Australian Maths Test That Didn’t Quite Work

It’s not a new concept, instead of posting some bland advert in a newspaper sometimes organisations try and spice up their advertisements particularly when looking for specialist positions.  GCHQ, the UK Intelligence organisation used to advertise some positions in encrypted, with the advertisement and contact details hidden in a cipher that applicants needed to crack to apply.

This is what the Australian Air Force decided to do when looking for some new engineers.  They hid the phone number inside a complicated maths equation, meaning you had to solves the puzzle in order to ring up and get the application form.  Unfortunately the number of applicants was extremely low, in fact nobody applied.

The problem turned out not to be the attractiveness of the Air Force as an employer, rather the numerical application process. Unfortunately the puzzle that was published contained two typos that had been introduced inadvertantly, making the puzzle impossible to solve –

Here’s the puzzle with the errors highighted.  Fortunately for the airforce, some clever Reddit users spotted the mistake and informed them of the errors.  The formula incorrctly showed sin to the power of 2x when it should have read sin(2x).  The second error involved replacing the expression (2k-1)! with (2k+1)!.

The errors have now been fixed so if you fancy a job with the Australian Air Force as an engineer then get online and crack that code. For those who live outside Australia you better chck the entry requirements and remember to change your IP address if you get blocked forrm any of the sites – this web page shows how to  use a VPN on your iPAd – In the example it’s for changing to a UK based address for watching the BBC but it works the same way for accessing Aussie sites too great little video here.

It may be too late to apply though as apparently all the Reddit users who fixed the mistake where exactly the sort of people who the Australian recruiters where looking for!

Using the iPad to Protect PID in the NHS

It’s taken me a while but I’m slowly starting to appreciate the incredible little tool that my iPad is. It’s been a little neglected for the last few months but my interest was rekindled whilst doing some work at a local hospital.  The consultants all had iPads which were linked into a patient informational system.  This completely replaced the central register (paper), some rather dated looking hand held palmtops and in reality a lot of using a phone to check details.

The device’s were all networked together and each had a printer assigned so they could get paper copies of appointment times and details.  What was especially impressive was the way the devices handled printers and printouts.  In a hospital environment it is very important to keep a tight reign on patient information, in fact  there is a lot of Government legislation regarding this.  It is referred to a PID (Patient Identifiable Data) and refers to anything that could contain personal information which can be linked to a specific individual.

It’s quite simple to keep track of this information when it’s stored on a central application managed by the NHS or the hospital involved however as soon as it is printed out or stored on a USB device this becomes much, much harder.  One of the ways this particular hospital had dealt with this issue was by making use of the built in location functionality in the iPad.

They developed the application which would track the location of the consultant and assess the nearest available printer.  If the printer was in a secure area, these are designated in most NHS hospitals then the print would be allowed if it contained patient information, but this would be recorded so as to discourage non-essential print outs.  If the printer was not secure the printout would not be allowed and a message sent informing the consultant of the nearest secure printer.

This has reduced the amount of sensitive print outs and the consultants were happy as it required no specific input from then and additional training or approval for required print outs.  Instead the consultant would simply move to the location of one of the secured printers.  In reality many didn’t bother and so the volume of these unsecured paper print outs had fallen drastically without any issues.  The consultants were also allowed to use their iPads for leisure and personal purposes because no information was stored on them unlike PCs and laptops.  The doctor I was chatting to, watched the news using the BBC Iplayer iPad application using this , even when he was abroad.

There’s no doubt that this little device and the hundreds of tablets and mobile devices it has spawned are rapidly changing the way people do their jobs.  It is great to see that they are also making the work environment a little more secure at the same time as well as helping them watch things like BBC Iplayer in  their lunchtimes!