Garfield Weston

Beyond relieved and super excited to report that the Trustees of the Garfield Weston Foundation have awarded eQuality Time £7,500 for the White Water Writers project. It’s been a hard few months for eQuality Time – schools and funders everywhere are having to reduce budgets and make hard decisions between projects like ours and making up funding shortfalls. This funding comes at just the right time to make sure we can not only carry on, but also keep talent and expertise in the organisation so that we are poised for the sector to pick up again.

Project not going ahead

We’d put together a project we were really excited about for the Armed Forces Families Fund: Research Grants programme recently and have just been told that we weren’t successful.

We’re quite gutted – the project was going to use Freedom of Information requests to get exact details about how well children in Service Families did in education compared to their peers. We believe it would be a brilliant and very cheap solution to the problem, but the funder was thinking along much more traditional lines of in-person interviews and surveys and we struggled to get our project to fit in an application form designed for that sort of approach (there were other problems obviously; including the strength of the other applicants).

That said – the Armed Forces Families Fund did respond on exactly the day they said they would and with reasonably detailed feedback (which included comments on this very website which we’ve been looking to fix) and we very much appreciate that.

Applying to the UK Space Agency for Funding

We’ve applied to the UK Space Agency for £69,914 to do some really cool work creating space-based coding challenges for 16-18 year olds. Fingers crossed.

Some notes on the process:

  • The fund was this one: We’ve got a project plan that we think can boost A-level engagement with STEM. I’m quite excited about it because it involves both Open Source projects and education.
  • We sometimes have a professional grant-writer work with us on bids (I enjoy working with them, and they’ve been successful on one of four bids they wrote for us, which covered their costs) – we don’t use them every time partly because they are busy but also because I want to be regularly writing bids myself and developing that skill in-house.
  • For this project, partly as a training exercise, I put together a full Theory of Change and a Logframe, which you can see below. I always do this slightly resentfully (this isn’t the space/time to expand on why Theories of Change and Logframes don’t suit organisations of our size or that develop projects the way we do), but there’s no doubt that lots of funders have a logframe mindset, and I need to be able to talk to them in that language.
  • I will admit that after we did the logframe and Theory of Change, the application form itself, which was written by people who think in this way, was relatively simple but we won’t know if this was a good idea until we find out if the bid was accepted.

The Theory of change looks like this:

New Release Notes: The Open Voice Factory Enhancements

We’re delighted to announce a bundle of updates to The Open Voice Factory that will enhance user experience and functionality, particularly in relation to feedback, error handling, and usability.

Notable Enhancements

1. Improved User Feedback and Logging
  • The most obvious change is the upload page now has a progress bar so you can see how much of your file has been uploaded.
  • Error messages have been rewritten to be more user-friendly and informative.
  • A bunch of extra checks so that users get a much more exact reason for any issues.
  • The whole system for giving feedback to the users has been rewritten and is now much more nicely laid out.
  • There are now warnings given if users upload a pageset that has unreachable pages in it (or two pages with the same name)
2. Robust Code
  • There’s been a lot of refactoring and straightforward rewriting
    • The script is entirely rewritten as is upload.php
    • The Pageset class NO longer stores the grid_size as it’s only relevant to the grids, simplifying the data model.
    • A host of small TODO items have been fixed to make the code more presentable and readable.
3. Bugfixes
  • There was an issue where files that generated too many comments could cause a 414 error – that’s been fixed.
  • Several bugs relating to setting up OVF on a new machine have been fixed.

What’s Next?

All these updates pave the way for more stable, reliable, and user-friendly experiences with The Open Voice Factory. We’ll keep iterating and improving, and as always, your feedback is invaluable in this. Don’t hesitate to reach out with your thoughts, issues, or kudos!

Thank you for being with us on this journey, and we’re excited to continue building and improving alongside our incredible user base.

Warm regards,

Joe Reddington and The Open Voice Factory Team.

IMPS3 Update

Some updates to IMPS3 that leaders should know about.

Germinate Speed

Germinations were taking quite a long time. They are now back down to 4 seconds or so now that I’ve cleared out the database.

Germination Safety

Historically IMPS3 was extremely paranoid about overwriting work. If you wanted to start a camp with slug “happy” then IMPS3 would refuse to do anything if there was a pad called “happybirthday” even if it wasn’t going to clash.

