International Nurses’ Day

12th May – IND

The 12th of May is the anniversary of Florence Nightingale‘s birth. It is on this day that around the world the contributions that nurses make to society are commemorated.

"Nurse" Photo by Laura James from Pexels
Nurse

Whilst doctors get due recognition for their life saving work, it is the hugely varied roles that nurses play that underpins the healthcare profession. From writing care plans for patients, assisting with evaluations and tests, checking and administering medicines and injections, setting up blood transfusions and drips, to observing and recording a patient’s condition.

There caring is not just for the patients, they mentor junior nurses and liaise with the relatives and friends of the sick.

Nurses play a huge role in the well-being of people all around the world. Take a moment of thought remember their efforts. This has, and continues to be, immeasurably important during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nurses we salute you, from 3SL.

World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2021

Safety is Everyone’s Business

Whether you are in change of a nuclear reactor, or run a stall on the market, whether you fly a plane or enter data on a terminal, your safety and your businesses safety is an important consideration.

Health and Safety Goes Wrong
Health and Safety Goes Wrong – Not everything is resolved with a hi-vis jacket

Time To Think

Organisations such as the International Labour Organization (ILO) encourage us to think and plan before a failure can take place. Businesses should take stock plan and mitigate. The fact that your company has a shelf full of risk assessments does not mean you or your business are safe. Shelfware can be more dangerous than a lightweight dynamic risk assessment performed as part of an engrained ethos. The only problem relying on engrained ideals is they may be difficult to prove in court and certainly difficult to time-stamp with a review date! There should be a balance between the two. Well thought out risk assessments, good training and monitoring and good cultural support.

Stop!!!

Even if we achieve the grail of a well documented and used health and safety plan, there’s always a chance that things can change and go wrong. If you think something is a ‘bit dodgy’ or you can see an accident waiting to happen, you are as complicit in any failure as someone not following the rules or having considered H&S guidance in the first place. So think STOP if you think something is unsafe, raise your concern, do something about it (if it is safe to do so) but try your best not to let disaster happen.

Stay Safe

Whether you are in a ‘dangerous’ area or simply working from home (which may well be more dangerous than a controlled work place – ROSPA say 6000 deaths occur annually in the home in the UK) keep your eyes peeled and watch out for disaster before it strikes.

Just for Fun

I’m not sure we could count all the issues in the “Working at home scenario” above. Certainly the mitigation of a Hi-Vis jacket will have no benefit. We can categorically say this 3SL employee’s work station was tidied-up  staged before this picture was taken! Reply to this Twitter post with the number of hazards you see.

Summary

World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2021 is on the 28th of April 2021, but safety and your health matters everyday.

Quantum Computation – With Standard Binary Logic

Quantum Computing

The tantalising power of quantum computing offers unbounded possibilities to solve some of the biggest problems in computing today. So far the need to keep the Quantum Bits (QBits / QuBits) stable has proved the barrier to quantum computers being widely deployed. Laboratory conditions with super low temperatures and large magnetic fields have allowed the theory to be proved, but limit the practical implementation.

Theory

Our current silicon computers rely on simple 0 and 1 storage of bits to represent the data. These ons and offs are electrically, or optically stored and they are either one or the other. QuBits however are neither a 0 or a 1 until they are actually read. They exist in a ‘probability cloud’ between the true or false. The interaction of all the QuBits changes the probability that the bit will yield a 0 or 1 answer when read. This allows a massive scaling of parallel computation considering multiple avenues of a problem simultaneously.

New Possibilities

The possibility that standard silicon based binary computers could be made to operate in a quantum state has raised many exciting possibilities. Studies at the Loe D’a Buncum institute hypothesises that a stated proof;  that Black is White, or True is False, can be ‘proved’  either way. This uncertainty, they are terming an Argú (derived from the Latin argumentum “a logical argument; evidence, ground, support, proof”). They expect this will be widely applied to Silicon Based Computing Platforms (SBCP).

Theory

To paraphrase their research observe the following:

Black is White data definition
Black is White

It can be seen that the composition of mixed primary light colours Red, Green and Blue gives White light. However, the same composite calculation for pigment Cyan, Yellow and Magenta gives Black. The Argú in this case is stated as :

 Three primary colours mixed = Black = White.

This provides a state that can not be seen as a definitive answer (because there is a missing  element  – are we talking  light or  pigment). The key to unlocking and providing the definitive answer is being termed the Clú. This is the missing piece of information that will allow the quantum measurement to be extracted.

