Communities 2.0, Wales, Digital Inclusion

I had a truly awesome day yesterday keynoting the Communities 2.0 conference at the Cardiff Swalec stadium. I gave my talk “If I can do it, so can you” which is all about how technology and education have changed my life, helping me to bring my family out of poverty and into prosperity. I had so much fabulous feedback and met some really lovely people. The digital inclusion people in Wales are an absolutely wonderful bunch.

Communities 2.0 are just having their funding cut at a time when getting people online and tech savvy is becoming critical to lead an everyday life. It’s such a shame that all the good digital inclusion work, which has put Wales in a leading position in Europe, is now being scaled down.

Being in Cardiff was also a great opportunity to meet up with my fab new friend Aimee Bateman. We met when we both gave a talk at TedxClapham recently. I expect really great things from Aimee, what a superstar 😃

I don’t think I’ve ever had so many lovely tweets from one event. Incedible support. Thank you Communities 2.0 and everyone at the #c2conf for all your interest and questions.


US CTO on Representation of Women in The Imitation Game

It’s so great to see the awesome US CTO Megan Smith speak about representation of women in the film “The Imitation Game” as not being representative of what actually happened at Bletchley Park during WW2.

White House CTO calls for open source APIs, visibility for women

“Smith pointed out that Joan Clarke, the code-breaker depicted in the recent film The Imitation Game, was just one of numerous female mathematicians who worked at the U.K.’s World War II lab known as Bletchley Park. Likewise, Smith observed that women’s contributions to the development of the Mac were been scrubbed from the movie Jobs, and from the space mission in Apollo.

The upshot, Smith suggested, is that a perceived dearth of women in STEM professions can be partly addressed by ensuring the proper depiction of those who are already working in them.”

Go Megan! 🙂

In November 2011 I was honoured to take Megan, along with Reid Hoffman, Julie Hanna and DJ Patil around Bletchley Park with then Bletchley Park CEO Simon Greenish. I met Megan when I approached her after she spoke on a panel at NESTA in 2010 and asked her to help Bletchley Park to buy the Turing papers which were then up for auction.

Megan Smith, Reid Hoffman, Julie Hanna and DJ Patil checking out the Turing exhibition at Bletchley Park

Megan Smith, Reid Hoffman, Julie Hanna and DJ Patil checking out the Turing exhibition at Bletchley Park

We had a wonderful day together, Google stepped in to help save the Turing papers for Bletchley Park, and went on to support Bletchley Park and The National Museum of Computing in many ways  🙂  #serendipity

London walk along the Thames at night

Waiting just a few minutes for my son to arrive last night I walked around the south bank of the Thames by the Tate Modern Gallery.




It is a beautiful area, so different from when I used to walk along here 20 years ago.




20 years ago it was desolate, now it is vibrant 🙂 I love London.

Autumn trip to Petworth

We visited Petworth today, home of Lord Egremont and National Trust property.

Petworth is well worth a visit, Turner lived there and there are many of his and other artists paintings, the 1930s kitchens are very well kept and there are 700 acres of land, landscaped by Capability Brown, and 700 deer. Go visit 😃


















BBC interview at Bletchley Park and TNMOC

Yesterday was busy, and a lot of fun. The morning was spent travelling up to Bletchley Park and being interviewed outside by the BBC’s Adam Fleming and Simon about crowdfunding, the future of publishing and my book Saving Bletchley Park. It was a really fun interview that ended up with Simon recording close up audio of me knitting. Why knitting? Well one of the perks of my crowdfunded book, the one that sold out first included a pair of socks handknitted by me. Here are Adam, Simon and my daughter Leah, and the socks that I’ve just started knitting.


When the interview was over we went up to The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park to say hi and to see their new exhibitions. There are so many!

I saw the locked gates and fence that have been put up by Bletchley Park for the first time. I have to admit it was very upsetting to see them.




I was amazed by all the work that has been carried out at TNMOC. Lots of new exhibitions since I was last there including the women in computing exhibition featuring some real female tech heroes like Steve Shirley, Grace Hopper and Barbara Liskov. I was a bit disappointed that Turing Award winner and friend Fran Allen was not included, and that Steve was the only UK hero but, that aside it was really great to see so many women represented at Bletchley.




My daughter Leah had a go on several of the very cool vintage games and on the new Oculus Rift virtual Bletchley Park. An awesome project led by Chris Monk at TNMOC to create 1940s Bletchley Park for anyone to interact with. The project has only just started, but is looking great already with a virtual Colossus and the maze, complete with hidden Easter Eggs, that used to exist at Bletchley. Very cool and exciting, and needing funding.

It was fun to see Rory Cellan-Jones at TNMOC too, there to record BBC TechTent, taking pics of virtual Bletchley too. Chaperoning Rory was Helen Armfield who it was really great to meet IRL after knowing each other on Twitter for ages.


Helen told me that @documentally’s awesome social media meetup Station X is now running from TNMOC which is great news. If you live in the Bletchley area and want to meet up with likeminded geeks I highly recommend it.

I also had a great chat with Lin Jones, another of the very knowledgeable and dedicated people at TNMOC.

After lots of fun at TNMOC we headed back to London for another with Analia Plaza interview for Eldiario which was also a lot of fun.

After the interview we made our way down to my son and daughter in law’s place in south London for dinner. I wish I’d taken a photo of that, it was so delicious, dahl and rice, my absolute all time favourite meal.

We walked through Bunhill Fields Cemetery dating from 1665 as a cut through to the bus stop, I was amazed to find several famous people buried there including William Blake and Daniel Defoe. Incredible to find that just over the road from Google Campus in London’s Tech City.

We changed buses at the monument and took a couple of pics there too.

All in all it was a great day. You will be able to hear the BBC interview “Publishing Wars” on “The report” next Thursday at 8pm on BBC Radio 4.







Dunster Castle – a fabulous day out

We had a fabulous day out at Dunster Castle this week. From the cook and butler’s tour of the Victorian/1920s kitchens to the wonderful library, antique quilted and knitted bedspreads, beautiful gardens and working watermill there really was something for everyone. One of my best days out ever. Thanks to all the staff and especially the volunteers for such a great experience. We even saw a flypast by the Red Arrows as we left 😃









British Airways #ungrounded reunion

I had a fabulous time last night at the gorgeous home of Priya Guha, UK San Francisco Consul General. I was there for a reunion of the British Airways #ungrounded 130 innovators.

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Last June I was selected to be one of 130 innovators on a plane, for a hackathon in the sky. We all flew from San Francisco to London, our team had the challenge “Fostering women in STEM”. We won our group with our concept AdvisHer: Advise, Advocate, Accelerate.

Another great project to come out of #ungrounded was Beacons in a backpack. A great idea to connect backpackers with remote communities providing wifi connection and STEM information at the same time.

It was so great to catch up with everyone last night. From my team mates @Whurley and @6gems to all the other really cool and interesting people on the flight. I look forward to more reunions and to helping decide what should happen on the next #ungrounded flight. Thank you British Airways and UKTI in San Francisco for a great experience and my wonderful friends Whurley, Gina Bianchini and Arthine Cossey van Duyne for making my trip possible. Love you guys.


Beautiful Bournemouth

Spent a lovely weekend in Bournemouth for their first marathon.
It was a beautiful sunny day today, I went swimming in the sea, which was freezing at first but then really calm and relaxing. It was fabulously warm for October too. Bournemouth must have one of the best beaches in the UK. The only other one I can think of that’s anything like as good is Hayle-Gwithian in Cornwall. Would love some other recommendations…