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Showing posts from December, 2014

Progress with Python on @Raspberry_Pi ...

Five days since Christmas and between the festivities, family time and generally eating too much. One has been spending time on my new Raspberry Pi. My plan, was to create a 'echo' server. This is a tool that replies to each packet sent to it. Nothing new here, but something that could be easily utilised in teaching:

Simple Sockets ProgrammingNetworking Fundamentals
The version one code is almost there, I wish to give it a try on some other platforms. But that is for another day. The idea is that a school could easily attach a Raspberry Pi to their network and using a combination of Wireshark and the Python based client, they could create interesting traffic on their network. With the added bonus of not scaring the network manager. Tho, I would bet that some network admins when it comes to encouraging educational development of our youngsters are born scared.

For those who follow my blog, I would appreciate some feedback before plonking this code on the InterWeb. I would like …

There is no secret to blogging ...

The art behind blogging is ...
Think of something to write aboutWrite about itThink of something else to write aboutWrite about that as wellGo to step 1 Sometimes you will have nothing to say, so don't; I am sure something will come. Sometimes you have plenty to say, this is good, consider how you may break it down into manageable quantities. There are many rule-of-thumb guides to article length. From my perspective, if it takes more than 1/2 an hour to write, it is going to take way longer than five minutes to read, then it is too long.
Long entries have their place, for people who have time, most articles need to be less than 800 words and take less than five minutes to read. We are in a 'bite size' medium, many are reaching your blog via their smart things, make sure they can read it.
I often discover readers in all manner of places. I have a reasonable idea of my reach and know which articles have done well and others that take their time. Don't worry about this, s…

Back on the Pi and programming

By no means an expert programmer, it has been some considerable time since I have stretched this muscle. Keen to explore and rediscover some old latent skills. I have been bashing away at my Pi today (pun intended).

Receiving a Raspberry Pi for Crimble; I immediately set about learning Python and refreshing my Linux Skills. Having installed the kit, updated the Operating System and created a comfortable working environment, powering the Pi off of its own USB hub, I was ready. Boxing day fun, here we come.

Getting to grips with the interpreted basics during the morning, working out some of the graphical, objected oriented and casting of types by lunch time. I am already getting my head around some of the nuances of sockets and running multiple shells. Which slowed me down a little.

I have a simple client server socket up and running, deciding that the SimpleHTTPServer object is far too easy.

So, what next ... more sockets then onto GUI components. I will revisit some of the coding pri…

Sprout bombing

I am thinking that there should be a new phrase that should enter the Christmas parlance of British folk.

This is the notion of ... Sprout Bombing.
Namely the noble art of introducing sprouts into somebody's diet without their consent or acknowledgement.
Having acknowledged our son's achievements earlier this year. The Smith family have been hell bent on a mission to encourage our daughter's consumption of the said green vegetable.
After some effort over the last few days. We have successfully dehydrated, powdered and inserted said sprouts into the salmon roulade starter today.
Not only was this a tasty treat; we have a gutted and annoyed daughter as well.
Please parents everywhere if you have children and young or old dislike sprouts. Please feel free to follow our example and commit yourself to a mission of Sprout bombing. Is still plenty of time the shops will have plenty in stock after Christmas.

Unsubscribe for Christmas ...

Earlier this year, I spent a week unsubscribing from junk emails. It was a redemptive experience and lightened the load on my various inboxes.

With the seasonal joy upon us, I have already started receiving emails telling me about the sales from well known retailers. I suppose it is the curse of making online purchases at some time or another.

So ... I have made an important decision, if you email me from this point onwards with the offer of a seasonal sale. I will unsubscribe (or block) your email. Its too much Internet mammon for my liking, opting out and avoiding your sales hype seems the best option.

I have already opted out of three providers in the last hour and will keep it up until the 5th of January. Lets see how many I attempt to block.




This is not the Smith Annual Report ...

There are many ways to deliver the middle class concept of an annual news letter. This is going to be none of them. Do you think the world has changed, where annual digests of our personal affairs are becoming less relevant.

With a combination of Faceweb and the Tweety Bloggersphere, you can form a view of many social media users. While the heady early days have gone, with many social media users now more cautious about their posts. One can easily form a view of the year of some souls (I am no exception).

Some social media platforms offer an annual digest feature. What would be more interesting is the amalgamation of a range of platforms per individual and seeing what story this would portray.

Fraping loved ones ...

The act of Fraping, is posting on someones own timeline in Facebook when they leave their Laptop/Browser or SmartPhone unattended. Our son has often experienced this at work, sometimes with hilarious effect.

However, I do wonder what is happening when individuals in a committed relationship do this to each other. Don't get me wrong, I am not particularly po-faced, Shirley and I do engage in healthy marital banter.

But why would you treat someone you are committed to in an undignified way in a public space?

Answers, if there are any.


Thanks to those who ...

