Early Years

 I always wanted to be a teacher. Well, not quite: I wanted to be a superhero with a magic flying Rolls Royce Silver Phantom: then, briefly, during Apollo, an astronaut, and then an RAF fighter pilot but they wouldn't have me because my eyesight wasn't good enough so I transferred to the Flight Navigator program but they rejected me for having no personality or leadership qualities. But by the time I applied to University I wanted to be a teacher: to study physics so I could be a primary school teacher and teach physics - and maths - differently, as I, in my teenage arrogance, felt it should be taught. I've wondered since why I felt that way: what was wrong with maths and physics teaching, that I wanted to go to University to study and learn how to teach it better? Mr Wyatt started it: he was our primary school teacher and he went on a year's teacher exchange to Canada and when he came back he showed us how to make hot air ballons out of plastic bags and cotton wool and

The Matrix That Isn't

 Being invited to offer a tutorial on the MATLAB and Gnu Octave matrix languages, for cyber security specialists, prompted me to revisit a question that has bothered me for some time. In cyber security, as in many other fields, a ‘Risk Matrix’ is a table of likelihood versus severity, into whose boxes one places various risk events. Likelihood times severity gives a useful metric for the ‘likely severity’ – called ‘impact’ - so we can focus our attention on the most likely and severe events. Likelihood Severity Low likelihood Medium likelihood High likelihood High severity High severity High severity Low likelihood Medium likelihood High likelihood Medium severity Medium severity Medium severity Low likelihood Medium likelihood High likelihood Low severity Low severity Low seve

Wave Watching

A few years back I found oceanographer Mirjam Gleesmer’s blog ‘Wave Watching’: which is just what it says: a fascinating and insightful blog about watching waves – and what we can learn from doing so, not only about waves but about what they traversed, reflected off, diffracted around, broke over… It spoke to me particularly because I was then watching waves almost obsessively: ripples on puddles, waves on our local lake, splashes from moorhens and coots and ducks on the canal; sea waves, coastal waves, every kind of wave. I wouldn’t quite say it risked losing me friends but people certainly got used to walking on and eventually looking back surprised to see me stopped staring at some interesting wave phenomenon. Although I became interested in those sorts of waves they weren’t the source of my interest: radio wave were. I’ve studied and worked with waves a lot: it’s a foundation topic in physics and electronics, and I’ve worked on soun

Relationship Marketing

 A few decades back, when Sarah and I set up our own company, I read a book by Regis McKenna called "Relationship Marketing". It's no longer in print and I don't still have a copy but its basic message remains with me and was quite simple: business is built on relationships - real, genuine, sincere relationships. It isn't always true, of course: some businesses have to be based on the standard "price, performance" calculation and some are based on other factors - but the route we chose, and that worked for us and for our customers, was relationships. Our business was then - and is now, though in a slightly different but related (!) field - a niche, and a highly technical one: people needed to talk, and to trust, and what we were selling wasn't a simple commodity in a well-supplied and established market. Not everybody needed what we were offering - in fact most people either didn't or didn't know they did - so in those days even though I adop