Remote Access Server
Working is tough enough. Fixed hours. Deadlines. Customers. Pressure.
Why make it tougher for people who are sensitive to noise, crowds, light, smells? Why insist that they have to come to an office and work in teams?
PALS often prefer to work together or in close knit teams of like minded people. It is important to create a working environment that:
Meets potentially complex work life balances
Allows PALS to work on their own if they choose
Permits quality assurance of all outputs
To this end, we need to have a remote access server that PALS can log into and carry out their work at a time and in a place that suits them. Those responsible for the work can also log in and oversee the activities and outputs.
This could be carried out within a modern public cloud environment, but this is costly to set up and manage. Our preference is to initially create our own private server using donated equipment and volunteer support. This will be carried out as a project for a beneficiary, either in college / university or young person who has finished education and is looking for a career in IT.
Specifying the functional and non-functional requirements will be the first part of the project. It is likely to involve at least two servers (a development and production environment), a Virtual Private Network, configured laptops for dial up access (with suitable authentication), a PC setup for backup, and some form of Remote Desktop to permit multiple PALS working on the server at any time.
The project will be judged primarily on the quality of the end product and its Fit for Purpose. In parallel we will carry out an Impact Assessment on:
Benefits to the PALS involved in the project, financial, technical learning, and engagement with the volunteers
Learning for PALS society into what worked, and what we would do differently next time
Ideally the Impact Assessment will be overseen by one of our partners in academia to ensure it is carried out robustly and disseminated widely.
How you can help.
Is commissioning or managing a server your job? If so, we need to hear from you!
We need laptops
We need partner organisations from software companies who want to donate licences for PALS to use their products on our servers.
How you can help
We need volunteers to help staff the confidence sessions. Some with IT knowledge, others to help with teas/coffees/cake
We need venues that can offer us a room that will take 20 people with wifi or broadband connection.
We need IT experts to help design the sessions and to Quality Assure our materials and handouts
PALS Computing Confidence™
PALS Computing Confidence™ is all about using Information Technology to help break down the social exclusion that many people with learning difficulties face.
Talking and communicating on general topics can be challenging for people with learning difficulties and often is a cause of severe and disabling anxiety.
PALS Computing Confidence will be set up as a free service for members of the community in which PALS live. The service will include:
Talks on various IT related topics. Such as ‘how does a computer work?’, what do you need to know about the operating system?’, ‘how to seamlessly make all your devices work together’, ‘how to remedy a device that starts running slowly’, what to do if the device stops working before calling in the experts and spending lots of money’.
Surgeries after the talks where people can bring a faulty device or get some specific help on a problem or topic.
The talks and surgeries will be run at no cost, although donations will be welcome. Teas and cakes will be provided, again for a donation. The donations will be used to keep the Computing Confidence sessions running.
The talks and surgeries will be staffed by PALS, staff of PALS Society, and volunteers from local businesses who have IT expertise. They will take place in community buildings.
The design of the Computing Confidence talks will be overseen by our academic and business partners. Although not formally accredited at this stage, they will have a high quality design and be quality assured. The expert volunteers in the sessions will be able to add QA on the day.
Web scraping is a technique that uses robots to travel through the internet looking for, and capturing data to meet a customer's requirements. Often it is used to gather pricing information from retail websites for competitor analyses.
We have a customer who would like to carry out a feasibility study to extract data from local authority planning portals and assemble it in a searchable database.
The project will involve assessing a number of different tools that carry out scraping, including programming, to work out which is the most efficient at this task. The robots will be programmed to regularly search through the portals to update the database, or to recognise when a page has been updated and capture the update.
How you can help
We need a young person who meets our criteria to take on this project to develop work ready skills in web scraping.
There will also be opportunities to get involved in our other projects to broaden the learning.
How you can help
We need donations of broken or unwanted computers (see flyer)
We need people who know about computer repair to help our young people
We need young people with autism or a learning difficulty who would like to learn more about computer hardware, or as part of a work placement project
Understanding and being able to work with computer hardware is an essential set of skills for young people who want to embark on a career with IT. Even if you only plan to become a coder, understanding hardware is important.
Our up-cycling project will help develop these skills by providing access to literally hundreds of different devices in varying stages of repair, and getting our young people to upcycle into working computers. included in this is:
Safety test (PAT test) to ensure the donated item is not dangerous.
Remove the hard drive and securely and permanently wipe it clean
Strip out the main components and test them on our test rig
Document and store the working components and send for recycling those that aren't.
Build to specification a computer based on working components
Safety test the rebuilt computer
Functionality test of the rebuilt computer
Load an operating system and test operations
PAT test the completed project.
Future exciting projects will be coming soon
Based in Fareham, Hampshire
registered charity number 1173303
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