… spend a Saturday morning cleaning the inside of my car (for appearances sake, you understand) and then taking photographs of its controls and displays for an assignment I’m writing. I hadn’t noticed this button before (I’ve had the car for about two years, but it is tucked away on the roof) and I have no idea what it does.
I’m now reading the handbook in an attempt to understand if it’s important. I really hope that it isn’t. If you don’t want to know the answer before you’ve had a chance to guess for yourself, stop reading now!
Ready? It’s earth-shattering stuff:
Page 48 of the manual tells me its to do with “Volumetric/anti-lift protection” and that “the deactivation of the function is indicated by the LED on A button flashing for several seconds.”
Public urged to reset all passwords – due to the critical two-year old flaw in OpenSSL.
One of the many unsubstantiated claims surrounding open source approaches to software development is that they are inherently less prone to errors than closed source development because there are more eyes able to inspect the underlying code. It’s an irrational claim, as it’s not the number of eyes that matter, but the quality of the brain(s) behind them and whether they’re looking in the first place. It’s not the case that any particular software business model has a monopoly on talent, so it has never been a credible claim that open source is somehow likely to be better in this respect.
Nothing like as serious as the OpenSSL flaw of course, but it’s rather amusing that a venture set up to promote learning and understanding ends up adding to the myth that this is definitely something that Einstein said or wrote. A quick trawl through the various (paid for) Oxford Dictionaries of Quotations turns up a blank and in a reassuring fightback for the “open” camp, Wikiquotes notes that this is one of many sayings (mis)attributed to the physicist without a contemporaneous source.
Before I talk a little about my experience of this year’s course conference, here’s my recommendation to future students:
If you’re able to attend, then do so!
It was a very interesting and useful two and a half days. This year the event was held in Stamford Court at the university and included a talk from a former student, interactive workshops on leadership selection and ergonomics, advice on the dissertation process, help with quantitative and qualitative research methods and a presentation on chartership. The chance to meet 1:1 with your personal tutor or dissertation supervisor was also offered. Just over a dozen students from both the first and second years were able to attend, some of whom had flown more than halfway around the world to be there, and others, like me, who’d only had to brave the vagaries of the M1 to get to Leicester.
The course content was excellent, and the ability to chew the fat with both tutors and students alike outside of the more formal sessions was particularly valuable. Being a distance learner can be a challenging experience at times, so simply being able to put faces to names should make it easier to approach someone to talk to if I need to in future I think.
And yes, the socialising was great too. The quiz on Thursday evening certainly helped us to get to know each other a little better and I think that I may have given the impression late in the bar on Friday night that I was ready to lead a tank convoy down the M1 and take over the government of the country. But as I appear to be writing this from home and it was the usual suspects that were being interviewed on the Andrew Marr show this Sunday morning rather than me, I suspect that it didn’t happen. Perhaps it was simply the red wine and whisky talking …
So it’s back to reality today and I’ve started to pull some readings together to help me with the first ergonomics module assignment due in on the 12th May. However, I’m already counting down the days until next year.
This article was originally written for the University of Leicester Student Blogs, 6th April 2014.
Many, many, many years ago, when I was a sixth former, we had a record player in our common room. One person was a big fan of The Skids. He played their records so often that the sarcastic remark “Oh, The Skids – that makes a change” became a ubiquitous complaint.
I could never understand their lyrics – a problem that the cassette tape manufacturers Maxell picked up on. The advertisement is great fun and I stumbled across it again today by the wonders of t’internet. However, I’m not convinced that even if I heard it on a Maxell I’d be able to work out what they’re really singing.
I’m very pleased and surprised to have broken into the Ebuzzing top 100 ‘other’ blog rankings for the first time this month at number 94. I see that I’m in good company too, as I’m only one place behind the British Psychological Society’s excellent Research Digest blog and a mere three behind John Leech MP.
So thank you all very much for visiting and linking to me!
Good news for those of us who have a few miles on the clock reaches my ears today from a study by Ramscar, Hendrix, Shaoul, Milin & Baayen. They argue that the commonly held belief that cognitive decline is responsible for the systematic performance differences observed between younger and older people in psychometric tests is incorrect. Instead, they provide evidence that differences in performance are due to the inevitable consequences that (greater) learning has on our ability to process information. As we accumulate more skills and knowledge through life, our experience mediates how quickly we respond to stimuli – and this is usually a good thing.
In other words, faster isn’t always better!