Edward Callow

Self-confessed geek desperately trying not to be a millennial. I got reprogrammed by a rogue AI and now I’m totally cray.

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A translation of Michelle Donelan’s STUDENT MESSAGES

Our Minister for Universities saw this Friday evening as the best time to give a quick shout at the higher education sector. Except she addressed it to students … on Twitter. I thought I’d give a rough translation for those not particularly well-versed in ‘govspeak’ (known elsewhere as ‘rubbish’).

In one way it looks like DfE making an attempt to support students. It’s not. A new letter sent to universities by the OfS, while also appearing tough on the rights of students, does nothing to strengthen or promote them. Rather, it signals a desire to stay out of anything not covered under the moniker of ‘teaching and learning’. It makes work for already stretched providers without providing anything of substance to frustrated students.

Anyway. Without further ado; Michelle.


STUDENT MESSAGE 1: Universities are responsible for their own fees but the Government has been VERY clear if...

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Thoughts on Twitter vs. Trump

In a rather exciting development, Twitter have extended their time-limited suspension of US President Trump’s @realdonaldtrump account … indefinitely.

Social media in America is protected by something called section 230 – 26 words forming part of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 that says services aren’t treated as publishers of content produced by their users. That means twitter aren’t going to be taken to court for something Trump’s said, even if it’s illegal. There are a few exception for things like copyright but the general idea is that it’s not social media companies’ fault if their millions of users do a few illegal things and that sites can moderate without being taken to court by users. Of course, it doesn’t mean the wider media won’t mercilessly berate companies for not doing enough to stop users posting illegal content and impersonating other users. The court of public...

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What is the SFE ‘assessed contribution’?

I’m not a fan of the higher education funding system or the organisations responsible for running it. In fairness to Student Finance England, they’re only following the rules and procedures enacted by successive governments and parliaments. Problem is, these procedures seem completely nonsensical. Today we will learn about the assessed contribution on maintenance loans.

This post will use the 2020/21 ‘no benefits’ SFE rates for London, but the principles are exactly the same for those studying at home, away from home outside London, and overseas. These figures don’t apply to students in their last year, because the final year loan has a lower cap (even if your last year is no shorter than any other 🙄).

The basic system

The way loan entitlements are calculated is fairly straightforward. You start with a maximum loan known as the main rate and deduct £1 for every £X (the taper) of your...

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An open letter to universities: Why ‘doing your best’ isn’t always doing enough

I am a second-year production management student (theatre, not factory). My higher education experience costs £9,250 per year, plus accommodation, food, transport, bills and general living costs. I am not particularly happy.

There seems to be a general misunderstanding between students and academic institutions in the UK over the core purpose of universities. As a student, I (perhaps naively) believe that they exist to educate those who choose to pay for the privilege. It seems universities themselves see their responsibility more as a reflection of human life – existing in order to continue existing, giving away some post nominals along the way.

Maybe this is why my university set out the following as their priorities during this crisis:

  • the health, safety and wellbeing of all members of our community
  • ways in which students can meet the learning outcomes of studies
  • ways to safeguard...

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Revoke article 50: A response to the response

A recent petition by Amy Milliken surrounding the findings of the Electoral Commission that Vote Leave had broken electoral law garnered a fair amount of interest on the parliamentary petition site, quickly surpassing the 10,000 signature threshold for a government response. We will now analyse this response.

The petition

Rescind Art.50 if Vote Leave has broken Electoral Laws regarding 2016 referendum

If Vote Leave has broken any laws regarding overspending in 2016 EU referendum then Art.50 should be immediately withdrawn and full EU membership continued.

Continued on petitions.parliament.uk.

The government response

1 August 2018

The British people voted to leave the EU, and it is the duty of the Government to deliver on their instruction. There can be no attempt to stay in the EU.

‘Can be no attempt’
Doesn’t a healthy democracy depend on opposition and the exploration of...

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Raspberry Pi AirPlay setup

It took a while to find a reliable ‘set it and leave it’ configuration for my Pi-powered AirPlay network. Here’s the config I settled on, with thanks to Ray Wenderlich and Pi My Life Up.

Update: I’m no longer using this config because Shairport doesn’t support AirPlay 2 for multi-room synchronisation. A set of second-hand AirPort Expresses have taken up the role with no problems to report.

Write disk image to SD card (or just use Etcher)

  1. Identify the address of your SD card.
    df -h
  2. Unmount the card with, replacing ‘disk1s1’ with your SD card address.
    sudo diskutil unmount /dev/disk1s1
  3. Write the image to the card, replacing the image location and disk address.
    sudo dd bs=5m if=~/Downloads/wheezy-raspbian.img of=/dev/disk1s1
  4. Pop the card into the RPi and boot up.

Update everything

  1. sudo apt-get update
  2. sudo apt-get upgrade
  3. sudo dpkg --configure -a

Expand file system and change

...

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