It’s Going To Be Thunderous!

… or at least I hope it will.

Yesterday, brought some very exciting news that my last post had been featured on The Mighty – the online disability magazine. Cue several hours of not sleeping because I was excitedly clapping on twitter about this, then rich tea biscuits. Because, well, Twitter.

Today, continues in this over-excited vein with our Thunderclap Campaign nearing it’s end (3rd April) with a current 88% support rate and 4 days left to run. That’s 12 people I need to convince to pledge a (free!) support message via Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr. This is technically easier said than done.


The first day was very exciting with over 25% support, this went up for over 40% by day 3. But then it slowed. We’d run out of people to reach via our own social channels and had to let the campaign simmer over the next 2 weeks (you have 14 days to collect 100+ supporters). Things picked up again, the past few days, immensely so after a bulk email of our first ever newsletter for Expect Zebras. But I’m twitchy again. That feeling you get at the end of an Ebay bidding war where there’s just seconds left and you could lose that prized item if you don’t watch it like a hawk is there (can you just imagine what this is doing to my POTS?!).

So there we are. Whilst Mr Geek continues to talk the app into playing nicely with our database where I have been furiously adding chronic illnesses, their awareness colours, and lists of potential medications that people want to record, I am set the challenge for the day to get our Thunderclap 100% supported.

Would you help? Please??!


The Zebra Stole My Spoons

There’s this lady I know who has inspired me to be a bit more kickass than the boys despite being in a male dominated industry. There aren’t many people who can keep a bunch of nerds in check and stop the regular as clockwork Creative Tantrums and not lose their mind.

Anyway, not only can she corral the nerds, but she’s also a fabulous illustrator and has created these bad boys for our Expect Zebras app. We’re so drawn to the second one and his cheeky face, but the first one has a simplicity that would be easy to work with and reminds me of a sock toy. Uuugh! What do you think?


I can’t wait to see one of these guys on all our stuff. I never expected these Zebras – what a lovely surprise!

Expect Zebras : An App For EDS – First glimmers of a something

So, for those of you who kindly read and commented on my blog where I talked about my idea for an Ehlers-Danlos App and asked for your thoughts, and in fact anyone who happens to be popping past on here, the big news is that a prototype has started to make its way onto my phone. I’ve also decided to called it “Expect Zebras”.


Thanks to so many lovely responses on both here, Facebook, and Twitter, I have a good few months worth of ideas even if I was developing full time!

However, I will share the first few exciting stages with you along with the first sections that will be developed.


Home Screen With Possible Section Buttons

Version 1.0 is going to focus mainly on emergency support:

About me, takes your EDS diagnosis, record of medication, and emergency contact details to create a useful personalised fact sheet to show to medical professionals.


You can add your official diagnosis on the Settings page, where you can also set the app to read the screens to you.


I’m planning on adding other personal details here like your DOB, emergency contact details. So as all of these are personal bits of information,  they need to go behind a passcode. One bit of code begets more exponentially!

Next is medications. I’m not sure here – The simplest way would be to allow people to enter their own, but the risk of misspelling is huge, so a database of the common medications with levels adjusted as a when needed seems more sensible (this also means the slider bar for dosage can be adjusted to suit the drug). I shall ponder this…


I initially thought about having this create you a repeat prescription request letter, but I reckon most people who would use the app, would probably use online prescription services.

Finally, for version 1.0 I’m going to add a panic button (or rather a range of). This will allow you to set a custom message for a standard – help! I’ve fallen, or help! I’m in too much pain to continue on my own text message to be sent to your emergency contac.  This will include GPS link to get to you.

Version 1.2 will come once I’ve perfected the screens above and will be my Brain Fog menu with things like tablet reminders, appointment reminders with notes, and voice recordings for those of us with sieve like heads.

Another thing I’m hugely excited about is EDS specific physio reminders. Before I entertain this though, I’m going to see professional help (a little too late some may suggest 😉 ) because I’d like to include images or videos to help.

Anyway, watch this space for a beta version on the Google Play store hopefully before the New Year.

As always, please leave your ideas and feedback. Even if you think the design looks awful! I’m making this for me and you!

Hearing Zebras – A New Mobile App?

I’ve noticed that there a number of apps out there for people with disabilities, but the only ones that are built towards a specific condition are never quite right for people with EDS.


So, as something to keep my toe in the water, and tbh something to create a foundation for a backup for long term employment, I thought I’d do it. The question is this:

What would your ideal Ehlers Danlos App allow you to do / record / monitor?

Answers on a postcard. (Or more realistically, in the comments?)

Initial thoughts – photo based Beighton test?

Doctor appointment printable  (you enter notes & images and it creates an easy to read list of concerns for your Dr with sections to record their answers because, well, brain fog.)

Don’t touch me button – if you need help, a button press will speak for you and explain your diagnoses and how to help you best.

Edit: so, I’ve started the basics of the app & design. Tonight was figuring out a sort of design and got the text to speech working (much more to come), but this is what it looks like:


I Love You Guys

One of my kids today looked into how much a dev who can use the variety  languages I teach can earn and flat out asked me in front of the whole class “Miss, why the hell are you killing yourself teaching us and not out there earning this kind of money?”.

I don’t need to think about this much. I love programming,  I love the development cycle, I love battling the code. I can also say with a fair amount of certainty that I know my shit.

My answer : “Look around you. You guys are worth way more than an impressive pay cheque. ”

They may drive me bat shit crazy some days, but there is nothing like seeing a kid suddenly get coding and suddenly their mind is blown.


This is one of the biggest reasons that as I get slower and more wobbly,  I go into utter and absolute denial about not being able to work.

Sucking at Something is The First Step To Becoming Sorta Good At Something

Excellent quote from my favourite cartoon dog.


As the term really gets into swing, one of the things I seem to be repeating in every class is that I don’t mind if they hand me a piece of coding that doesn’t work. What I want to see is that they’ve created it, rewritten it, shouted at it, looked on the Internet and tried everything then handed it to me with wild hair as they mutter about how much they hate the program. Because you know what? That’s what programmers do. We get hold of a problem and roll it around in our heads like a insanity ball that eats away at our souls until BINGO! We get it. Then the joy can commence.

Getting stuff wrong isn’t bad. Repeatedly sucking isn’t the goal. The idea is to suck a little bit less each time until you’re basically bloody awesome. But that takes practice.

I’ve met a few students who got the bug early and made it their mission to practice at every given opportunity. I love the lunchtimes when they bounce into the classroom to show me their latest ‘thing’, all sorts of weirdness from nods to Pokemon to 8 bit music programs, to card games. Every one of these came from them taking it on themselves to bend their heads around the code. All I did was show them the yellow brick road – they followed it. I’m stupidly proud of them.

The same applies to how I see my teaching ability. The more I do this, the less I suck. I’m not scared of trying some new stuff this year, because if I suck at something to start off with, it’s just the first step to being sorta good at it. And so far we’ve been in the zone.

What time is it? Adventure Time!!

Thanks Jake.

Some day when I’m awfully low, and the world is cold…

I was checking my emails today looking for a reminder for something and saw a random email had come through asking me about the book I wrote for GCSE Computing before last academic year. I duly replied and sent a link to the ebook on Amazon and offered a paper copy if needed. Then I realised I’d got a review on the book.

“Cool!”, I think. This means someone’s actually read it. It was better than that.

It was a review from one of my old students….

Amazon Review

It’s been a tough old week and this was just the loveliest thing to find. I hope they’re doing well this year.