Archive for May, 2007

Eeep no internet!

Keen eyes will have noticed that my home server, Lara, is currently experiencing downtime. The server is in fact alive and well under my desk its just the internet connection that is dead. This in fact means that pretty much all my connectivity with the outside world is broken when at home because all my communications are internet bound (my phones and fax machine run over VoIP and TCP/IP respectively).

I’d like to say I’ll have this resolved soon but unfortunately the problem is to do with billing and so I’m not sure how long this is going to take. Matt (one of my house mates) pays the invoices to Bulldog and the rest of the house pays him on a monthly basis by standing order. Up until now this has worked fine but something seems to have gone wrong somewhere and Bulldog have suspended our connection due to lack of payment (as I was informed by a rather poorly marked-up HTML page in my browser this morning when I went to load up my router config page to do a reboot). I will need to speak to Matt about this but as he was still sleep when I left for campus to work in the Library and get my morning e-mail fix things are going to have to wait a little longer.

HUGE apologies to those who are locked out of their file stores and developer accounts on my server due to this outage. I’m doing all I can to get this fixed and will keep you updated.

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Microsoft Future

It looks like I’m going to be writing a lot more code the Microsoft way from now on. My internship on an entirely Microsoft based project has been confirmed at the XLAB and so I’m going to have to start becoming familiar with BizTalk server and Visual studio for the development of ASP.NET and C#.

This is going to be a very interesting and exciting project for me to be a part of and one that is going to involve a steep learning curve with the development tools. I haven’t developed on a Microsoft machine for over 4 years, have never coded in ASP.NET or C# and haven’t even had a usable PC running Microsoft Windows in over 2 years. Its going to be a lot of hard work. Wish me luck!

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Calendar Success

Yesterday I released my calendar plugin for WordPress to the WordPress community at large on and it has got off to a flying start. I have close to 100 downloads already and it hasn’t even been online for 24 hours yet. I’m very pleased at the positive comments I have been getting through e-mail, please keep sending your reports (good or bad) to me.

I’m hoping to release a few more of my hand-rolled WordPress add-ons soon and obviously eventually these will make it into the WordPress plugin directory also. It will be interesting to see how the likes of Now Playing, Uptime, Server Status and Contacts Database do in the hall of fame.

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Cracking Final

A rare event occurred last night – I stayed up watching TV until gone 1am. Why I hear you ask, well the world championship snooker final was on and it was such a cracking match I just couldn’t stop watching. At the end of the first day John Higgins looked certain to triumph over Mark Selby with a score of 12-4 but Mark pulled it back on the second day with some of the most superb play I have ever seen, taking the match late into the night – the latest final finish on record in fact.

I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate John Higgins on his win, his world championship final victory for 9 years and to Mark Selby for a superb come-back, the likes of which I have never seen on the snooker table. Snooker is such an amazing game, especially when it gets close to the wire and I’m just sorry I wasn’t at the crucible to see it this year. Ah well, maybe next time.

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Computing Ball

Last night was the School of Computing end of year ball and it was a superb night enjoyed by all. Huge thanks to CompSoc for organising the event, it was very well run.

A group of us started off the evening in style by getting a limo to the venue and then we had champagne and wine on arrival with a live acoustic music set which was very enjoyable. Dinner was well planned and the food really rather tasty. Its always difficult to cater for such a large group and they did it brilliantly. Dinner discussion was, for the mostpart, kept away from computers and the school in general which was a relief for many I think although the odd comment about techie things did crop up largely due to me – whoops! I also got the chance to scare some physics students about the complexity of their second year of study which was rather amusing (the ball was a combined affair with the physics and nursing departments of the university).

The rest of the evening was centered around a rather cheesy disco, a well stocked bar and a casino. I hit the blackjack tables and did rather poorly so it was a good job we got free chips to start us off! After we had all blown our chips and the tables had closed for the evening we moved into the disco and danced around insanely to some brilliant 80s and 90s dance nostalgia. Priceless photo award of the evening goes to Matt who led a rather large conga around the hall for a good 5 minutes or so!

