Archive for September, 2006

Time Management

I think all of us could benefit by reading this article on Trickle Theory. Don’t be put off by the name; its an article that shows you how to get over the mental leap that is getting started on and feeling positive about a task which, at the outset, seems impossible. Also offered is some advice on how to cope with very large but boring tasks.

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Power surge

Last night we must have had one hell of a storm or similar because although my clock radio hadn’t lost the time this morning, my routers needed resetting and my server had restarted its self. I feel my surge protectors have paid for themselves already! Whats even more odd, although I guess not unusual for me, is that I didn’t wake up during any of it. Considering our power remained steady during the recent tornados to hit Leeds, it must have been one hell of a belting we got last night.

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A dash of Java

Its that time of year when new students get their first exposure to the Java programming language and we get to drink lots of coffee and ready ourselves to be asked a load of questions about it. Its good though, we’re getting paid £12 an hour for the privilage and also get the chance to continue chatting to the folk we met in freshers week. Dr. Java is still the IDE of choice for the SE15 java course so we are likely to be asked more about why its just crashed than any actual programming.

Our own experience of Java is also being given a kick start back into life in the form of the SE20 course, using Eclipse as the IDE. The IDE experience should be much better, but trying to remember how to write in Java after a whole summer of doing nothing or writing in other languages in my case might cause a bit of an issue. Noses to the grindstone pronto I feel!

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Getting arty

It seems that lately I have been doing a lot of arty things. Yesterday was an addition to an already growing list in this respect when Claire enlisted my help to set up a charity art auction in the union refectory building where nearly 100 individual pieces needed to be put on display with tags and also up on boards that needed to be assembled. As the boards were considerably taller than me this did provide some amusement on occasion (thanks to Claire and Michelle for the short-ass comments ;))!

While initially I managed to drag along some helpful computing folks (many thanks for the assistance people!) I ended up helping to finish it off on my own. It took nearly 4 hours to sort it all out considering we started at 3 and left the hall at around 7.

We made up for it though by going to a superb little traditional restaurant serving North African cuisine in authentic surroundings. Not having tried this type of food before I was somewhat intrigued by the menu, but Claire seeming somewhat of an expert in these matters, soon told me what was what and taking her advice caused me to end up with a superb lamb dish with lots of great sauces and dips. They also did fantastic honey and mint tea, and I must say its got to be the best tea I have ever tasted. We were soon full of food and just chilling out on the comfy seats they’ve got in there and drinking tea, was a really good break from shifting boards around.

I suddenly realised once again how important it is to just chill out at the end of a long day and just let your mind unwind, really makes you feel a whole lot better and that little restaurant (situated on the road running between Hyde Park and the houses down the hill) has to be one of the best places to do this in Leeds I have found or been taken to, to date.

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Mass exodus

It struck me on my way onto campus this morning at 8:40am that there were a huge number of students leaving the Hyde park area and heading in my direction. Now I know a lot of students live in that area, but do so many really have lectures at 9am such that there have to be so many people on the pavement that it impeeds my usually fast progress? I walk quickly, very quickly in fact, and a 5mph slow amble just won’t cut it. I’m contemplating researching another route just to ensure I’m not slowed down, after all if I try to overtake the slow folk by walking in the road I’m bound to meet my maker an awful lot sooner than I ever intended in the form of a speeding taxi driver.

Perhaps people are just extra keen given that its the start of the year and the numbers will drop off as the weeks roll by, but I have to face the possibility that it will take over 20 minutes to get into the School of Computing just because people have to walk on pavements in groups of 20 or more. Pre-school is over; crocodile formation is no longer needed folks.

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Jazz at mine

I went along to the mine bar in Leeds student union this evening to check out the Monday night jazz evening they host there. Considering how much closer it is to me compared with the wardrobe and it has free entry I was impressed. While it is clear it cannot better some of the more prominant artists that are showcased at some of the bigger clubs in town, its certainly a great place to go to to kick back and enjoy some funky jazz.

A fair few folk from the group came along as well, and while they didn’t stay long they seemed to enjoy it and it was nice to have them there. Thanks to Kat for pointing out the event existed!

