Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Blade Runner! What is it to be human?

I participated in a Twitter chat today and was asked "A Blade Runner-type debate. What is it to be human? Believe always on connectivity is changing us & emotions"

My comment was that "Connectivity is so much part of our lives! Have we evolved?"

Let me elaborate...

When I was growing up a million years ago, I watched too much television.  I would spend around 3 hours a day in front of three terrestrial channels, as I grew up I was given an Apple II at 12, and an Atari ST when I was 15 and eventually my first PC when I was 20.  Access to the internet when I was 23 at work, AOL at home when I was 24, home broadband when I was 26 and home wireless when I was 30.

Things moved on to the point where I now have, a work laptop, my personal laptop, a Nexus 7 tablet and a HTC One M8.  The house has two computers in the kitchen (which the children use for homework and Minecraft), a tablet for each of my older two children, an iPad 2 being used by the youngest two children, and a Chromebook  and a Moto G smartphone for my wife.  I'm not even counting the PS3, Wii or DS Lites.

I think it's fair to say we have embraced technology in our household.

My children spend a similar amount of time in front of a screen as I did, but now the content is dynamic, rather than the three channels of stuff you couldn't choose.

Evolution, not wanting to get into a debate but it doesn't always mean it's for the best, but rather a change typically caused by environment.  The level of connectivity has changed our lives, whether it's gathering information, communicating, entertainment, shopping, checking the news and weather, finding a restaurant, looking for reviews, education, etc, etc.

I remember speaking to a couple a few years ago and they didn't have the internet at home.  The school told them that if they didn't get it soon, it would impact on their children's education.  You can see the schools concern when we consider what we take for granted by having the internet.

Is this what it is to be human now?  Is connectivity a human right or an essential utility?  Are we talking about First World Issues? Have we truly evolved?  Do humans dream of analogue sheep?

FutureLearn: Introduction to Cyber Security (Week 1-8)

After being incredibly proud of myself for completing the online learning around programming, I thought I'd look at other courses as well.

I found one run by the Open University giving an "Introduction to Cyber Security".  As some of you know I work in this field, so what's the point of doing this course?

Most importantly to some, it's a free course!  But also I wanted to ensure my knowledge was relevant and current, which reassuringly it was.  I also wanted to see the material and see if it would be of use for others.  Again, I found the course well structured and the segments within each weeks learning broken down into bite size chunks.

I know a few people in the IT security industry who are assumed to have the basic knowledge.  This course can ensure they do have that knowledge.  Whether you're completely new to IT security, or want a refresher, it's certainly useful.

The course recommends setting aside 3 hours per week, for the duration of the eight week course.  I managed to complete the course within a couple of evenings, but I have over 8 years working with IT security and a number of IT certifications which regularly teaches and tests this knowledge.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

FutureLearn: Begin Programming: Build your first mobile game (Week 7)

Well the seven weeks have flown by and this is the final week of my FutureLearn course.

The course and material was very well structured, and I leave understanding more about the process of programming.  Am I am to make my own mobile app... well not without a little more work, but I certainly understand the process to do this.

There was a test at the end of the course, which was pretty straightforward, if you paid attention for the previous six weeks.

The online learning process was an interesting one for me, and I will look at other courses to learn some new things!

Good luck if you want to start programming, and this is an excellent way to start!