All in all it was a superb evening and well deserved break at the end of the year for all the hard work we have been craking on with of late. As ever I had my camera at the ready and you can see a whole load of photos from the night in my gallery

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Eye Opener

I got chatting to Michael who was in my working group for the SE24 software engineering project and he was telling me about what studying IT was like in Nigeria and I suddenly realised why so many people want to come and study computing in the UK. Essentially its all theoretical. Students don’t get the chance to work on computers or if they do, not to any extent that we, as students here in Leeds SoC, would be used to. The way we learn programming – in a lab with fast, internet connected machines is a world apart.

We simply don’t realise how progressed we are here in the UK. We can pull up details on our accounts online, send e-mails, get print outs whenever we want etc. There are some places in the world where they still use typewriters in the workplace and big companies only have one dot-matrix printer for the whole building.

So why am I blogging this I hear you cry? Well I’m mentioning this to try and point out to my fellow students and indeed any other students who read this blog how lucky you are to have the access to the education you do, and once in education the quality of education that you have. Not to mention the cost. It can cost close to £30,000 for an international student to come and stufy in the UK. We get that privillage for just over 1/10th of that amount. The bottom line is we are extremely privillaged to have what we do and we should make the most of it; work hard, ask questions, make use of resources and respect the sanctity of what is provided for us – a superb education that many in the world can only dream of.

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Duke Ellington Repertory Orchestra

On Thursday night I headed out to the Leeds College of Music with the Jazz and Blues society to see some fine traditional jazz from the Duke Ellington Repertory Orchestra. The orchestra played pieces composed and arranged by Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington himself and was a truely wonderful performance.

The first set started off with some of the older and more unusual pieces with the second half of the proceedings livening things up a lot with some superb solo performances.

This big band is well worth seeing and certainly made me remember back to the North Sea Jazz Festival when I saw the Dizzy Gillespie big band play there. Big band jazz is still as amazing as it ever was and still has a place in the world of today; for where would we be without the sound of four trumpets, three trombones and a superb sax soloist up front with piano accompaniment? Significantly less jazzy and nowhere near as happy would be my answer!

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Never have truer words…

… been written in a magazine.

Not only is love blind but falling out of love is indeed its mirror opposite

Thanks to Rachel Garrod for writing into the New Scientists letters page with this wonderful little quote amongst others. Your quote now graces my quotes page with its presence.

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Pandora Lockdown

Pandora, the online music service that allows you to discover new music tastes by seemingly knowing what you like better than you do is closing its doors to huge numbers of people outside of the united states. This news was broken to listeners on the Pandora blog.

The reason for this closure is mounting pressure from licensing organisations which have only granted Pandora the rights to broadcast to the United States. Up until now a simple US postcode check was sufficient to satisfy the license holders but after a few recent shake-ups in the way online radio is managed and charged this seems to no longer be the case.

Pandora is now only available to the US as well as the UK and Canada which the people at Pandora see as being very close to achieveing license deals to properly broadcast to. All other countries have sadly been locked out by an IP address block.

This lockdown is yet another indicator of a new war breaking out on the internet – one between the people who want to broadcast and listen and the people who hold the copyrights. This war is different though because while others have centered around illegal broadcasting, this centers around those that have a legal right to do so. The problem is money. There has been a bill passed in congress in the US that effectively doubles the amount of money online broadcasters there have to pay to copyright holders (see BBC news article). This amount now exceeds that for FM and AM conventional radio and is literally forcing a huge number of online broadcasters off the airwaves.

We can only hope that the lawmakers see sense and put a stop to this as it is broadcasters like Pandora that make me want to go out and buy music I would never have looked at twice when just passing the shelf in the store.

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Computing Ball 2007

Computing Ball 2007

A collection of photos taken at the 2007 School of Computing ball

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