Standard Computers

Because the concept itself, the Argú is simple to represent in standard boolean logic on a silicon computer, there is no need for any special cooling or magnetic field to retain the uncertainty. The  Clú can also be held as a standard concept. The rest of the problem continues to be expressed in multiple Argús but not ‘finalised’. At the point where every possible Argú has been raised for a particular problem, the  Clú is combined using standard logic simplified with De Morgan’s laws resulting in the final result.

Summary

Both QuBit and SBCP computing offer the gateway to many possibilities, but it should also be remembered that those without a Clú should not attempt to Argú.

Global Recycling Day 2021

March 18th 2021

The aim of global recycling day is to make us all think about the finite resources we consume and the impact our activities have on our home planet.

Recycling
Recycling

Everything we do has an impact, but we can reduce those effects with a bit of planning and thought. Whether it’s the supermarket making sure its packaging is easily recyclable and clearly marked, or us as an end user choosing how to dispose of the item. Reuse is generally better than recycling. That can range from choosing a washable cup for our coffee verses a disposable (and possibly non recyclable) plastic cup. However we also have to bear in mind the resource and energy used to create that cup. If it lasts 100 washes but is 1000 more costly in terms of energy and resource than the disposable, we’ve not necessarily won.

Engineered

As designers and producers the way we make and  distribute our product has an impact. The intended verses actual use, the quantity of consumables and total energy may be beyond our precise control. However, we can design our product to be energy efficient, use every last part of the consumable and last in terms of durability and obsolescence. When our product comes to end of life, our initial design decisions again come into play. Can the parts be reused, returned, or recycled. Have we constructed it with clip together part, easily disassembled and sorted fixtures, or is a mass of composite materials stuck inseparably into a single unit. Of course it is not practicable to make everything fully reverse engineer-able; but making reuse, disassembly and disposal key needs at the beginning of our product designs, will certainly help. Our supply and distribution chains should also be questioned. Do they operate with returnable crates, or disposable packaging. Does the logistics company we choose have a low carbon footprint.  Given these decisions are going to have a fundamental impact, they should be planned and recorded and reviewed the same way as any customer requirement.  See the environment not just as an external to your system, but a stakeholder with interests. (You’ve reached the corny product link folks) Tools such as Cradle allow these needs to be recorded, reviewed and reported. If you produce reports keep them in digital form. Whilst the servers and workstations will use power to handle your design, at least you won’t have felled a mini forest to print it out.

Personal

So before you get that disposable coffee, think about taking a refillable and long life cup. Before that next global online retailer brown envelope goes in the bin, remove any plastic tags or tape and put it in the recycling. Before that misprint from the photocopier goes in the bin, can the back be reused as scrap paper? Before that washing up liquid bottle goes to be recycled, have you rinsed (used) every last bit of product? We as individuals are responsible as the companies we work for.

Visualisation

When is a ‘Box’ not a ‘Box’ ?

When it’s a virtual box of course.

Previously

Server room based on Photo by Field Engineer from Pexels
Server

Here at 3SL we’ve been using Hyper-V for most of our visualisation needs. On the whole its done a good job, but as we’ve been moving over to more and more Linux based systems we’ve been looking at alternative solutions to see how far we can reduce our dependence on Microsoft Windows.

Comparison

We looked at ESXi (from VMWare) – and then sat down after looking at the pricing for high availability, failover, and backup capabilities. Whilst undoubtedly suitable for a critical primary system,  the level of cover was more than strictly necessary in our test and development environment.
We looked as Xen (from Citrix) – and while it does plenty out of the box, it was still lacking in certain key functionality we were after. These included replication, failover, load balancing,  which, at the time,  were available as extra add-ons.

Currently

We’ve ended up with Proxmox (for now). It allows us to run a number of Linux services as containers (LXC, not Docker) as well as KVM-QEMU based VM for the few Windows systems we want to keep around (for testing and the like).

Logo for https://www.proxmox.com/en/
Proxmox

Its been handy to create an entirely self contained Cradle cluster behind a single external IP address with load balanced web access and VPN access for clients.

Note:

These are statements of fact regarding the installation and use of technologies at 3SL. No affiliation or approval from the third parties mentioned should be implied or inferred.

