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The mentality of maintenance: tradition

2022 January 8 Saturday 15:51

With a little envy, enjoyed to watch an episode of 'repair shop'; as the name suggests about various skilled craftspeoples' abilities to repair items donated by the public. Chemistry abounded: blue dye acrylic paint with sufficient flexibility (suitable plasticiser ingredient?) to adhere and restore leather boots; rust removal (citric acid?); lead solder for repair of 1960s electronics of electric piano; glue for book bind restoration. Tangible knowledge. Not sure if today's typical software programmer even understands the concept of maintenance, legacy documentation (directly human legible)...

Dissent from the doctor

It was a fascination to read about an nhs doctor with the temerity to challenge a government minister about plans to make mandatory vaccination of health staff. Note the shock, then the claim of the veracity of "experts"; an amusement from the precendent claim: "have had enough of experts". Unfortunately, any dissent from groupthink is (almost?) completely absent in the education sector.

R for schools

2022 January 27 Thursday 23:39

Courtesy of a teacher mail list, was excited initially to see some example resources about introductory usage of R (statistics software). The excitement soon dissipated, replaced by disappointment. Review follows...

The host for the "resources" is 'tes'; past behaviour suggests a poor choice, specifically the furtive closure of forums that contained very useful content created (freely) by teachers during many years. Moreover the web site is not accessible via Mozilla Firefox web browser, for example (the resources could not be downloaded) It would be preferable if alternative hosts were used, such as 'codeberg' or 'gitlab'.

An example resources files was eventually downloaded using 'chromium' and found (surprisingly) to consist only of an archive zip file which itself contains only a single document in a well-known proprietary word processor format. Again it would have been preferable to publish a simple text file or open source software format using LibreOffice

With eventual review of an example resource file ('Equations of Straight Line Graphs - Part 1'), was surprised to read of the initial use of packages 'tidyverse' and 'ggplot'; these seem a bit excessive for the relatively simple example usage. Similarly with the promotion of markdown, r studio etc.; why, when 'R' base graphics would suffice, Occam's razor style?

Thus a couple of alternatives, firstly using an installation of 'R'.

				xvariable<-seq(from=-4, to=4, by=1)
				lines(xvariable, yvariable)

Secondly, using a host server, in this case via 'jupyter', the code above may be entered into the code input text box ('In [ ]: ...')

Reliance on alexa, risky

There was a recent occurrence of a so-called virtual assistant failure for the domestic market. Reliance upon amgaf is a bit of a risk. At least there have been noises about the risks to finance structure and also the industrial (scada) infrastructure.