Small Basic – big concept

buildingBlocksMicrosoft’s Small Basic has reached version 0.9.

Microsoft say that many bugs have been fixed and the system now works faster than ever. To see the updates in this version you can visit the Small Basic archive here.

What’s it for? One thing is as a great entry level for young people into the world of coding and software creation.

Lynn Langit and Llewellyn Franco have put together a great web site for children and teachers –

You can find a great way, as a tutor, into the world of code here and for young people the site offers the tools to get to grips with programming too.

We have written about Small Basic a long time ago, but the latest version and the Langit/Franco concept makes it a great way to get started for young people to create their own programmes.

The Third Sector Web home page is here.

Clearing the clutter – with Readability

readingglasses22Readability is a arc90lab design and utility experiment. Just sometimes you need to get rid of all the extra clutter and colour on a web page in order to absorb the text or take in a complex new idea.

We know that web designers love colour, ‘Flash’ gadgets and moving gifs. Believe us – we know, but Readability is a way to cut out the clutter.

It doesn’t yet work completely efficiently with all browser or page scenarios, it is an experiment after all, but it is a useful resource we think.

Not the web-designers best friend perhaps, wiping way hours and hours of exciting innovation in a single keystroke, but a useful accessibility tool for the avid web reader.

This last point, about accessibility, is highly relevant. What if you could turn a complex web page into a newspaper style, very large font, wide margin publication?

With arc90lab Readability you can.

It needs Java enabled to run and you can find the arc90lab Readability web page here. It is very easy to add the Readability button to your task bar. Tell us if you found it useful too.

Glasses image by ‘birdbrain’

You can find the Third Sector Web home page here.

Internet for news – main source for young people

The Pew Research Centre, a US based survey and opinion gathering firm, has recently published findings that show that for young people particularly, the internet is now likely to become their principal source of news and information – finally matching TV as the authoritative source.


Although a US based survey, we would contend that the trends indicated would also hold good for similar UK cohorts, such is the ubiquity of mobile phones and web access for young people.

Of the young people interviewed in December 2008, some six in ten individuals under 30 years of age said they now get their national and international news online. (59% of the surveyed sample).

In September 2007 in a previous survey, the young people canvassed stated that TV was their primary news and information resource. (68% of the surveyed cohort mention TV as a principal source, with only 34% leading with the internet).

This research stresses how important a web presence, aimed at young people, is for organisations and service providers in our sector.

You can read the full Pew Research Centre article here.

The Third Sector Web home page is available here.

Image/table source: Pew Research Centre, Washington, USA

‘The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan “fact tank” that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. It does not take positions on policy issues’.

THE NEW YORK TIMES: Literacy Debate: Online, R U Really Reading?

An interesting Blogrunner post that links to an article from the New York Times. Are young people and families really reading? As our partnership funds literacy events and delivers web expertise we found the analysis interesting.

‘Some experts say that the Internet is the enemy of reading, but others argue the Web has created a new kind of reading, one that society should not discount’.

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