E-Mail Verification

3SL E-Mail Policies

Keboard Entry representation - Photo by Thirdman from Pexels
E-Mail

We’ve changed our mail server slightly. Improving the e-mail verification between ourselves and mail recipients.

Sender Policy Framework (SPF), Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM), and Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC)  have been around for a while. Here at 3SL, we’ve implemented them on our mail server.

Technologies

SPF defines which addresses are permitted to send 3SL email.  DKIM adds a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) signature. This verifies and authenticates email as coming from 3SL, showing its not been modified in transit, or faked. DMARC combines SPF and DKIM to authenticate the emails and reports any emails which do not conform.

E-Mail Verification Result

What this means is that all emails claiming to be from 3SL should only be coming from our mail server mail.threesl.com.   This should help stop the occasional 3SL email from ending up filtered off as spam. It should also help identify fake 3SL emails as being unsolicited emails.

Lunar New Year 2021


Happy New Year of the Ox 2021

Wishing all our customers staff and distributors who are celebrating the start of the new Chinese year, peace prosperity and luck.

Chenese new year of the Ox - 3SL
Year of the Ox

The Ox is important because of its role in traditional agriculture. People born in the years of the ox are said to be hard-working and honest. They believe that people should do what is asked of them and that they should stay within their boundaries. A good working ethos for any engineer!

The years of the Ox align with the lunar cycle starting in 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009.

 

 

Cradle-7.5 to 7.6 Single User Upgrade Discount

Cradle 7.5 Single Users – Act NOW!

3SL Cradle - From Concept to Creation
3SL Cradle

3SL are pleased to announce that the latest version of their requirements management and system engineering tool Cradle is available to download.

Cradle is offered in a number of configurations, from multi-user full scale enterprise with flexible concurrent module licences to the very competitive single-user installations:

    • Cradle-RM Desktop
    • Cradle-RM Pro
    • Cradle-SE Desktop
    • Cradle-SE Pro

    Upgrade Offer 20% Discount

    3SL are pleased to offer an upgrade discount of 20%** to those with any single-user Cradle-7.5 product who upgrade to any single-user Cradle-7.6 product by 17:00 GMT on 30.3.21.***

    Cradle 7.5 to Cradle 7.6
    Upgrade 7.5 to 7.6

    Email: salesdetails@threesl.com with your name, and contact details so we can verify you have previously purchased a Cradle 7.5 product. We will then send you a voucher code to use in the Cradle online shop against Cradle 7.6 products.

    Customers who use the multi-user Cradle Enterprise and who have an active maintenance agreement with 3SL, can upgrade to Cradle-7.6 free of charge by downloading the Cradle-7.6 software for Windows and/or Linux and requesting a new Security Code for Cradle-7.6 from 3SL.

    Please Note:

    Some features are only available in certain versions of Cradle. Customers should familiarise themselves with these details on our products page in order to determine their suitability.

     

    (*) Terms and Conditions

    Continue reading “Cradle-7.5 to 7.6 Single User Upgrade Discount”

Cyber Essentials and IASME/GDPR Assessment 2021

Cyber Essentials Assessment

Cyber Essentials Badge
Cyber Essentials Badge

We, Structured Software Systems Limited (3SL), have been successful in our re-assessment under the  Cyber Essentials scheme for another year.

As a Government-backed, industry-supported scheme, Cyber Essentials aims to help organisations protect themselves against common online threats.

IASME Assessment

IASME and GDPR Logo
IASME and GDPR Logo

The IASME Governance standard, based on international best practice, is risk-based and includes aspects such as physical security, staff awareness, and data backup. This is acknowledged, by the UK Government in consultation with trade associations and industry groups, as one the best cyber security standards for small companies.

We are happy to say we met the IASME standard including GDPR  successfully.

Best Practice

These assessments provide a good reality check. We believe undergoing these processes will give our customers confidence when dealing with 3SL, and we would encourage our customers use similar precautions for their businesses. Whilst these assessments can provide confidence in your data security, the unexpected may happen. Whether this is a malicious attack, or simply a power loss and failure of your UPS resulting in disk corruption. Alongside good data security, we would also recommend you always have a good backup plan for your Cradle data.

Further Reading

The Cyber Essentials

Cyber Essentials Logo
Cyber Essentials

Cradle 7.6 – Released

We are pleased to announce the release of Cradle-7.6

Cradle 7.6 Splash screen
Cradle 7.6

Cradle-7.6 is available now for download from the downloads section of the 3SL website.  This is the latest version of Cradle.

