchange data

OCR A Level Computer Science - Exchanging data

Here are some examples of software being used by businesses today to exchange data. This will help students understand OCR A Level Computer Science, Exchanging Data.

Compression, Encryption and Hashing – 7-zip

7-zip is the de-facto compression program. 7-zip can compress files using the Zip protocol and Tar/Gzip. Gzip is faster at compressing files than Zip. Gzip is often used alongside Tar. Gzip can compress files but not archive files like Tar. Together GZIP and Tar make a good combination. Zip both compresses and archives files.

7-zip is supports encrpytion. Businesses often use the encryption feature of 7-zip to securely transfer files.

Databases – Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL and PostgreSQL

The three main database programs used used in business are Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL and PostgreSQL. MySQL and PostgreSQL are open source. PostgreSQL is gaining popularity among developers. MySQL still remains to be the more widely used than PostgreSQL.

Microsoft SQL Server Express is free to use. There are a number of paid versions of Microsoft SQL Server. Commercial versions do not have limitiations such as database size. Microsoft’s cloud platform Azure now provides SQL Server as a cloud based service.

Networks – Ping, Telnet, Netstat, Nslookup

Many of the software tools used in business to troubleshoot network issues are part of the Microsoft Windows and Linux Operating system.

  • Ping, test connectivity to another IP address.
  • Telnet, test if a TCP port is open (send emails if you want to be retro).
  • Netstat, display listening and connected ports.
  • nslookup, test a website address against a dns server.

Web Technologies – Apache, Nginx, Javascript and Text Editors

The two most popular webserver programs in use today are Apache and Nginx. Nginx is the new kid on the block and becoming very popular.

Javascript was once frowned upon as a computer language. Javascript is now the goto language for development. The popularity of Facebook’s React and React Native platforms for app development may have a part to play in Javascript’s growth. The async feature of Javascript is important as websites can have millions of requests every minute. I like to think of async like a clever barista. A clever barista makes coffee for multiple people and serves them when the coffee is ready. Alternatively a sync barista would only server one person at a time. Javascript is the clever barista.

Most developers use Text Editors to write computer code. Developers are often dedicated to one text editor. Sublime and Atom are popular text editors. Microsoft have just released an open source version of Vistual Studio which is also becoming popular.

Hopefully some of the software discussed in this article can help students of OCR A Level Computer Science. The software discussed above is moslty free to use. The article was written by the team at Freeperiod.

CSI Network Manager

School Laptop
School Laptop

Before I created Freeperiod I was an ICT Network Manager. There is a CSI element to the role of Network Manager.

As a Network Manager you get calls to come and investigate some upsetting scenes. ICT rooms in a total mess, laptop keyboards with keys removed, grafitti on computers and the theft of mice balls. Thankfully optical mice solved the problem of ball-less mice. I do remember however lamenting with the Technology & Design Technician when a student decided to cut through the lead of one of his soldering irons while it was still plugged in.

I took a zero tolerance approach to damage. I discovered that if I left damage unchecked the problem got worse. For example, if there were one or two keyboards in a classroom with grafitti the problem would spread. Removing the grafitti or keyboard nipped the problem in the bud.

I also discovered another fauble of managing rooms. Putting chairs under the desks at the end of the lesson resulted in the next class doing the same. As people we seem to respond to our environment accordingly. If we come in to a messy room we show it less respect and vice versa.

So hats off to those who manage our school’s resources and create postive environments which say, “we write in our excercise books here, not our equipment”.

Are your school iPads in the cupboard?

In the UK schools have invested a great deal of money in iPads.  Are these iPads being put to good use or have they been put in the cupboard alongside the Raspberry Pis?

When working in education I observed the feel good factor of buying new IT equipment. If your school had lots of IT equipment then it must be really good at IT. It is true you can see a school’s value of technology being demonstrated by their investment. It is also true that the same technology can be put aside after the initial wave of excitement.

Schools using Freeperiod can measure their investment in iPads. I just checked with one of our Freeperiod schools and a sample report shows they have shared one of their iPad trolleys forty seven times in the last four weeks. This seems pretty good in my book. Are you able to measure how effectively your school iPads with the same degree of detail?

 

 

Freeperiod propel!

Freeperiod is delighted to have been accepted on to the IgniteNI pre-accelerator programme, Propel.

The Propel 2020 cohort;

 

Library Room Booking

School Library

At Freeperiod we understand the importance of the School Library and the important role it plays in schools.

For this reason we have integrated the needs of Libraries with our online room booking system from the very start. For example, Freeperiod enables Librarians to control who can book the Library and it’s resources. Some schools chose to allow only the Librarian to manage this space. It’s entirely up to the school.

Here are some reasons why we believe School Libraries are important and need to be part of the school’s online booking system;

  • :: Libraries are often an IT resource with many computers.
  • :: Libraries are often used for student study which requires administration
  • :: Libraries are often used to run school events.
  • :: Libraries are often used for meetings for teaching staff and governors.

Try Freeperiod for free now and simplify your Library’s management.

 

School Scheduling Software

Freeperiod is school scheduling software which allows you to manage your schools rooms and resources.

From experience we have found teaching staff tend to prefer labels rather than times in their schedules. Staff tend to think ‘Period 1′ before they think ’09:15’. It is a simple thing really but it can very much impact the readability of your schedule.

When you signup for Freeperiod we would encourage you to use labels rather than times.

Online Room Booking System

Every school should have a good online room booking system such as Freeperiod.

Ten years ago when I introduced Freeperiod I met with a small amount of resistance from some teaching staff. The grumblers tended to fall into two categories. The first group believed the good old ring binder in the staff room met all their requirements. Dispatching students to the staffroom for room availability was good for the student’s health.  The second group were the spreadsheet lovers. They created beautiful tables hidden somewhere on the school network. If only staff would leave their lovely sheets alone.

Ironically I recollect that the same individuals who seen no need for an online room booking system went on to become the biggest advocates of Freeperiod. I remember one occasion when there was a problem with the School’s Internet and Freeperiod was unavailable. “How can I work in these conditions”, one of the ex-grumblers said.

If your school does not have an online room booking system then either you are not managing your resources well or some poor individual is doing a lot of manual work. Give Freeperiod a try.

 

 

Online Room Booking Software

Freeperiod’s online room booking software is now used in the private sector as well as education.

Over the last ten years Freeperiod’s online room booking software has been used by primary and post-primary schools to help manage the rapid growth of IT resources. We have also delivered a bespoke version of our software to a local university. This university uses Freeperiod to manage rooms and resources in their UK and China campuses.

We were also happy to recently spin off a sister project of Freeperiod called Getbooking. Getbooking enables businesses outside of the education system to use our online room booking software. For example, Ritz Music in London use Getbooking to manage their very busy calendar of music lessons.

If you need online room booking software and are outside of the world of education drop us an email. We are always happy to discuss solutions.