March 9, 2013

...Learn TDD with Codemanship

Music By Programmers - Raising Money To Educate New Programmers

As some of the more eagle-eyed among my Twitter brethren may have noticed, for the last few months I've been up to something in rare spare moments.

Finally, I can reveal what it is.

Over the last 4 years, I've spearheaded various shenanigans to raise money for the Bletchley Park Trust, and I've also been plenty busy rattling cages on the subject of getting kids programming.

I'm also a bit of an amateur musician (very amateur, some might say).

My latest wheeze has been to combine all these passions of mine, and the end product is called Music By Programmers.

Six software developers - real ones, coding day-to-day - who make music in our spare time have recorded a compilation album of electronic music which evokes that classic era when the likes of Kraftwerk, Jean Michel Jarre and Tangerine Dream were at their peak. When I began learning to program, this kind of music was always on in the background; the soundtrack to a golden age of kids learning to code.

We've got nine tracks from Chris Whitworth, Yuriy O'Donnell, Peter Camfield, Lance Walton, Brian Hogan and me. And, even if I say so myself, they're jolly spiffy.

Here's a sneak preview:

Made using only software (including the mastering, with Nagasaki Sound in Las Vegas generously donating their time and considerable expertise to make it sound - y'know - proper professional, like), we're going to try and sell as many downloads of the Music For Programmers LP as we can, and every penny of the profits will go directly to educational programmes at The National Museum Of Computing and Bletchley Park.

This is very new territory for all of us, and we have no idea how much we might make, but we've set a target to sell 2000 downloads and raise £10,000 in total. This may prove to be naive, foolish optimism. Or it may be we're underestimating the potential audience lurking out there. But, having raised similar sums several times before, we feel this might be a realistic goal.

£5,000 could sponsor programming events for kids at TNMOC, or codebreaking camps at Bletchley Park. It could buy a crate-load of Raspberry Pi's, or build web-based cryptography games for schools to use. Heck, we could do some genuine good with £50! It all helps.

The album will be released as a download in late April, with a bit of a fanfare to let the world and her husband know it's available, but in the meantime, we could really use some help spreading the word and building a buzz - well, you know how it is with this "Pop Music" that they have nowadays.

So, please check out the preview video, follow @ProgrammerMusic on Twitter and/or like us on Facebook.

Please spread the word - re-tweet, share, tell your friends, get it tattooed on your private parts and wave it at visiting royalty*, paint it on the side of passing asteroids**, and whatever else you can do to help us get the word out.

If we can reach the right people and meet our target of raising £10,000, that would do a lot of good for a lot of children. And you get an iron-clad excuse to do some cheesy 80's dancing, too. You can even roll up the sleeves of your jacket (the one with the giant shoulder pads), if you like. That's a Win-Win, in my book.

* Don't, obviously
** No seriously, though - don't
Posted 7 years, 10 months ago on March 9, 2013