Maths, Tech, Martial Arts and more

  • Performative Data Security is Bad Data Security

    Performative Data Security is Bad Data Security

    Most of us have been there. In these days of GDPR and scams, when you call large companies you will usually be told you need to answer some questions to prove who you are before they will discuss your account or case. This makes perfect sense. Most large companies, on the rare occaision they have […]

  • Extracting Sky Router Crash Data Amidst Kernel Panics

    Extracting Sky Router Crash Data Amidst Kernel Panics

    I have a Sky broadband connection with fibre into a Sky Router / Sky Hub. I have noticed very short outages of internet service with increasing frequency recently. The outages are short, maybe around 3-5 minutes long but these are annoying enough in the middle of an online meeting or some other synchronous activity. Sometimes […]

  • exim4 upgrades and configuration fragility

    Last night I decided I’d catch up on sysadmin tasks. Some of that was trying to tighten up my spam filtering again. I had got in place a per-user Bayesian filter on spamassassin, which essentially should allow it to learn a much more individual pattern of what each user considers spam. I also had configuration […]

  • 20 years since shodan – reflections on gradings, mastery and imposter syndrome

    20 years since shodan – reflections on gradings, mastery and imposter syndrome

    Today (5th August 2021) marks twenty years since I first graded to shodan (the first black belt grade) in a martial art. It might come as a surprise to many non martial artists that there are multiple black belt grades, and that a black belt does not represent the end of a journey but more […]

  • Beef in Soy Sauce

    This is a version of a recipe my Mum had that I have experimented with in for a slow cooker format. I’ve pared this down to the most simple version I can. I usually run this recipe by eye, but one of my daughters wants to have a go at it, so I decided I’d […]

  • Budgeting for Assessment

    Workloads for Academics in Higher Education are often very complex, with teaching loads, research tasks and administration all juggling for our attention with lots of task switching adding to the complexity. For many academics, teaching loads are a significant part of their work, but explicitly looking at the time spent on assessment could bring better […]

  • The Tyranny of Resilience and the New Normal

    The Tyranny of Resilience and the New Normal

    In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic there is a word and a short phrase that are both in very common usage. All too often they are used in unhelpful and arguably incorrect ways. Elasticity has Limits Resilience has an interesting etymology, coming from the Latin ‘resilire’, ‘to recoil or rebound’. It came to encompass […]

  • Bread without commercial yeast – Sour-dough

    Bread without commercial yeast – Sour-dough

    At the time of writing, an extraordinary number of people are in some sort of lockdown, and trying to go the shops less often, and when they do, certain items are in short supply. One of those items is commercial yeast. If you still have access to flour (preferably strong flour), salt and water, you […]

  • Battleships Server / Client for Education

    Battleships Server / Client for Education

    I’ve been teaching a first year introductory module in Python programming for Engineering at Ulster University for a few years now. As part of the later labs I have let the students build a battleships game using Object Oriented Programming – with “Fleet” objects containing a list of “Ships” and so on where they could […]

  • Anatomy of a Puzzle

    Recently I was asked to provide a Puzzle For Today for the BBC Radio 4 Today programme which was partially coming as an Outside Broadcast from Ulster University. I’ve written a post about the puzzle itself, and some of the ramifications of it; this post is really more about the thought process that went into […]

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