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Cold of doom

After Claire making comments for most of the week about having the cold of doom it appears that I now have it too and doom would be the right word to describe it. Sleep last night was about as broken as I’ve ever experienced and when I finally did get some solid sleep it was disturbed in the morning by a street sweeper and a bin lorry. I guess the only small mercy is that its the start of term and work isn’t very heavy so with fishermans friend and a large box of tissues it will be easy to get through.

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Washing issues

For a long time now we have had a washer dryer that washes fine but wouldn’t dry even if the world was at stake. Finally the engineer who had been supposed to come out and fix it for weeks did actually turn up and do so. Fantastic I thought; dry clothes in minutes rather than hours/days. The only problem is that in fixing the drying component of the machine the helpful chap managed to break the washing component. It never rains but it pours.

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Out with CompSoc

On Friday the School of Computing had their induction week party. A gathering in the School where the freshers could come along, get free food and drink and chat with each other, 2nd and 3rd years, and members of staff. It was a fun affair and a number of non-computing folk we know came along as well.

Tony Jenkins ordered in several kegs of ale and we got rather merry sampling it all. Tony himself had a tankard which he kept getting refilled, it was a good laugh and made me wish I’d brought my own pewter tankard along as well.

After the gathering folk from CompSoc got a group of people together and headed off into town. We went round a fair few bars in town, accumulating drinks and losing freshers. It was just one of those comic moments when every change of bar would see us lose some people; either through going home due to drunkenness or sticking around in the bar we were leaving because they liked it.

Drew had some classic drunken moments, the best one being where he played a stripy ball in a game of pool thinking it was the white. The look on his face when I pointed out what he had done was priceless 😀

I’m rather proud of the fact that I was the last member of CompSoc to go home, in fact I only went home when the last few folk decided to call it a night. The bar we ended up in last was Bourbon, huge thanks to Nicci for pointing out its existance as we were trying to find another place to go. Its free entry all night and you can always find a seat. I will most certainly be going back there at somepoint.

All in all it was a fab night and I’m so looking forward to the coming year and socialising with all the new people I have met over the course of the week. It’s going to be an awesome year in the computing 🙂

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Software Advice


A few short years ago, I upgraded from DrinkingMates 4.2 to Girlfriend 1.0 which I had been told for years wouldn’t give me any trouble. However, there are apparently conflicts between these two products and the only solution was to try and run Girlfriend 1.0 with the sound turned off.

To make matters worse, Girlfriend 1.0 is incompatible with several other applications, such as LadsNightOut 3.1, Football 4.5 and Playboy 6.9. Successive versions of Girlfriend 1.0 proved no better. I tried a shareware program, Slapper 2.1, but it had many bugs and left a virus in my system, forcing me to shut down completely for several weeks.

Eventually, I tried to run the new Girlfriend 1.2 and Girlfriend 1.0 at the same time, only to discover that when these two systems detected each other they caused severe damage to my hardware. I eventually upgraded to Fiancé 1.0 only to discover that this product soon had to be upgraded further to Wife 1.0.

Whilst Wife 1.0 tends to use up all my available resources, it does at least come bundled initially with FreeSxPlus and CleanHouse 2005. BEWARE! These programmes are Demo’s only and after one year normally will function at a reduced slower rate or just freeze up completely. I have also found that Wife 1.0 could be very unstable and extremely costly to run. Any mistakes I made were automatically stored in Wife 1.0’s memory and could not be deleted. They then resurfaced months later when I had forgotten about them. Wife 1.0 also has an automatic Diary, Explorer and E-mail filter and can, without warning, launch TurboStrop and Whinge2.0. Worse still, these latter products have no Help files and I have to try and guess what the problem is.

Additional problems are that Wife 1.0 needs updating regularly requiring AdobeShoeShop, HandbagSearcher and HairstyleExpress, all of which need to be reinstalled every other week. Also when Wife 1.0 attaches itself to my Audi TT hard drive it often crashes. Wife 1.0 also comes with an irritating pop-up called MotherInLaw which can’t be turned off.

I’ve recently been tempted to install Mistress 2005 but there could be problems. A friend of mine has alerted me to the fact that if Wife 1.0 detects Mistress 2005 it tends to revert to your SecureSocketLayer items (like banks) and delete all of your money before uninstalling itself.

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Thanks to Steve on RouterTech for this little gem 😉

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