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Showing posts from February, 2014

Power Corrupts ...

Consider this original quote ...  "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always become bad men", John Emerich Edward Dalberg, 1st Baron Acton (1834–1902) Many educational establishments, operate a culture of fear; one where the tools of the network administrator can be turned against the staff who work for them. Taking care to avoid the facts, I was in conversation with a soul who used to work at a well known establishment. 
Whilst I do not intend to ever be drawn on the detail; their experience was quite an interesting one. A situation where a paranoid senior management would continually ask for staff to 'investigated'; having their email and web traffic recorded, monitored and reported on. 
If you trusted that this culture was based on genuine and realistic concerns. We may consider it to be appropriate. Protection of students, evidence in a possible disciplinary maybe or in the investigation of a crime taking place, su…

Heat Death of an Empire ...

I am very aware that I have an established readership of this blog. I enjoy your feedback via twitter, facebook, Google+ and occasionally comments. Those who are frequent followers should understand my style, just running under the radar. Avoiding names, gender, incrimination etc. 
So, lets explore the empire, now where that is, you can only guess, I will not say. But what has amused me in the last couple of weeks as news has been breaking about a certain educational establishment is how certain other interest groups have jumped onto the bandwagon adding their own facts to this conundrum.
It is as if, there is an agenda out there.
DO NOT get me wrong, i am no fan of the 'empire'; but nor am I a fan of those with only half the facts attempting to generate a truth for their own ends.
Lets look at the reality here. Many are taking this situation as an inditement of 'Goves' Academy agenda. Ok, its a further education college that is being investigated. None of the academi…

Finding some of my old stuff out there ...

Whilst I write for a 'living' and earn a modest royalty from the process. I have produced other artefacts and resources over the years, willingly casting them into different forums and communities in the willing effort to share good practice [at least I think that it is].

One of my early forays into flash, circa late 90's turn of the millennium was to create a simple subnet mask recognition tool. Long lost, unless I really dig through my archives, you can see it below ...
http://www.ie.itcr.ac.cr/einteriano/cisco/ccna2/Utiles/asmith_subs.swf It mentions me, it mentions my prior academic affiliation. At a time when I was still 'proud' to be part of that organisation. I guess they may have found it on the Cisco Instructor Sharing portal from a time long ago.

If memory serves, it was a quick dev; using a mouse over event, locked to the mouse on a vertical axis only.

Checking the domain, I can see that it is a Costa Rican Electronics Engineering Faculty. In many respec…

Some things you simply cannot prove ...

Chatting to a former colleague who still works for a former organisation in the last twenty four hours.

Naturally there is some considerable entertainment over the current media coverage. Some of it comical, some of it watching others get on the bandwagon to promote their agendas. Alas some of it inaccurate ... based on the facts that we see presented.

Nevertheless, that is the nature of a media circus, we have to simply sit back and wait for 'some' of the truth the emerge.

What we cannot prove it,  it is their suspicion that some of this debacle is being censored within the organisation. It is as if some of the sites that can be seen via their mobile devices are blocked within the main network infrastructure.

Interesting isn't it?

Not dubious sites, involving fluffy kittens and anything else that would entertain the pubic demands of a 16 year old. Instead this would seem to be respected news sites and those involving the unions.

One cannot prove anything and this is enti…

My recurring nightmare ...

For those that know me, I often refer abstractly to different organisations. Litigation is a funny thing, the sort of funny that is not. So, one has always been very cautious about what I share.

Nevertheless, personal experiences are different ... especially when they are recurring nightmares.

If this is the first time you have ever read a blog post; you may think that I am already somewhat off the wall. If you get to know me, you may appreciate how true this is. However having escaped my old FE College to a much better placed organisation. Somewhere in Milton Keynes and very Open about its educational remit. For a period, my sleep was often disturbed by the same dream enacted in various versions of the same scenario.
I had handed in my notice to go back and work at my old further education college. The typical end to each reenactment of this dream would be waking up and in that moment of confusion. It would take a few seconds to remember that I am no longer working there and where I …

Forensic Practice ...

