Business online safety piracy

School connectivity and filtering – google translate

Trefor Davies thumbnail pictureDropped the kids off at school today. I don’t normally do it. It’s out of my way and gets in the way of my early morning swimming regime. It’s the last GCSE so it was only fair that the run in would be comfortable. Let the lad get in the zone.

I mentioned that last night I had sent their headmaster an email. This of course naturally sets off the alarms bells but I explained that I am planning a talk on connectivity trends to a room full of headmasters and school IT staff and thought it would be a good idea to chat to a horse’s mouth. Get my drift.

The car heaved a sigh of relief and someone mentioned the fact that the school had added Google translate to their list of blocked sites. The kids were somewhat puzzled at this and thought it might be to stop them cheating with their French translation homework.

I then explained that it was almost certainly because Google translate could act as a proxy to bypass their school filter. They didn’t know this. Oops. It was also mentioned that it took the school 5 days to realise that FIFA13 was out and to block that.

It goes to show that the whole blocking and filtering game is one of a constant war of attrition. It’s too late for the kids to use Google translate now, not that I want to encourage such things (get yer dictionary out). However you can bet your booties that someone in school will have another way around it, expellable offence or not.

To finish off on a different note a school’s connectivity need is changing. These days pupils need to use video conferencing suites to access lessons given by specialist teachers on other sites, in some schools sixth formers get given iPads for use in lessons and at breaks etc etc. These all add up to the need for more bandwidth, just like it is at home and in the office. Gimme a bell. I can help;)

Business media

The changing entry level job market

My oldest offspring Tom yesterday joined the ranks of the employed. He is working as a traffic announcer on BBC Radio Oxford. It’s what he has wanted to do since he was 15. Not announce the traffic on BBC Oxford. Work in the radio business.

The trigger point came when he went on a school trip to the Lincolnshire Show. The BBC tent had a competition for kids to do a sports commentary. He won. He was hooked. I was in London at the time. He rang me up and told me he was no longer interested in becoming a vet but instead was going to do a degree in media studies and go to work for the BBC. The idea of having a media luvvie as a son took a bit of getting used to although it did have the side benefit in that he lost interest in keeping hamsters, gerbils and rabbits that were a pain to look after.

So since the age of 15 Tom has spent all his waking hours working in radio. He had various shows on Lincoln local community radio station Siren FM and helped out at BBC Radio Lincolnshire where at the age of 18 he broadcast his own 1 hour show on yoof matters in which he interviewed Feargal Sharkey about music piracy.  At Warwick University  all his free time, and there was a lot of it (History & Politics), was spent working on media projects.  Working with uni radio station RaW FM  he won a number of National Student Radio Awards.

Tom has lived and breathed radio for six years and his hard work has now earned him the reward of a first step on the ladder in the real world. I am a proud dad.

Next up. I am on the Industrial Panel of Bangor University School of Engineering.

End User fun stuff

School governors and giving something back to society

We are extremely fortunate with the school our kids go to. It has served the first two well and the next two are having a great time the youngest having just been elected as vice representative of his class. Starting a bit young I thought but hey…

The school is a user of modern technology. There is a portal that can be used to check on kids progress and letters to parents come via email.

I received one such letter yesterday informing me of the opportunity to become a Governor at the school. I have to admit that this is the one public function for which I shall never put myself forward. This stems from the time when the kids were at primary school and my wife asked if I’d help the school out by being a Governor. This was to me a matter of personal pleasure. Of course I’d be happy to help.

Then one day I found that I had come third and last in the election behind two mums.  Total humiliation. I didn’t even know there was a competition. Whilst I was happy to be a Governor it wasn’t something I “wanted” badly enough to compete for against women in the playground.

So there you go. I won’t be putting my name forward on this occasion. I am too busy:)