We first improved the reporting. If we start with these files

…then germinating the Seed will give you this error message that lets you know which files are a problem.

However, if you start with these files:

…then germinate will run happily and produce a proper dashboard for you:

Significantly, this means you can now try the slug ‘StJosephs2023update’ if #f1f1f1’StJosephs2023′ failed

There will be more improvements to this area shortly – in particularly I’m going to look into being able to overwrite files that haven’t yet been edited at all and also give the germinating user the choice to overwrite certain files. Eventually I’d like to merge the seed file and the ordering file into one.


This is a very silly thing to mention but I like it – all pages related to White Water Writers including the pads, the dashboard and the website itself, now have a little favicon at the top, and I’ve also added it to the pads:


I put up an internal project on Github at It’s been getting a reasonable amount of use internally and I took some time today (more than I intended) to tidy it up for public sharing.

There isn’t really a long term plan for it (it breaks down large tasks in a way that is easy for someone who doesn’t do them often to follow – there are more details and examples in the README.txt), and 90% of the reason for putting it up was because we believe firmly in having our code be public unless there is a very good reason to make it private. It was also a nice toy example project to learn the JEST framework in (and also play with Node, which I somehow managed to avoid until now).

The other 10% of the reason was “We might find a use for this one way and it would be nice if it was in good enough shape that we’d be willing to share it with people”

Site Migration

This last week I finally moved the website away from Dreamhost. It’s taken a remarkably long time but has been extremely beneficial.

Part of the problem was that we were using Dreamhost to do lots and lots of different things, and many of those programs shared domains or filespace. Picking it apart was tricky.

Everything is running much more nicely now and things are properly isolated:

  • The main equality time site (this one) is running on a Lightsail instance.
  • White water writers has its own server on AWS that hosts both the website and IMPS
  • The Open Voice factory has its own server on AWS that hosts both the website and the pageset generation software.

Both WWW and OVF have proper staging areas for deployment and run entirely independently (which is particularly good because WWW burns through server credit a lot)

Amazingly we’re only paying slightly more than we were before for a vastly superior service.

Scaling up in Glasgow and Garfield Weston Report

Last year we received funding from Garfield Weston and The School Library Improvement Fund to scale up our work in Scotland.

We focused on secondary schools in the Glasgow area – and produced these amazing novels!

In the process we trained up new camp leaders and worked with a wide range of new schools. Our big focus now is going to be legacy – finding the funding to return to those schools and give more student the opportunity to hold their own book in their hands.

The full report we sent to Garfield Weston can be found here.

Problems with KDP – Error processing interior

We have accidentally turned into experts in KDP publishing at eQuality Time, so it’s always interesting to find a problem we haven’t come across before.

The book we’re looking at is actually my own book, but I’m using it as a case study.

I recently found a typo in a book I published so I corrected the manuscript and went to upload a new version to KDP. In theory this is a big advantaged of KDP – as soon as you spot an issue you can correct it and all future copies of your book are corrected.

However when I went to upload the new version I got this:

“Error processing interior – There was a problem processing your interior. Please check your file and try again.”

That’s an extremely unhelpful error message. In increasing desperation I tried the following things:

  • Upload the same PDF to a fresh new title in kdp – also failed.
  • Find the original version of the PDF from first publication and upload – also failed
  • Try a different browser with original version – also failed.
  • Try publishing a recent WWW – totally fine.

What does this suggest? Potential ideas include:

  • That kdp has changed it’s internal systems and something about my PDF now trips a problem detector that it didn’t before
  • ???

Other things to try:

  • Cut out half of the book and see if it causes a problem (and then cut out the other half)
  • Try on an entirely different operating system (my laptop in this case)

Work go in the way before this to be properly investigated, but when I came back to it after two weeks the modified PDF was accepted meekly without problems, which suggests that either Amazon was having problems of it’s own or that some reboot or other system event cleared up my system in some way. If the error turns up again, we’ll update this post.

Open Voice Factory Update

We’ve ticked off a long-awaited goal today and upgraded the ‘success page’ for the Open Voice Factory. For serveral years users have gone from this nice site:

To this functional but barren thing:

Today we finally updated that, now people are sent to this success page:

This isn’t just a cosmetic change – we’ve also made it a lot harder for users to lose their url, explained things more clearly, and generally raised the standards of the work.