Archive for June, 2007


Well Lara is mostly back online and I am now in my new room. The state of said room is another thing entirely. I have stuff everywhere, literally all over the place. Its only when you move yourself and your possessions that you realise just how much stuff you actually have and didn’t know you had. Luckily I’m getting it all sorted out but it is taking time away from stuff I really need to be cracking on with – mainly code for a couple of jobs my business has taken on.

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Lara Downtime

My file and development server, affectionately known as Lara, will be having some downtime over the next few days. I’m moving myself (desk and all) from one room in my house to another and so that this can be done as quickly as possible, I’m making the moving of my stuff, not the setting up of it at the other end, the priority. I hope to have the server up and running again by the weekend, but in the meantime you will have to sit tight. To all those that regularly access Lara for development needs thanks in advance for your patience.

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Maplin is expensive

I’ve always known that Maplin electronics is not the cheapest place around when it comes to electrical components but I hadn’t fully realised till I popped in there today to pick up a few bits how grossly over-priced compared with other leading stores it really is. In some cases the same product is twice as expensive in Maplin compared with elsewhere. Its good for the one off essential but for anything else, steer clear – its a rip off.

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Open day madness

On my way into work this morning I cut through campus as I do almost every day and noticed a huge number of people about due to a university open day. What was so crazy about this was the attitudes of those arriving in cars and taxis. People were trying to drive as close as possible to the union building and due to the small roads and roadworks at the main junction on the outside of campus were getting hopelessly stuck and then angry with each other, honking horns and screeching out of turnings at stupid speeds when they saw an opening.

I really don’t understand this mentality. On open days signs some distance from campus clearly show the directions to spacious car parks from where the campus is only a short walk away. What is wrong with peoples bodies these days that they can’t walk for a few minutes to get to a destination? As for disabled people they wouldn’t have had any way of getting to the open day on the east side of campus because of how congested the entrances to the disabled parking bays were.

In my humble opinion people need to re-assess their priorities with respect to when they jump in their cars. I walk everywhere and only take a bus or train when I have to. One the occasion a car would be preferable I can usually manage without anyway or if I really need one, get a lift from a friend. There is no reason why a lot more people can’t do the same and make life easier and healthier for yourselves.

If you look at it another way we’re killing our planet with our way of life so the least you can do is give mother nature a chance by leaving your car at home and enjoying the world and the outdoors while we can by walking to where we want to go. We’ve got legs for a reason.

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Poor Paving

Recently we have had some quite severe rain storms. I’m not a fan of rain but when you dress right and carry a large umbrella there is usually little harm in increased levels of water falling from the sky. At least you would have thought so.

Last week on my way to work one morning I was walking down a pavement made up of slabs when I took one step forward and was instantly sprayed with a large quantity of cold, muddy rainwater. What had happened was the paving slab in front of me was loose and set on uneven ground such that when it rained water collected underneath it, just waiting for someone (me) to step on it and release its nasty stored payload. No umbrella could have saved me. I ended up being stuck in wet clothes for pretty much the rest of the day.

What bugs me is how the council can get away with such shoddy paving practices. If maintaining a good pavement with slabs is too hard then surely they could just lay tarmac and have done with it? One thing is for sure the residents of Leeds don’t deserve to get soaked on a rainy day when they remembered to bring an umbrella.

On a similar note; poor curbside drainage. Leeds is a big city and thus has a fair few large buses. If the curbside isn’t water free at all times then the passing of one of these large vehicles will spray, no wait, SOAK, any poor unsuspecting pedestrian who happens to be walking by at the time. There is no need for this. Tarmac at the correct angles and an adequate number of unblocked storm drains permits only a mere film of rainwater to remain on the road, an amount even the largest and most badly driven Leeds bus cannot spray at pedestrians.

I for one am sick and tired of walking everywhere and looking after my health and the environment in the process only to have my efforts rewarded with a face full of water and a day in wet clothes. This is one of those things where a little would go a very long way. If you regularly walk places around town and have soaking experiences to share, feel free to post in comments.

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Tropical World 2

Tropical World 2

Heather hadn’t yet seen tropical world so we went along when her friend Paul came to stay

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Exam results

Well, its that time of the year again when I get my exam results and once again I’m very pleased with the outcome. I achieved a first average this semester making my position a very strong one for doing well in the third year. Individual module grades all floated around the 70 mark, even graphics which was without a doubt the hardest exam I have ever taken in computing.

Surprisingly my lowest mark (66) came in my SY23 module which I felt was one of the easiest exams and one of the ones I was most likely to excel in. Still, a high 2:1 is not to be sniffed at and there may have been some complacency involved resulting in my lower than expected performance. My IS23 result (70) did confirm to me that it is possible to do very well in this module with a minimum of work; this was without a doubt my least revised-for module. Not quite sure why this is, but I’m not complaining at the grade.

On a more serious note these results mean that I’m going into the 3rd year on very good standing and that I can also afford to relax and get a well deserved rest before the start of the new year. I’m also now able to use my various results to choose a good field to do my final year project in, not to mention confirm my module choices for next year now that I know I have the prerequisites. Today is surely a very good day.

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Late at XLAB

Tonight I attended my first weekly meeting for the XLAB project, in fact it finished at a little after 10pm! The meetings are basically a round-up of work done to date, a place to show work completed so far and a forum to discuss future project direction. As it was the first meeting I had attended it was very interesting to see the bigger picture but also quite a sharp reality check as I realised how much work there is to do and in how small an amount of time. We need to have a working product prototype for basic testing all ready to deploy by the end of the month! I’ve certainly got my work cut out thats for sure. On the plus side these meetings are supplemented by witty comments and large take away pizza orders which is always a nice thing.

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Olympic Logo

Quite frankly I’m appalled. Thousands of pounds and months of inspirational thinking time leads to something not even a primary school child would be proud of. The logo for the 2012 Olympic games is a shambles. For those who haven’t yet seen this monstrosity here is a link to a copy on the BBC

My problem with this logo is quite simple; It says nothing about sport and absolutely nothing about London hosting the games. It doesn’t even look like the numbers 20 and 12 like the desingers say it should. Even if it did, it wouldn’t really do the games hosted anywhere in the world great justice.

London winning the games was a proud moment for us and we go and show that pride to the world by displaying a completely non-related logo to represent our contribution to the games. Typical. Just Typical.

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Travelling by train

Its only when I travel by train as I did this weekend when I went down south to stay with my family that I realise how much beautiful countryside there is in England and how little of it many of us see in our daily lives. When not in front of my computer I’m out and about in the city, in bars and clubs, at the cinema, in art galleries and museums. Its very rare that I get to see much that doesn’t involve some kind of concrete.

This is why the train is so special because I can sit back and watch some superb scenery fly by the window. This evening as I travel northwards I am greeted by the setting sun behind a collection of rolling fields and fences that almost seem to glow in the light. It really makes you want to stop the train and just get off and stroll through that almost perfect setting and actually breathe the air and feel the sun on your back rather that spectate though a window. Still, its there to be enjoyed even from behind the glass and it certainly makes you glad to have a window seat.

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