* Posts by Mark Wood

6 publicly visible posts • joined 3 Jul 2007

'Bullying' Aussie high school stops fingerprinting kids

Mark Wood
Thumb Up

RE: fingerprint verses Swipe Card

I think the reason why many schools prefer fingerprint readers is because children tent to lose / break / have stolen the things in their possession. It is very difficult to break / lose / have stolen your finger print.

Also, it is easier to get your mate to swipe your card in registration while you potter off to the park for a smoke and a packet of walkers. You can't lend your finger to your mate quite as easily, and I doubt children on the whole will be up to the kind of forensics necessary to create a fingerprint copy to dupe the scanner.

I think as long as schools write a very clear policy about how fingerprints are stored, what they are used for, and how that information will be secured, then most parents will feel easier. It is all about trust on the parent's part, but also schools have to take security seriously and put proper measures in place.

Thumbprints here please!

Schools minister touts 'one interweb per child' pork barrel

Mark Wood
IT Angle

The government are already doing this....

I work in a secondary school up north and I have been trying to get my head round CfP which the Goverment set up in 2007. Basically it involves throwing a load of cash at LEAs and asking them to organise along with secondary schools in deprived areas access to the internet at home by providing a networkable device (PC, Laptop, etc) along with a broadband connection. This is to go to the worst off kids, those who are typically on free dinners and who's parent(s) are barely older than themselves.

The thing about the cash is, it is enough to provide a decent machine, but in many cases not enough to cover a year's broadband, never mind longer than that. Many LEAs have just passed the money on to their schools and said "Here, you deal with it". As far as I am aware, there are no checks on how the money is spent in that case. In the case of our LEA and we are not the exception, they really have tried to help their schools to make best use of the money, organising tenders for the hardware, and trying to get someone to provide broadband. But it is a nightmare.

Many of our families don't even have phone line, never mind an acount with BT. That means it has to be 3G, but in Cumbria there isn't the best coverage. The funding states that it will provide broadband for a year. What about after that? There is nothing that says there should be pressure on the parents to pay.

Then there is the problem of support. True, the hardware will have a manufacturer warrantee, the broadband will have a helpline, but what about software support? Apparently, this falls on school techies. As if we don't have enough to do. Then there is the problem of support for parents. How do they know if their kids really are doing what they are supposed to? Are they even interested? Are they themselves going to use the equipment to run a dodgy outfit from home? What if they take the Laptop down to the car boot sale so they can buy cigs, £20 on the lottery and a whole load of booze?

Is it not plain to see that this whole thing is just another tick box, that it causes no end of work for those who have to implement it, and that there is no evidence that IT improves a pupil's education??? As has already been commented upon, better parenting, trained teachers, and school improvements would have a much better chance of improving education. But not ICT in a deprived home where there is no atmosphere to learn in the first place.

Ofcom urged to clamp down on broadband speed deceit

Mark Wood

@Anon Coward

"Example, If ISPS advertise 'Up to' speeds, the guaranteed speed brackets should be within 512k for all speeds advertised below 10MB"

This just isn't possbile with ADSL. Even going off the BT availability checker which predicts what speed you can achieve based off your distance to the exchange, actual speeds will never stay within a 512k bracket 95% of the time. This is down to contention. When everyone comes on line in the evening, speeds suffer, even when there is no throttling imposed by the ISP. It's a case of how many elephants will fit into the mini?

As has already been mentioned, the current infrastructure just isn't upto the job. And this is when a large but uknown number of ADSL connections are stuck at 2mb by BT's profiling system without customer knowledge. BT only fix this if the customer complains and the ISP know what a line profile is and how to get it reset. Imagine how much stress there would be on bandwidth if all these stuck profiles were sorted out!!!

Another side point is that since MAX was introduced, BT have scrapped the contention ratios so no 20:1 or 50:1 anymore.

So all in all, the quality of your broadband is a complicated issue, difficult to exlpain to the customer and impossible for the ISP to guarantee a certain speed or quality. Having said that, ISPs are guilty of pretending tha they can offer unlimited, fast speeds with guaranteed services.

If we really want good broadband in britian, they are going to have to lay fibre straight from your door to the exchange, because that is were the copper let's us down.

Budget HD DVD player to include even more free discs

Mark Wood

7 free disks

You get 7 free disks with the Toshiba HD-EP30 for £199 at play.com so you would expect the ventura to come in at a lot less than that if it is to be a 'Budget' player.

Sun: MoD has Bond/Potter/Klingon cloaking device

Mark Wood

Lost mine already

Now where did I put my new invisible shed? Blast!

Whiteboards could damage kids and teachers' eyesight

Mark Wood

Common sense?

Oh come on,

let's use a bit of common sense here. I don't know about anyone else, but usually when a very bright beam of light hits my retinas, I quickly avoid it and don't go back there! Surely a teacher is able to work out that they just need to move a little to the right before they turn around from writing on the board to address the class?

What next? Compulsory warning signs at every Beach saying "Don't look directly into the sun light. Your sight could be adversely affected"