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This category contains 30 posts

Visitor rhythms

August 25, 2020 marked the tenth anniversary of this blog site. To mark the occasion I thought I would experiment with visitor statistics and their rhythms. WordPress provides helpful visitor statistics that indicate topics that have most attracted readers — or that people are most likely to stumble across. My most viewed post by far … Continue reading

Visualising 2D Discrete Cosine Transforms

I’m interested in the Discrete Cosine Transform (DCT) method as a means of hiding one image inside another. It’s also a key technique in image compression. I’ve implemented the DCT method on an Excel spreadsheet. The image below is an 8×8 grid of pixel values, in grey ranging from 0 = black to 255 = … Continue reading

Crypto-sceptics

Encryption is an unfortunate necessity to keep our personal information and communications private. While we ponder whether it’s safe or not to Zoom it’s worth reflecting on encryption’s negatives. Critic Shoshana Zuboff writes “encryption is the only positive action left to discuss when we sit around the dinner table and casually ponder how to hide from … Continue reading

Too cool for video

The camcorder was the quintessential consumer product of the 1980s. I recall the presence of this compact video recorder at a friend’s wedding. People would glance nervously at the camera when it aimed in their direction. Only later when we played the tape did we notice a curious behaviour. People would flick a hand in … Continue reading

Stupid postmodernism

According to a search on Google Ngram, the term “postmodernism” reached its apogee in the 1990s. Then there was a sharp decline, at least in books up to 2008, which is the extent of the current Ngram database. But what was once a term debated, disputed and exhausted in academic circles in the 1980s and … Continue reading

Rogue fan fiction: the peculiar case of QAnon

QAnon is the alias of an entity (i.e an individual or a group) that claims to be an operative within the US Intelligence Service. The entity works undercover and discloses tantalising facts about how the US military brought Trump into power to overcome the Deep State. The Deep State is that clandestine and pernicious organisation … Continue reading

AI and advertising

Most prominent web publishers such as Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Reddit and news sites, generate revenue by placing banner, side-bar and in-text adverts on their pages. The ads are tailored for your eyes, and may differ from what others see on the same pages. Programmatic advertising directs what ads you see on web pages and social … Continue reading

Is it ok to cite web pages in academic writing

Yes, but for facts, stats and authoritative accounts I would always turn to refereed sources: journal articles, books, and reports commissioned by publicly accountable organisations. We are more confident about something in print (i.e. on the page) if it has been through a process of review by others who claim also to know about the … Continue reading

Flipped classroom 103: Engagement

What do you do with 100 students for two hours after they’ve watched your lecture as a video before coming to the class? In our case the aims were to reinforce the lecture content, facilitate discussion on the lecture themes, encourage participation and presentation, encourage academic reading and writing, develop critical reading and comprehension skills, and … Continue reading

Flipped classroom 102: What a performance!

What’s it like to deliver lectures online? This year we pre-record 11 one hour lectures. Eight of these were recorded via HD video on a smartphone — roughly one hour in length divided into 10-20 minute segments. These were recorded in a range of locations, some out doors, and with some relevant film excerpts from YouTube and … Continue reading

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