Requests on Google up by 120%

Google updated its Transparency Report with new data on government requests. In the updated report, Google says that requests from government for user information are up 120 percent since it first started publishing the data back in 2009.

Like other technology and communications companies, Google regularly receives requests from governments and courts around the world to hand over user data. In this report, Google discloses the number of requests they receive from each government in six-month periods with certain limitations. Usage of their services has increased every year, and so have the user data request numbers.


Copy Cat Education

A recent article1 in the BBC highlighted that the UK government are considering doing an exchange programme for maths teachers in the UK with maths teachers in China. The aim is to increase standards and learn from a teachers in Shanghai, a city which has one of the best academic records in the world.

I think the UK government are missing something here and not considering the culture and desire of people within the east. China has a population over one billion and so getting a school place is a competition and sets the competitive mindset in parents from birth.

Other things to consider:

  • The poorest and richest people in the world live in China, with very little government handouts. This has added an increased pressure on students to succeed. The need to do well becomes a survival instinct rather than a nice to have.
    In China education is part of the culture, not something that can just be picked up and copied or borrowed.
  • Culture brings expectations. Similar to other Asian societies, China still has an embedded cast system, resulting in some families worrying about their standing within society. Concerns over jobs associated to their background, education for their children, the background of the future partners for their kids and even the car they drive.

I just do not think this type of solution really works. Governments need to really think about the cause and effect connectives.

  1. BBC 

‘Dear Mr Gove…’ An Open Letter to the UK Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove

As someone who has become a father for the first time, I am really scared what our education system is going to do to my son.

There were very few good teachers when I was at school and today I go out of my way to fill the gaps I feel I missed on when I was a lad, simple things like enjoying a book and expressing myself creatively.

It feels we need to go abroad to provide a better education for our son. Sweeden here we come.

Secret Teacher

Dear Mr Gove,

I read recently how you described the current cohort of teachers in the UK as “…the best generation of teachers ever seen in our classrooms- including the very best generation ever of young teachers.” You described how you believe teachers hold the success to this country and the well being of its citizens in their hands.You rightly claim that teachers are the most important fighters in the battle to make opportunity more equal. Therefore, I hope you will appreciate how difficult it is that I, as a young teacher, have felt the need to explain how I feel, Mr Gove, as I am exhausted, demoralised, disengaged and surfeited.

I attended a CPD (Continuing Professional Development) session today. In this conference we, as a group of professionals, sought to address the imbalance between boys and girls attainment in reading and writing. We examined a multitude of ways to support…

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Plymouth Hoe

iPhoneography, Uncategorized

Plymouth Hoe


Knowing your capacity

The difference between wanting and needing

This is what he had been excited about, this device that the salesman in the shop said was the creme da la creme and everyone wanted one. The thirty two gigabyte that comes as internal storage, means it was much more of a premium gadget than the one that came with sixteen gigabyte he explains to me.

“It will connect to my BMW, so i can make hands free calls. How cool is that?”

I sit there and smile and listen to him explain to me all the things an iPhone can do.

“So, have you uploaded a lot of music?” I ask with curiosity.

No, I am not a big fan of music to be honest. Any music I do have, I keep separately on my MP3 player and take it out with me on my walks. I do not want to be messing about with devices and having my music all over the place”.

I look at him with horror and then ask — “What about the camera, have you tried to use it? Have you been making the most of it and sharing them via email or picture messaging?”

He looks at me with real confusion, as if to visually say — why would I want to use a camera on a phone?

“No, I do not use a phone to take pictures. I purchased a new Sony camera in Dubai and do not really want to setup my email on my iPhone, as it is a bit complicated to use.”

This is my worst nightmare. I love gadgets but get frustrated when people buy the latest technology and do not fully utilise the capabilities or even understand their purpose. Purchasing the latest item of tech to some,is more about showing off, rather that understanding the differences they are able to make to our lives.

There are people in my life that won’t understand what I mean or understand the problem with the scenario I have outlined above.

Let me try and explain one aspect, and that is regards the storage capacity on your iPhone.

A phone has internal or external memory. This memory is used to store information and can work like a car boot (trunk for American friends). Put simply, the bigger the boot the more junk you can store in it. A BMW 3 Series for example, has up to four hundred and eighty litres load space for you to try and cram a suitcase, pram or whatever takes your fancy. Some of this space is going to be used up with the essential items that come with the car, such as a spare wheel or first aid kit. Thus, reducing the overall load capacity and space for your personal “stuff”.

An iPhones storage memory is similar to a car boot. It comes with allocated space and the core essentials take some of this up. So with an iPhone, you may purchase a sixteen gigabyte phone. One gigabyte is made up of one thousand megabytes, so a sixteen gigabyte, phone will have sixteen thousand megabytes.

The average phone will require space for the essentials, similar to a car. Hypothetically, this might be three gigabytes. Leaving you with thirteen gigabytes to store your own information.

The average music or photo file on an iPhone could be four megabytes. That means you could store over three thousand songs or pictures combined. But then you need to leave room for applications. If you are like me and have over ten gigabytes of photos and music, that would not leave you with a lot of space for anything else.

I am a big fan of the Path app and that takes up over one hundred megabytes and eats into space for photos and music. Path is just jut one app of many on my phone and if they all take at least one hundred megabytes, I am going to run out of space fast. My books take up nearly one gigabyte and a single game can take over two gigabytes. Do you get the picture ?

The bigger the storage capacity does not make the phone any better or faster, it just allows you to store more.

Son, when you are old enough to buy your own gadgets, cars and watches — I want you to think about what you are about to embark on. You will go through peer pressure and desire, as your peers apply social pressure and influence on what is deemed “acceptable & cool”.You need to make your own mind up and be your own man. Try and make your decisions on need and not want. Where the wanting does creep through, go for personal preference not social acceptance. The small decisions, make us what we are.