3SL customers with active maintenance have been sent an e-mail notification, and details of which of  their enhancement requests and bug reports are included in this new release.  This is a significant Cradle release that increments the Cradle minor version number from 7.5 to 7.6. This means that the Security Codes for Cradle-7.5 will not work with this new Cradle-7.6 release. Therefore, if you want to upgrade to the new Cradle-7.6 then you must contact 3SL Support and request a new Cradle-7.6 Security Code since your existing Cradle-7.5 Security Codes will not work with this new release.

New Cradle-7.6 Capabilities

This release contains a range of new capabilities, including major new modules RISK and TEST for risk management and test execution and management, respectively – these are charged for separately – and a collection of enhancements and bugs for the existing Cradle components:

New Modules

  • Risk Management
    • Risk management is an activity undertaken, to a greater or lesser extent, by almost every organisation. It is fundamentally concerned with identifying events which, if they occur, would have a positive or negative effect on an organisation or project.
  • Test Execution
    • Test execution and recording is generic testing of a system by people who are prompted to perform a series of steps and indicate the result of each of these steps, together with some text and image notes.

New Features

  • Linux Installer
    • Install process enhanced to improve installation experience and application launching shortcuts added to improve
      Cradle integration
  • Project Setup
    • Ability to hide unused item types from the WorkBench and Web Access user interfaces
  • User Preferences
    • New text size options now available
  • Quick Access Bar
    • Add Project queries to Quick Access Bar
  • Configuration Management
    • Ability to Approve All and Reject All from the Review tab
    • Ability to Register All from the Review tab
  • Systems Modelling
    • Categories can be chosen in Project Setup to colour item type symbols on a diagram
    • Option to initialise Project Setup with SysML related elements. There is also an option to clear SysML related elements.
  • External Commands
    • Two external commands added for item re-versioned and cross reference baselined.

Performance Enhancements

We have made a number of low-level, internal, changes deep inside the Cradle code that reduce the number of interactions between Cradle clients and the database. This will reduce the time that Cradle takes to perform a variety of common operations. The effect will be more noticeable the longer the time between your Cradle clients and the Cradle Database Server (CDS). Separately, we have made some fundamental improvements in the way that Cradle interacts with Oracle and MySQL RDBMSs so that those customers who store their Cradle databases in either Oracle or MySQL will see a particularly dramatic performance improvement.

Operations that will be noticeably faster include:

  • Displaying sets of top-level items or bottom-level items in the Project and Phase sidebars
  • Querying using levels
  • Handling cross references
  • Importing information
  • Indexing and frame handling in ODBC
  • Reduced PDB access when sending alerts

Download

You must contact 3SL for new Security Code(s) for Cradle-7.6. Cradle-7.6 will not accept Security Codes from Cradle-7.5 or any previous release.

Cradle clients (WorkBench, Web Access, Document Publisher for instance) and server (Cradle CDS) versions can not be mixed. Therefore, you must upgrade all Cradle installations to 7.6.

Cradle-7.6 databases do not have the same format as Cradle-7.5 databases. Hence the Cradle-7.6 release includes a database converter for the transition from Cradle-7.5 to Cradle-7.6.  Full details are available in the 7.6 release notes, and updated manuals in addition you can always contact support@threesl.com .

Single User Products

Please note that there are no maintenance services for single-user Cradle products. Therefore, if you have purchased any of the single-user Cradle-7.5 products:

    • Cradle-RM Desktop
    • Cradle-RM Pro
    • Cradle-SE Desktop
    • Cradle-SE Pro

then you will not be able to request a new Cradle-7.6 Security Code. If you want to update your single-user Cradle system to the new Cradle-7.6 release, then you must buy the new Cradle-7.6 release.

Help with Cradle-7.6

In conclusion, we’re pleased with the new capabilities in Cradle-7.6 most importantly hope you will benefit by upgrading. If you are not already a customer and would like more information about Cradle, you can download the software and a free evaluation licence, find more on our website, or request a webinar. If you would like to read some independent reviews feel free to use your favourite search engine or take a look at Capterra.

Special Offer

Cradle-7.5 to 7.6 Single User Upgrade Discount

Article Updated

02/01/2021 – Additional information regarding changes and clarification for single user products.

08/02/2021 – Typo. Added link to special discount offer 7.5 – 7.6 Single user products