Contributed to my little thought experiment ... I do not know if any of you noticed ... I do not normally allow anyone to write on my Facebook timeline.

Most years when my annual entry into this world is celebrated, I get numerous 'private messages' ... instead, wanting to see who would play along with Facebook's Pavlov'esqe prompting I opened my wall at 08:00 closing it at 18:00.

Well done, with my FB friends all alert, 20% responded with a sensible post. 0.5% was a bit too inappropriate and 1% made a suitably witty remark.

It is interesting, the world of social media has changed our celebratory interactions.

Be warned, I do deliver seasonal pre-tweets ;-)


My real professional pleasure ...

Having spent the last few days with some motivated, caring and capable individuals. I have to make a confession ... I miss face to face teaching. But before I get job offers or colleagues at the OU react to the idea that I am seeking new pastures.

I have no intention of leaving my current job, I like it far to much.

But, I do miss face to face teaching. Having worked in education for over 18 years. It is like a muscle that needs occasional exercise and it is nice to take it on a little trip and put it away again.

I must admit that it was fun this week, getting back to teaching some Cisco Instructors CCNA principles.

Partly seeing the grey matter fuse on some of topics. Partly seeing the penny drop. The banter, discussions, sharing ideas and finding different ways to help this subject make sense.

Looking forward to future instalments.

Being stuck with a curriculum mentality ...

At the moment educational opportunities in England are being stifled by a desire to meet the national curriculum. The national curriculum only and nothing else. Well to be fair, this is how it seems in the world of computing and from my own experience of the reluctance of educators.

The challenge lies that there are many areas that the national curriculum does not keep up with developments and changes in the discipline. Nothing unusual, this is a problem for many educators. Yet rather than worry about this we have learned to blend new developments into our teaching.

Yet sadly, we find that many educators; under siege will only deliver what they can because they need to meet national curriculum expectations. Rather than developing todays young people with tomorrows skills.


Why the silence ...

An unerring silence is echoing from one corner of education. After a couple of promises of conversation, commitment and consideration they seem to have disappeared into their own compliance.
Bad news maybe, not for the other three corners. But why the silence.

Counter balanced counter measures ...

It takes time to get your head around our education system in the UK, I am under no personal delusion that I am there yet; but occasionally I encounter something that gives me a little insight into the chaos.

Consider this dichotomy
National benchmarks ... a stick used by Ofsted to create fear for educators who do not come close to the median. Encouraging centres to do everything possible to raise standards and increase grade profiles.National benchmarks ... a stick used by Ofqual to irritate awarding organisations and in turn encourage them to harass educational establishments if they are too high. Encouraging awarding bodies and examiners to make sure they are not too high and reduce grade profiles. Have fun, hope the personal penny has dropped for you as well.



Candy Crush vs Sim City on an iPaq

So a very naughty member of parliament has been caught playing Candy Crush. What a bad person, with all the terrible things that are happening in the world, this has to be one of the worst. Nope, sorry let us scrub that last sentence.

Who hasn't been bored in a meeting, I know that elected representatives have to pay attention but who hasn't been bored in a meeting. We have all been to meetings that are called for the sake of having meetings. Some blowhard drones on or have us listen to cronies wasting time on pointless matters.

Many years ago in a previous role, one endured regular PM meetings on a Friday. Rather than actual fruitful discussions, they often turned into notice giving sessions and an opportunity for some of the weaker more unreliable members of the team to vent their inadequacies (you know who you are).

Around 05/06 having acquired a Compaq iPaq (do you remember the handhelds before smartphones), I had managed to install a version of the original SimCity on my…

My trip by ether to Pennsylvania ... thanks to @psucoil

I am not new to doing seminars by ether, I think this is the third, maybe even the fourth I have done. From the comfort of my own home, presenting to souls some 1000's of miles away. Why not, I presented to three locations in Botswana earlier this year. Able to share my ideas while remaining close to my own coffee supply.

My 'teaching by twitter' idea seems to have attracted a little interest. At ALT-C (in the UK), in Africa and now the United States.

With this in mind, comes an invitation which I will express in greater detail at some other time.

Who would like to work with me and allow me to help them enhance their established teaching programme by the use of social media (and of course twitter).


Over analyse and be doomed ...

Often in my role as a senior examiner I have to deal with queries that are a result of over analysis. In some convoluted leap of intellect, centres and individuals succeed in making life harder for themselves.

If it was not the case that life is already somewhat challenging, I encounter souls who add extra value creating needless effort for themselves. While the rules/regulations must be followed and are there to be enforced (to maintain standards etc), adding complexity seems to be the way for some.

It is as if they would rather embrace difficulty than seeking simplification.

Please, stop it. For your sakes, it puts you in the position of weakness and vulnerability during any verification. In fact it probably affects your pass rate, workload and quality assurance process.

Assessment systems are not designed to be intentionally complex, that seems to be added on later.