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

Homeschool maths

Homeschooling has become a household word during pandemic lockdown, but both my grandchildren have been homeschooled since before the pandemic. Surrey historically has too few state school places, and Joshua was not offered one locally so would have had an hour's commute to a school in the next town. My daughter Jenny runs a pre-school and has a good educational brain, so took the brave - and so far very good - decision to homeschool. Since they all live with us (we are what in pandemic times is called a 'multigenerational household') I get to see homeschooling in action. Although I spent much of my career teaching, it was in industry and at Masters university level so I am involved mostly in opining wisely about strategy rather than actually teaching school level. Since I studied physics and spent my career in physics, computing and mathematics I am handy to have around to answer questions but despite having been a school governor for ten years and chair of governors for f