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I have asthma, like a lot of people all over the world. While it was relatively mild throughout my childhood, as I reached adulthood it grew gradually but steadily worse.

I blamed myself for the steady downturn. Like many generation Xers, I smoked, partied, and lived in slum-like conditions in my early 20s. By the time I got to my early 30s in the mid-00s my GP started to get very concerned about my breathing.

I quit smoking, drinking, and going out partying (not necessarily in that order), but my breathing got worse and worse. …

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As engineers, we often need to think about issues of data privacy and security. Side channel attacks, once the preserve of spies and governments, are increasingly becoming possible for less well funded attackers. Devising ways to protect against these attacks whilst still having a useable device can be challenging, especially given the range of interesting ways that data security can be compromised.

It’s important to have an overview of the types of attacks possible, so that you can design with protection in mind. It’s not just sensitive data that can be compromised, but whole control systems could be at risk. …

Off World Alice:

Alice rested her head on the cool inside surface of the window, half looking up the road towards town, and half idly watching as her breath misted and re-misted the inside of the glass in little puffs.

Pointless topping up the meter when the taxi to take her to the station would already be off the charging grid, meandering its way through the pot-holed, rain-slicked city streets towards her building.

A visa, an actual honest to goodness government off-world visa, glistened on the replacement ID card that had almost been lost in the pile of junk mail and unpaid bills that made up the greater part of what came through the letter box these days. …

I’m looking for people to share their experiences and difficulties they have faced getting in to traditionally male fields such as STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), digital-creative, and IT. I’m trying to develop a business plan for a social enterprise dealing with the global and national skills gap in these areas.

This can be due to being a woman, or due to your economic status, cultural issues, race, cost of study, or any other issue that has prevented you or people you know from following these career paths.

Please share your experiences. Maybe you wanted to (or still want to) go into one of these fields, perhaps you or your friends or children have been encouraged or discouraged from these subjects at school, perhaps job flexibility has been an issue, or perhaps you are struggling to get work in these fields. …

It’s time to throw away everything you thought you knew about search engine optimisation. Google have announced their first AI based ranking system, and it’s based on over 200 metrics. They won’t even tell you what some of them are, and since the new search algorythm is heavily influenced by machine learning and multiple platforms they probably aren’t actually able to confirm how the changes will pan out.

Instead the only solid evidence of what they are aiming for is in their search quality rating guide — published in full for the first time ever here:

Mimi Underwood, a Google exec has been quoted in an article on Search Engine Land “ratings from evaluators do not determine individual site rankings, but are used help us understand our experiments.” She added, “The evaluators base their ratings on guidelines we give them; the guidelines reflect what Google thinks search users want.” and in the same interview also implied that the document would continue to be updated as search evolves. …


Emily Gray-Fow

Weird polymath, tech/engineering writer & sci-fi author: My business portfolio is at:

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