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Showing posts from November, 2015

Black Friday! Dear UK stop it!! ...

Some traditions are best kept where they belong ... Black Friday is definitely one of them. In the UK, we do not have Thanksgiving. This belongs to the USA, your forefathers earned it, you deserve it, enjoy it.

As Thanksgiving is always the last Thursday of November, the immediately following Friday is a spare holiday taken by many. Over time it evolved into the first shopping day of the Christmas season - as families with spare time sought to utilise their time and retailers captured this opportunity.

So why do we have it in the UK?

In all honesty I am clueless, I have to ask why? We have enough retail opportunities without importing a disconnected experience from the US of A. Please, UK retailers as well as international retailers who reside in the UK. Stop IT!!! There are plenty of opportunities to make money - Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Can't be arsed Tuesday are your inventions. I am sure that some may find these useful but for the rest of the population, we want to shop…

Gentle Reminders, make me want to ...

Have you ever had a gentle reminder - those two words make the hair on the back of my neck bristle as I suppress the urge to throttle the source of this passive aggressive nonsense.

If I haven't yet submitted the thing on the day that the thing is due - I could suck it up and bear the grind of getting such an email. But a mass email - in which I am included, gently reminding some smart, capable very busy people five days ahead of a deadline does niggle.

It is as if I do not already think that the document needed is a process based process that serves little purpose except to exact some notion of administrative mind numbness.

Instead of clicking heels and getting on with it - even though it was my plan to do it in advance of the deadline. I dragged the item to a lower priority on my to do list and started writing this blog article instead.

Terrorist Outrage >> Media Reaction >> CyberSecurity Knee Jerk ...

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As soon as any network security, cyber security or technology expert writes in the wake of any atrocity there is a temptation to overstate a view in the hope that your opinion may be the fact that turns out to be true.

A week later, it may appear that the terrorists may have been more low tech than anticipated - which does beg other questions about surveillance. However this is not the point I wish to raise.

It is too easy to write an opinion article and join in the media reaction to what is clearly a major tragedy. Even media analysts admit that the western bias of many news organs miss out on the fact that there are other attacks taking place around the world, especially in the middle east. There is no single source, this is a multi-faceted issue, with multiple individuals, each with their own ideologies and capabilities.

While surveillance is an interesting tool and via open media channels information can be harvested - the sheer volume of data encrypted and unencrypted does not m…

Dealing with complaints ...

Having worked in education for almost 20 years - one has become used to the fascinating array of complaints that head my way.

Before someone reads this blog article and gets all self righteous. In among these complaints are valid concerns which I have upheld, supported and managed. Yet sadly these are not as common as you may wish to believe. Often complaints about different educational issues in my experience come when the customer aka student has a mistaken view of what they have experienced.
Common complaints include: My tutor has marked this question too harshly - I deserve at least X extra marks. When we investigate, we often find the opposite. The tutor was generous in spite of the best efforts of the student. When we offer to give them the correct marks, they are suddenly keen to keep their original mark awarded.Exam question X is wrong - it should be Y. Irrespective of the fact that exam papers are checked by different parties before they get in front of the student. My person…

Trusting the exam is about trusting the questions and not worrying about the student ...

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There is an academic nirvana in the world of distance education. We would love to avoid the tradition of face-to-face proctored examinations. Yet because of our notion of trust, we worry that every student is going to cheat.

If you had the opportunity you would cheat and I am sure that I would too, While we can become very moral, righteous and somewhat indignant. We are all capable of subterfuge if the stakes are high enough and the risk of being caught sufficiently low enough that we are willing to consider the risk.

We impose all manner of checks and balances and strive to create the perfect assessment that would reflect the students cleverness. But what if we stopped and took another approach ...

Could we create an assessment where we no longer care how the student does it - the fact they have done the assessment offers sufficient authenticity. What are the elements of trust - is it time, potential for plagiarism (copying from others) and having a surrogate pretending to be you an…

The Cowardice of 'tweets are my own' ...

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Are you someone who puts on their account - Tweets are my own - or words to the same effect. If this is you, then shame on you, please stop this cowardice. If they are not your own, who is tweeting them? Putting Internet elves and other mythical entities aside. 
Then lets face some facts ... you are a grown up - if you are under eighteen it is not as if you would admit to writing. Tweets are my Mums!


Hiding in plain sight - so are you worried about the new UK surveillance bill?

I will never give anti cyber security advice - if someone wishes to subvert a system or hide from surveillance. They will accomplish this without my help. However there are many that wonder how this may be accomplished.

You often get rhetoric that only guilty people have something to hide - to put this diplomatically, this is uttered by idiots that cannot see beyond their own proboscis. In a society that is increasingly given to surveillance - its not the state looking for the naughty people that worries me, as these intentions have a modicum of integrity. Its when the surveillance may eventually become an unchecked abuse used to regulate the population.

Scaremongering, maybe, concern that some dystopian Orwellian nightmare may become fact. A realistic possibility - even the Mayor of London (Boris Johnson) is declaring that this must be a job for the judiciary not government ministers.

If you wish to hide in plain sight - it is not difficult. Lets assume you have legitimately sourced…