Meanwhile in Southampton…

It’s been a fairly busy day today.

Firstly, we were up early anyway, then we had time for a quick coffee or two before making our way to the bus stop.

Why is it when you are in a hurry, the bus always stops at every single stop on the way to town? and you get the pushchairs and the wombles getting on board and complaining loudly about everything?  at least they have a pass now, it used to be worse before when they would get on board and then spend ten minutes rummaging around in their purse for the coppers to make up their fare! then they moan the bus is running late!.

Then we met with my parents in the Marlands in Southampton for another lovely cuppa and a chat while my “baby” sister (who is now officially half my age!) goes birthday shopping with a friend.

Afterwards, we headed to a local shop were I picked up a Monster to revive my flagging caffeine levels where I stood waiting for ten minutes while the two people in front of me insisted on using their credit cards for a newspaper!.

After knocking back the energy drink, we headed off to the Central Library so I could talk to the Open University about the possibility of doing an access course and how to go about finding out more, before finally heading past the blaring SO Fest to get the bus home.

And now, I have to build up the energy and courage to face the hordes of shoppers at our local Tesco’s to do our fortnightly shopping! A few more energy drinks first I think, just to keep me alive until I get home!


Programming Adventures Start Here!

The Microsoft Visual Studio .NET logo.
The Microsoft Visual Studio .NET logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



Well after spending the best part of yesterday installing Visual Studio 2008 a total of FOUR times (kept coming up with a corrupt cab file error) and my google-fu only yielded four hits on it and two of those were chinese (thank you google translate addon for firefox!).

Eventually, I managed to get it installed and now it runs nicely so I am prepared for my first foray into programming for several years since college!.



I also downloaded Python as it was recommended for beginners all over the internet and am now completing the tutorials before jumping into the books I have

I am hoping to progress through the codeacademy tutorials, then onto the beginner’s book, then onto the more advanced stuff to build up a good level of ability before switching to C# and finally C++ where I hope to start creating a game (details withheld for the time being, but rest assured it’s not an MMO like everyone wants to do straight off!).




I would like to go to college again to study and give me something for my CV for this year, but I am having a few problems getting the paperwork they require for me and my wife to do the same course.  I am even thinking of seeing what the Open University can offer, but that will have to wait until I have a job and can afford it! though I would like to study at level three before upgrading to a degree level course (even though it is work from home course and it is a lot cheaper than University, it still is a big and expensive step and I don’t want to be stuck with a student loan hanging over my head!).




Ah well, time will tell! for now I am going to have a crack at Python and see what happens!.




Online Learning

As promised, I am trying to keep to my update schedule! 😉

I just thought I would post a few of my discoveries here for anyone who may be interested in online correspondence courses (I will try to put in as many free ones I can find, but the majority will simply be courses I find interesting (even if they are not free).

One thing that appeals to me about learning online, is that it seems so perfect for someone who spends the majority of their waking hours on the internet anyway, so why not learn something apart from random facts and figures while i’m at it? After all, we have practically the entire knowledge base of the human race at our fingertips, but most of us are content to waste hours a day on facebook and flash games!.

It is also a lot cheaper learning online: No travel expenses, No need to pay for residential accommodation, No need to buy hundreds of overpriced textbooks and other assorted fluff.

Open University

Everyone has probably heard of the Open University. Although not free (in fact can get quite pricey for some degree level courses) it is still a LOT cheaper than college or university for an equivalent course.

OU has a massive library of available courses (570+ spread over 50+ subjects), undergraduate and postgraduate with the option to apply for financial support if you qualify.

You can even seem to “build” your own degree from various modules they offer, sounds quite interesting and is probably the best place to go to if money is not an issue, as they have been around for years and are well known with a solid support system.

Email College – Free Online Learning

Completely free this one. Browse through the many courses available, sign up and in 24 hours, your chosen course will start (delivered right to your inbox).

None of these are professionally recognised qualifications like the OU above, but you get a certificate to print out at the end of the course.

Most of them are to do with writing (fiction/non fiction/marketing etc) so if you are interested in writing, give it a look!.

With no limit on how many you can sign up to (I have about ten) and no cost, you really don’t have anything to lose here. The courses are short (approx. 8 days) and to the point with no exams or anything (though this does mean there is no support or tutors either…you are on your own!). Though you have the benefit of being able to go at your own pace, whether it takes you a year or a day!.


Officially recognised qualifications here, though a smaller number of courses available, they are free if you qualify for support from your local education provider.

They have support staff on hand to help you and an active community.

Sounds interesting this, the benefits of having a recognised qualification and it’s free!.

BBC Learning

A large collection of small courses you can work through at your own pace. Mainly seems to be aimed at younger people.


A wide variety of courses, some tutor supported, some you work through on your own.

Some of these courses are pricey and some are cheap, but financial support is available if you qualify to help with the cost.


Offers a large collection of recognised qualifications and has an active support network. Though pricey, there are a few courses that allow instalment pay options without increasing the overall cost.

They are the main ones I have been looking at. If anyone has any suggestions to include I would be glad to hear them!. Also, if you have had any dealings with any of these providers let me know how it went for you!

I hope you find something interesting or useful above!.

There are a few more obscure ones I am looking into (or doing). For those that may be interested, I put them here:

Studying Alchemy

MAPIT Paranormal Investiagator’s Course

Alchemy of Becoming