Great Bentley Half Marathon

I think it was Adidas that ran an advert a few years ago with the strap line “runners – yeah we’re different”.

Driving down to a little village in Essex early on a Sunday to register. Waiting around for an hour and half before the start. People wearing bin liners. Queuing to pee in a trough. Jelly Babies, so many Jelly Babies. A few familiar faces, quick hellos and straight into PB talk. Someone trying to shout over a couple hundred people with directions and rules. 10 minutes – get to the start! Queue, pee, cold so cold, wave to wife. Go. Stop. Go. Shuffle. Stop. Shuffle. Go.

Then peace. As I settle into my pace, my mind wanders. Is that a water stop? Already? its only been two miles. Back to my daydream. Another water stop? Six mile marker, pretty much half way – my math is optimistic when I run. Around mile ten I start to get bored. At mile eleven, miles seem to be much longer than they were earlier. Twelve miles is almost finished. Can see the finish line now and as always someone is trying to pip a sprint finish on me. That’s not happening.

See my wife waiving behind an iPhone, see the line, see the clock (1:46:12). Grab a medal, a Mars Bar and a bottle of water. Maybe remember to stop my GPS. Congratulate a friend on his PB. Drive home. Pizza.

I think Adidas were on to something.

Graduation and the future

Booked a graduation ceremony at last. Trying to find a suitable location, that fits in around work and family is a bit of a Travelling Salesman Problem.

I’m still not sure where to go next.

My current contract employs me until the end of 2021. Looking at an MSc with the OU, the Information Security and Forensics specialism looks fascinating and will no doubt continue to be an important area of the industry. To complete the qualification by 2021, I would need to register on Digital Forensics (M812) to start in May.

That means I could have started an MSc before my BSc graduation ceremony!

Finished!

The torturous wait for TM470 results and the associated degree classification is finally over. BSc (Hons) in Computing and Information Technology with upper second-class honours!

Glad it’s over, happy with the result. No idea what I’m doing next.

Final push

TM470 Tutor Marked Assessment results are out. With 73, 75 and 81% there is weighting to consider – 5% for the first and 10% for the others. That gives a total score of 19.25%. The pass mark is 40%, with at least that much in the End of Module Assessment.
 
I’m also in a funny position. Given my scores on other modules no matter the result of this module (assuming I pass), then I get a 2:1. There’s another thing – I’ve taken this qualification over about eight years. That rules out British Computer Society accreditation as that requires qualification over six.
 
So I can’t say that I have the best motivation – I want it over. There are a pile of books, games, movies and TV shows waiting. I’m tired of planning my life around study. It feels like a chore now.
 
Learning is something to enjoy – studying is not.

Making time

I picked up Happiness by design, The Organised Mind, Birth of a Theorem, and Periodic Tales a few months ago. To make time I have started getting up an hour earlier.

For the most part its been great (with the exception of Tuesday when I run with a friend). Its working well. Having read Happiness by Design, now I’m half way through The Organised Mind. The latter has taught me that I need to focus on one thing at a time – our brains not being designed to multitask.

Some thoughts on Wireless charging

I bought an Anker PowerPort Qi 10 inductive charger from Amazon (£13.99). I’ve seen a few people online complaining that it isn’t “wireless charging” because it’s still “plugged in” – a farcical complaint akin to suggesting that the device draw current from the ether.

Without doubt one of the most convenient devices I’ve used – put your phone on it and off it goes. The only things that are worth bearing in mind are that you need to use a fast charger if you want it to fast charge.

Where to start

Like many students I imagine, I’d no idea where to start with my final project. Having read the preparatory material I had some idea of what was expected but didn’t understand how to write a proposal.

The book How to Write Dissertations & Project Reports (McMillan and Weyers) has been invaluable. While the first tutor marked assessment is the proposal itself, I needed somewhere to start and the chapter on writing a proposal is clear and concise.

Student deregistration

An oversubscribed TM470 has seen the Open University de-register students. It seems the University was unable to recruit enough tutors. I was fortunate to secure a place but can only imagine the frustration of those who didn’t.

I would make an educated guess that there are two reasons for the increased volume. First the introduction of tuition fees. Five years after their introduction, transitional arrangements end this year. Second, B62 degree is being removed (of which this is a compulsory module). I would have thought extending this degree for a further year would be a solution.

This doesn’t show the University in its best light.