Visit to Tesco

 

    On Friday I visited the newly reorganised Tesco in Wokingham, to give some  computers to local primary schools that Tesco provided through their voucher collection scheme. Parents can make a contribution to local school equipment by shopping in the store.

         During the discussion with the children I learnt from them  that shopping was fun if as a child you can influence what is bought, and that their Dads did not seem to do much shopping. I learnt from Tesco that they have completed removing non food items from the Wokingham superstore, so they can extend their food ranges with special emphasis on fresh produce.

         It was good to see a large local business giving something back to the local community from its successful trading.

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7 Comments

  1. Quietzaple
    Posted September 17, 2011 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Supermarkets everywhere are making a fortune, except Waitrose falling back, and reorganising their layouts, expanding their floor spaces, shuffling their loos to the carpark and back ….

    Nightmare for shoppers, presumably a battle to greater geographical monopolies and increase in national monopsomies.

  2. Ralph Corderoy
    Posted September 17, 2011 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    These computers were probably standard PC consumer ones costing a few hundred pounds each, including their licensed Microsoft Windows. They need IT admin staff at the school to maintain them and are fairly “locked down” to avoid the children experimenting too much and breaking them.

    A UK charity, the Raspberry Pi Foundation, is dismayed at the decline in computer knowledge of school leavers and graduates over the last decade and blames the lack of computer science education compared to when they were young in the 80s and the lack of a computer that they can experiment with and break without fear. These days ICT teaches office skills.

    They’ve developed the Raspberry Pi, a computer the size of a business card. The Model A and Model B (harking back to the BBC Models) are $25 and $35 respectively, and however that translates to sterling come November when they’re available for sale, currently £16 and £22. Cheap enough for a child to have one of his own at home. You plug in USB keyboard and mouse, and it has HDMI and composite video connectors for the screen so it can plug into the kid’s TV in his bedroom. An Ethernet connector on the Model B gets him onto the Internet.

    This isn’t a toy; it’s got a powerful GPU (graphics processing unit) for the price and can playback full HD1080p at 30 frames per second. It consumes 1 watt and only gets a bit warmer than us; no cooling fans required. It runs free (as in speech) open source software, no Microsoft licence/tax required, and gives access to a myriad of free software; programming languages, applications, and, yes, games.

    With Google’s chairman Eric Schmidt complaining the UK’s “IT curriculum focuses on teaching how to use software, but gives no insight into how it’s made” and the Science minister, David Willetts, announcing a pilot scheme for computer programming GCSE and A level, we’ll hopefully see a resurgence in computer science skills that this country had in the 80s and 90s, many self-taught. The cheap Raspberry Pi computer is the missing hardware link that’s needed; kids aren’t allowed to experiment on the family laptop at home, even assuming they’ve got one.

    Reply: Thank you for the information. This website does not promote or support particular products, and anyone interested should make the usual checks over value, quality, competition etc.

    • lifelogic
      Posted September 17, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      I certainly agree that teaching someone the features of particular programs is more like a marketing tool for say – Microsoft than real education about how IT works.

      My personal view is that personal computers are a bit of a racket with software competing for attention and fighting with other software to constantly update, make you buy add ons or more security, spy on your activities, force you to buy spyware, fire walls, anti virus, extra back ups or child protection or demand that you up grade things for no good reason.

      Then constantly crashing (with it all needing resetting for hours) just at some critical time. Then as you have just got use to one system they force you to change it by “upgrading” the hardware/software and making them incompatible with the new for some reason.

      Instead of being like a car – a tool to get you from A to B it is a Trojan horse to cheat you or time and money.

      They are hugely more powerful and have more memory than 20 years ago but in many ways less efficient as a tool. At least my one 20 years ago switched on and off in a second or two and never ever crashed.

      It is rather like buying a car without the software for the engine. Then you have to buy the software separately but it has endless bugs – nothing wrong with the software gov they say it is the hardware anyway you signed a contract which said it did not work. Hardware people blame the software people then after you have gone 5000 miles they refuse to support the software anymore and force to buy a fresh software but then the hardware is not compatible so you need that new too…………………..

      Also before you drive it at all you are forced to agree to a contract that a. you do not have time to read and b. would not understand even if you did. I assume it says “this software is not finished full of bugs and irritations and you have no redress whatsoever regardless against the vendor”.

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 18, 2011 at 5:00 am | Permalink

        Software is like intentionally built in redundancy (such as the many devices with rechargeable batteries that cannot be changed when they fail after a year or so). They “sell” you something – but they can cut it off at will shortly after – by stopping support, rendering it incompatible with a new OS or hareware or similar.

        Badly designed software must have wasted more of peoples time than almost anything else. Still at least Bill Gates is doing something for world heath problems (enteric and diarrheal diseases, HIV/AIDS, malaria, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and neglected and other infectious diseases). perhaps to make amends somewhat.

        • Andy
          Posted September 19, 2011 at 7:32 am | Permalink

          As I have said to you before lifelogic, why don’t you try and run your life and company without computers and see how far you get?

          The market of computers and software is the very definition of the massively competitive market that I believe you (and I) support as the competitive capitalist model for society. There is very little barrier to entry, and to set up a software firm could cost less that £1000.

          When you buy a car, it needs servicing, it needs fuel, it needs a MOT every year. Sometimes it breaks and you have to pay a mechanic to repair it (Or try yourself). This is exactly the same with computers and software, which are massively more complicated than any car. That this complexity can be hidden to the extent that it is and multiple computers are installed in most homes is a modern miracle.

    • Adam Collyer
      Posted September 17, 2011 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

      Ralph Corderoy, I couldn’t agree more. I learned mine on a Sinclair ZX81 my parents bought me for my 18th birthday.

      It had a superb manual that started from nothing, i.e. “this is how you switch it on”, and worked all the way through to machine code programming. Utterly useless to actually do anything with, but utterly brilliant as a tool for learning about computing. You can pick them up very cheaply on EBay, but make sure you get one complete with that wonderful manual.

    • Jonathan
      Posted September 18, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      They may have been standard PCs but it’s what students are taught, not the price of the computer and it shouldn’t lower Tesco’s initiative as some schools don’t have the money.
      Students need a broad mix of skills, from simple word processing to development skills and everything inbetween and for most of those a Microsoft based OS is perfect as that is what they’ll encounter in the workplace.

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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