At the moment I am critically reading material for our forthcoming 'digital forensics' reboot module. I am by no means a 'forensics' expert. Being more a dabbling technocrat who has a more than marginal interest in the subject.

What has fascinated me; has been the strict practice when it comes to the forensic process when completing an examination. I doubt that I would ever be suitably systematic to ever make an adequate forensic examiner. But in the material I have seen (and occasionally tweaked). There is much to learn, for all geeks it is worth going to ... http://www.acpo.police.uk/documents/crime/2011/201110-cba-digital-evidence-v5.pdf

Currently I am reading Appendix A, on Network Forensic Practice (page 23 onwards). I would suggest you do too and share via this blog your comments. Can you see what I think I have noticed.

Writers Cramp ...

Earlier this week I had to fill in a short form ... nothing untoward here, so you would think? But for the first time i noticed that my somewhat unseemly scrawl had turned from spider fitting to a drunken wasp. For the purpose of analogy, I can assure you there is a difference.

It was not a long composition, but by crumbs, jingo and golly gosh it was uncomfortable. The resulting prose took me a moment to recognise as well.

As hand writing was never a strong point, the QWERTYesqe contraption was certainly attractive. But seeing a sudden change in my dexterity made me stop and think.

So dearest audience, have you tried writing words onto a piece of pulped tree recently? How would you describe your experience?


BYOD in action ...

At the moment I am writing this from within a well known ‘City’ Further Education College. Via their BYOD wireless network. In what I can perceive as a positive step forward, here we have an organisation that is prepared to let their fresh 16-18 minds access interweb stuff via their own purchased technology.
It is not perfect, the BBC website was blocked. But i could access facebook, twitter and most of my google resources. I am sure with a little more of a dig I could have found more. The result is that students can socially and educationally engage with their educator. Whilst with some regulation the educator is enabling the students to leverage their own tech whilst using the already operational wireless network infrastructure.
They may not have entirely reconciled the need for control over freedom. But knowing the further education landscape well; I can safely say that this college has moved farther forward than many of its peers.

Sarcasm Policy ...

Do you work in an organisation that has a policy for almost everything. It tends to be the within the remit of the public sector and government funded, such as public health, local authority, social welfare, education and so on.

If you do work in one of these, you will probably know some of these policies and in spite of your years of experience, you may still be amazed at some of the unmentioned policies that some fevered zombiecrat has dreamt up.

Using the googlesphere, i came across this site, listing 224 for the UK.

Try reading the list, whilst remaining sane and not allowing your inner cynicism to choke your hippocampus.

In considering all of this, I think that organisations are working slowly towards a Sarcasm Policy. This could immediately fall into two distinct camps.
Those that encourage and endorse positive use of well honed sarcasm.The others that fear witty banter and will strive to ban sarcasm at all costs. Tell me, which type of organisation do you work for and in what f…

The word on the street ...

Somewhere local there has been an investigation. I don't know much of what has been happening and can only go on rumour, conjecture and naturally a bit of gossip.

So no actual facts to offer.

But, it has always been my way to listen to all the different stories and take a flexible view based on the balance of probabilities. It has stood me in good stead for many years and has helped me deflect some grade one bulls$$t from other so called academic organisations.

The word on the street is that the governance of this organisation has been found wanting as well as the senior management. Something I guess, would have been the automatic choice of 'attack' if you were going to look good as a government appointed inspector.

If a large organisation is in trouble, it won't have been the troops nor the lieutenants. One could easily argue that it would have been a systemic failure of senior leadership and governance to have stopped the apparent issue.

So, will this be a victory f…

Repeat offenders ...

In my senior examiner/verifier alter ego I occasionally get dragged along to investigations. Part expert, part investigator sometimes I think part henchman.

Whilst some of the cases that turn out to be far from suspicious, there are those that make you wonder what is going on. This, seems to be the case in hand for a couple of centres I am currently dealing with. It is as if they cannot seem to see that once they get 'picked up' they are flagged and will be watched more closely post investigation.

During the investigation, we may have found nothing (that can be acted upon). But that is a clue that we may yet discover malpractice. So, would you not think that once the investigator has called. You would check to see if there is anything that may embarrass you in the future.

Ho hum.