Showing posts from November, 2014

Overnight passed 100,000 hits on my blog ...

This may seem as if I am bragging (maybe one is), I am keen to share this for the benefit of other academics who are keen to blog yet seem to be stuck in a mortal coil. The data speaks for itself. Do I have a large interweb presence, I don't think so. Yet at different events, meetings, social gatherings I encounter interesting anecdotes from souls who read some of my articles. Amusingly they refer to articles that I have to take a moment to recall; not that I am particularly prolific. If you take a look at the following pretty picture, you can see that the experience is sporadic, some months are good, others not and it takes time to develop a following. The spike is some work promoted by Cisco Systems to their community, (11,000 hits), the dip was late last year early this year. The recent steady rise and higher level of hits has been as a result of my work with The Conversation . I typically average 2.5K to 3.5K hits per month, some up, some down, this is normal. As

Theresa May's new Big Brother powers won’t help catch more criminals ...

By Andrew Smith , The Open University Home Secretary Theresa May is giving new powers to the police, which will enable them to clearly identify who is using a computer or mobile phone at a given time. Putting the politics of national security and counter-terrorism aside, the proposed act would force all internet data-providers to retain data, linking devices to users. Due to be announced before Parliament on November 26, the legislation is in effect looking to track the Internet Protocol (IP) addresses of any suspects. This includes, organised crime, cyber-bullies, hackers, terror suspects, suspected child sex offenders and vulnerable people who may be at personal risk. While this all looks good on paper and might seem like the right move, as someone who has been teaching network engineers for many years, I can see many flaws in this politically noble endeavour. How does it work? At the moment your computer, smartphone or tablet connects to the internet, it had to make a con

Introducing Regin: one of the most sophisticated espionage bugs ever discovered

The computer-security firm Symantec says it may have found some of the most sophisticated malicious software ever made. The cyber-espionage bug, called Regin, has been making attacks for many years without being caught. Most malware – which you are tricked into loading when you access free software, illegal film downloads or pornography sites – wants to spread as widely as possible. It aims to gather data that can be used for malicious purposes, such as holding your device ransom. That is why it spreads indiscriminately. The six-year-old Regin malware is different. It is unlikely to accidentally infect your system, unless the attacker wants that to happen. The Swiss army knife of malware Regin makes use of multiple stages to complete its attack. Once the victim is duped into loading the trojan application, by sending you an email with an infected attachment, it will download encrypted components needed for the attack. This allows the trojan to be easily adapt remotely, which ma

Angry, annoyed and stymied ...

Considering that this news is now a few days old, it has taken me until now to put finger to keyboard. The anger, frustration and sheer annoyance has taken this long to abate. Sadly out there within national education is a group of souls who are clueless as to how international recognition works within the technical side of the networking, systems technician and IT security specialist professions (to name a few). Fixated on an anglo isle view of our education system, their perception that certifications from the IT vendors lack value and are contrary to our quaint customs and local compliance. Currently I am stymied as to what to do next, normally having a good idea of the moves. My tactics have become lost in the maelstrom of the changing education system. Impotent to the indecision that is taking place and seeming to be the only non-vendor voice. So; for those who may understand my cryptic musings. Please heed this warning as there has been advice that for a primary qualific

Unsubstantiated rumour ....

Well children we all know about rumours and substance and it would seem that this week via an unofficial source, I can share an unsubstantiated rumour. This rumour, which sadly I have to share is purely second hand and rooted in conjecture. Is ... That a local college, not too distance from where I live or may have once worked at. Had knowledge of a imminent inspection, 24/36 hours before they had the official notification. More interesting is that the rumour implies they know which subject areas are going to be under scrutiny. They may be wrong, I cannot say, but I do know that they are now in battle mode. Lets wait and see.

Reliability and validity in assessment ...

I have just enjoyed a two day course on assessment ... measuring assessment and determining the value of questions within a large population question bank. While some of the methodology explored, related to other styles and levels of assessment. It did give me an interesting and informed insight into some of the madness of our national penchant for examinations. Along with a view that our view (in the UK) is increasingly out of kilter with the rest of the planet. One of the many factors at play is the question ... is the construct upon which the assessment is based, valid, let alone reliable. While I have not 'accurately' assimilated this idea and can only, for the time being, run with my own biased viewpoint. It has made me stop and think about: The sheer volume of assessments we inflict upon the education system. Their accuracy and the notion that now we have compulsory education until 18, the redundancy of the GCSE. How in nearly all educational establishments, the