Open University T214

T214: Linked Chapters 1 and 2

The course set book – Linked by Albert-László Barabási (Barabási 2003) – looks like it’s going to be a very interesting read.

I’m required to read this book in two chapter chunks – and so far I’ve only read the first two – and I’m supposed to write a summary of what I think about it. If the the first two chapters are anything to go by I’m going to be, in turns, confused and entertained.

Open University T214

T214: Activity 1.1

The entry is for logging my work on one of my OU activities – this will probably not be very interesting…

Five questions

  1. What are the ten most commonly used languages on the internet?
  2. Find an estimate for the portion of the web that is indexed by search engines. Does the size of the indexed web provide a good indication of the total size of the web?
  3. Roughly how many internet users are there across the world?
  4. Which regions of the world have the most internet users? Which have the fewest?
  5. Which region is most underprivileged in terms of the imbalance between its number of internet users and its population?

1.  From the website Internet World Stats: English, Chinese, Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese, German, Arabic, French, Russian and Korean (in order). Not many surprises there, I think.

2.  From WorldWideWebSize: the number of indexed web pages is at least 14.55 billion pages. The web is probably bigger than this, as it’s likely that many web pages aren’t yet indexed. Also, what is meant by “size”? The number of pages, number of individual sites or the total data storage requirements?

3.  From Internet World Stats: There are nearly 2 billion internet users out of a total world population of over 6.8 billion people. That’s a lot of people!

4. From Internet World Stats: There are over 1.3 billion internet users in Asia and Europe alone, whereas Oceana and the Middle East can’t even scrape 85 million between them.

5.  From Internet World Stats again: Africa has only a 10.9% penetration of internet users, compared to 77.4% in North America.

Open University T214

T214: Understanding Systems

I’ve been working on a BSc through the Open University for about three years now and finally arrived at one of the main modules; T214: Understanding Systems: making sense of complexity.

This module is designed to be one of those “life altering” courses that frees your mind from incessant reductionism and enables us meer mortals to use “joined-up thinking” to determine how systems (or networks) operate.

On the surface it seems hard, very hard, but it does look extremely interesting, and important for me as a software tester. I’ve always tried to consider whole systems when testing and I think that this course will really help with that.

Part of the course requires me to keep an on-line journal. I was going to use a free blog on – and I’d even created one for that purpose – but my work connection has subsequently determined that WordPress requires special access (usage of my “quota”, whatever that is) and I may want to add my thoughts to the odd journal entry during my lunch hour. So, I’m going to clutter up my personal blog with that stuff too.

I apologise in advance if my photos of random crap is interrupted by my “academic” musings. It’ll only last until October when the course finishes. Honest.

2011 Year In Pictures Photos and stuff


Linked, originally uploaded by rutty.


I’m about to start an Open University module and this is the set book. The course is about “Understanding Complexity” – joined-up thinking they call it – and it’s one of two systems thinking modules I’m taking as part of my chosen degree.

The book has some variable reviews – mostly positive but some negative – and I’ve only read a few pages so far, but it seems easy enough to read and the subject is quite interesting.

I’m not sure how I’m going to find the extra 16 hours a week to study. I guess I’m going to have to stop pissing about on the internet