Command terminal tool: yafc

2018 May 12 Saturday 14:50

Recently, the mobile phone android program (sorry, "app"; even web sites these days are called "web apps" which is ludicrous, but a digression), primitive ftp has been tried as an alternative to data transfer between computer and mobile phone without using a USB cable. This has become more important since the latest android version uses MTP which is slow, if not incompatible with GNU/Linux computers (ironic since android, developed by google, is derived from linux but they prefer to support the m$ and apple worlds). Below is a quick guide to use primitive ftp with yafc (an FTP client, e.g. as described by Linux review).

Moment of truth

2018 May 13 Sunday 11:46

This past week saw another milestone reached; taught the last lesson of this writer's first GCSE cohort. Some interactive revision tasks were prepared and whilst some students appeared to have benefitted, others preferred to use online videos, making notes of what they heard. A bit late to be doing that? However this new generation are used to learning by video, so we shall see.

Meanwhile, the year 13 A-level students are conspicuous by their absences. With practical endorsement due next week, only one student appears motivated to complete the remaining practicals, whilst others do not bother to attend lessons. Good luck to them...

It will be interesting to see which students fall by the wayside this final, summer term. A few year 12 students have proven to be too immature and could benefit from a repeat year. Others are on inappropriate courses and would similarly benefit from departing to courses and/or schools/colleges new. Hopefully, this term can be used to plan for the next academic year, e.g. introduce new subjects to teach? Few students like chemistry these days (has it ever been a popular subject?), except perhaps when "re-branded" as part of a multi-disciplinary subject such as geography or environmental science. A year 10 class recently commented about study of Earth's atmosphere: "why are we learning geography in a chemistry lesson?". In response with a wry smile: "chemistry is everywhere if you look for it!".

London bus map-timetable

2018 May 20 Sunday 10:49

The TFL web site is not very friendly if you use an anonymous proxy service; in fact they actively prevent access. Thankfully, TFL does provide open data and much thanks is due to Matthew Somerville for his web site 'live London bus map'. Select the bus number from the drop-down menu and a live map is shown of the bus route with real-time positions of the route' buses. No "app" to download, no personal data to share: excellent! :)

Exams timetable

2018 May 29 Tuesday 16:12

OK, a bit late since exam season is underway, but maybe this ical file of GC(S)E exams is useful to someone. An excuse for the delay was the realisation that a simple ical file (being plain text) is considered too dangerous to share by a standard blog host. Another reason to pay(!) for your own web host or run your own server; you can upload any file you want. Anyway, the ical file is available via Gitlab. Download the file, rename (if necessary) the file with file suffix '.ics' and you should be able to import into your calendar software.

An example offline calendar, especially for those that prefer to avoid google et al., is available via f-droid. Yes, an alternative to the corporate "app stores"!

Ideology against grammar schools

2018 May 30 Wednesday 18:55

Grammar schools need to improve "social mobility" (what is that?), according to the Sutton Trust. Laudable as the teaching profession"s claim to seek social justice may be, the concept of social mobility in a UK context seems a bit naive. Unless the fundamental question is asked about the purpose of education, being against grammar schools seems cosmetic. Life is all about various forms of selection; it could be random, unfair, deliberate. Champagne socialists love to complain about grammar schools being "unfair" and "too-selective", but are always silent about either them of their friends choosing private schools for their own children. Perhaps a solution to the debate is to allow selective schools to exist, but reduce funding to such schools and instead re-distribute equivalent extra funds to the nearest non-selective school(s).