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Showing posts from May, 2010

The new iSmug

Sitting in my garden at the moment I am both chuffed and appalled with the fact that I joined the worldwide surge to purchase an iPad today.

In deference to all Daily Mail readers I am one of those self satisfying brigade of smug Apple technology owners and thinking about this (albeit briefly) I am personally proud of the fact.

The iPad is indeed a yummy, scrumptious tool (or toy, it matters not) and boy is it solo easy to use. Now I cannot take any credit in buying this delight in technology a special thank you (and knowing wink) must go to my dear wife, Shirley.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Location:Dunstable,United Kingdom

The rise and fall and probable rise again of the "Quango"

Almost like some of Lewis Carroll's nonsensical and magical tales the Quango could be seen in British political and governmental folklore as a frumerous beast to be slain at the whim of the fearless politico. If reading this you wonder, what this fearsome Quango could be, you need to read and learn.

From the 1980’s the concept of centralised governmental management began to dissolve, where non-governmental agencies (funded by the government) were created to look after specific domains. This served two particular purposes.

Focus the minds of the public on the non-governmental agency, for any matter relating to the work of the agency. Have a political scapegoat, where any issue, would be the issues of the non-governmental agency, therefore not the issue of the government and enables the government to step in as the champion of the people.

From the mid 1990’s the term evolved into quasi-autonomous national government organisation and therefore Quango. Over the last 30 years, the prepo…

Shifting sands ...

In my role as Lead Verifier come Senior Standards Verifier [such are the joys of this time of transition] I have been immersed in the rules and nuances of different national standards in education. One thing I have learnt in my short time is that there is nothing more constant in life, than change itself.

But what amuses me is how some will hold on to the old, irrespective of the fact the new is coming up fast and will become established.

More amusing is the grip applied to the old, it may be going, it may be harder to retain, but the effort and guile used to keep it is often greater than the work in making the change in the first place.

Making you insecure about social networking

Many thanks to colleague and fellow tweeter @steve_walker for this article from the New Scientist (go to http://bit.ly/cEj8JK).

I did think about sharing this on my CCNA Security blog (see http://bit.ly/9z7fys) but this was far too interesting and entertaining keep to one closed community (sorry @charlieatcisco and @jonecat).

The clever part of this article is how a scripted element of browser behavior (identification of sites you have visited) is then linked to open forums on social networking sites. The result is where there is a connection, based on your visit to more than one then the information is harvested and correlated.

In simple terms, set theory is applied, in time, if enough links are exploited, an individual is likely to be part of an ever decreasing set of common denominators, where at a critical point it will be a set of one. Once this happens, all personal information shared (and public) in each of these social networking forums can be collected.  For a system to coll…

Bad public speaking

Can say where I am, cant describe who I am listening to, or even what it is about, but gimmie a break, its dull drivel and badly delivered. Apart from the dire oratory the use of PowerPoint is of epically disastrous proportions.

Why?

Before one attempts to deliver to an an audience of 60-80 experienced and senior educators, one would expect the orator to be able to face the population with something marginal on effective communication.

Ah well, able distract self with blog.


An interesting conversation ...

Over the last fortnight, I have had some interesting conversations with an International Publisher about a book for a well known imprint. Nothing is definite, nothing is guaranteed, but one is very excited and quite anticipant. Shame I cannot share at the moment. But there is always a chance that nothing will come of it, so prudence is everything.

Nevertheless, it is nice to be approached and ‘wooed’ in this manner.

A week later and the initial noise abates (slightly)

Following the post from the 1st of May (see http://teraknorblogs.blogspot.com/2010/05/active-participation-active-support.html), the volume of post on the forums has abated slightly, settling down into a regular pattern of posts and participators.

Some of the questions and responses still continue to impress me, with some of the Q+A giving me a new insight into student learning as well as the technology that supports the Linux operating system.

Good stuff, lets see what comes out of the woodwork in the weeks to come.

Making a hash of it

Some call it a ‘pound’, others use hash, for some it is sharp, for all it looks like a # and does not exist on some keyboards, yet on many telephones. The humble octothorpe whilst unassuming is often the cause of considerable confusion. What do you call yours?

Andrew Smith
Follow me on Twitter: @teraknor


Active participation, Active support

I will probably cross blog this on more than one forum over the next ten weeks.

Over the last eight months I have had the privilege of leading a course team in the production of a distance learning Linux course at the Open University. Today (the 1st of May) we now have the joy of seeing our work in action, with over 450 students participating in learning.

And wow, are they participating ...

Still being a relative newbie to distance learning [two years full time, and five years prior as tutor and consultant], this is the first time I have personally seen a course through from initial idea to delivery. So with this in mind, I am enjoying many instances of initial awe and amazement at the behaviour of learners in this paradigm.

At this early stage I am seeing three distinct classes of learners, in my personal terms [as I have not yet done the literature review] I can see.

The active lurkers, students who have clearly read the different posts on the forums. The active enquirers, students w…