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Over 50 Local Authorities have been using OCC’s electronic market place solution for several years. To support the Government’s Individual Budgets programme, we have overhauled and extended our portal to become the OCC MarketPlace a comprehensive services directory for personalisation with information about trusted and safe services. 7 LAs have brought our new product and are already using it. OCC MarketPlace helps people identify high quality, affordable services using the latest information direct from service providers & council IT systems. Users[...]
The West London Alliance (WLA) consisting of 6 London boroughs (Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon and Hounslow) are working together to make their combined adult social care more efficient, and have chosen Oxford Computer Consultants to provide our OCC MarketPlace system to support them. With a combined budget of £330 million a year the WLA has the greatest spend of any single local government organisation in England for adult social care. By combing their budgets the local authorities[...]
The Sport England project involved the development of a Geographical Information System (GIS) that shows the profile of people living in different parts of the UK. It is designed to help organizations plan their investment into sporting facilities. Sport England selected OCC to develop an interactive web-based tool for viewing their refreshed market segmentation data. The Sports market segmentation web tool enables users to analyze the general population and their characteristics at different social and geographic levels. It makes it[...]
At the recent ContrOCC workshop on ad-hoc reporting John Boyle was reminded of a paper he wrote in 1984 suggesting that the ‘on button’ for a simple calculator (one that could perform addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) should be replaced by a ‘test’ button. On pressing the test button, the screen would display a simple, but appropriate, test: for example, 7 * 8. If the human entered the correct answer, only then would the calculator switch on and the user[...]
Here at OCC we are celebrating a double sale of our contract management system ContrOCC. Cheshire West Local Authority has recently purchased both ContrOCC Adult and ContrOCC Children and we also have a number of tenders in progress with other local authorities. This is a really positive step, given the anxiety at the moment surrounding the public sector cuts, showing that local authorities are prepared to and feel that it is still worth investing in contract management.
At OCC there are regular presentations between the engineers on any technical topic of interest. We’ve decided to post a recent one on a technique called Object-relational mapping. Object-relational mapping in computer software is a programming technique for converting data between incompatible type systems in relational databases and object oriented programming languages. So it bridges the gap between the database and the code that uses the data. ORM can be used for Fast prototyping and any data-based product that doesn’t have[...]
Flowplayer is a Flash-based video-player that supports streaming video using the Adobe’s Real-Time Messaging Protociol (RTMP). Amazon CloudFront is a content-delivery network (CDN) tied in with Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), and can stream via RTMP. Great! This is a simple-to-set-up, cost-effective, and reliable video-on-demand system. Where you can get a little bit tangled up is the way the video resource is identified to the player. Following the recipe for Flowplayer with the RTMP plug-in, you need two values, the[...]
OCC software is being submitted for approval by MCERTS. This is the Environment Agency (EA) Monitoring Certification Scheme. As OCC provides software for air quality monitoring, we have attracted interest from “MCERTS for Software” which is new. As the EA document puts it: Problems with Data Management can have a number of serious adverse effects Nothing new there. So what’s involved in MCERTS certification? It’s one of those happy occasions where a standard imposes reasonable and not too onerous restrictions[...]
The oldest software process is “code and fix”. This actually works on small one-man projects, but as a system grows, bugs become harder to fix. A typical sign of such a system is a long test phase after the system is “feature complete”. Such a long test phase plays havoc with schedules as testing and debugging is near impossible to schedule. The classic response comes from engineering, whose methods try to plan the software process in detail for a long[...]
Windows 7 64bit platform viability and new shortcuts.
Have you heard of the “smart grid”? The national generation and transmission of electricity is one of the defining problems of our time driven by concerns over energy independence, global warming and emergency resilience. To make the most of our resources and incorporate new power sources, such as wind, we will need a grid that is flexible, responsive and efficient. At National Grid work towards the smart grid has long been underway. Traditionally power is “broadcast” from a few central[...]
The conventional approach to making videos or other data available online is to buy a server and host it at an ISP. This requires up-front capital costs for the server, and development of systems to keep track of backups, redundant copies, and scaling up as your needs increase. An alternative approach is to use storage web services, such as Amazon’s Simple Storage Service, or Amazon S3 for short. Your files are stored on the same highly scalable, reliable, fast, inexpensive[...]
As of yet the iPad is not available to buy in the UK, but should you be thinking about it? If you have a public-facing web site, you might be wondering, Do I need an iPad version of my site? How will I deliver content without Adobe Flash? Do I need an iPad app? Because the iPad can display full pages at close to the size of a laptop or desktop screen, there is no need for a specific version of the site[...]