All entries for December 2005

December 21, 2005

Term 1 recap – what I learnt

I had five modules last term.

Programming for Computer Scientists

Taught by the great Stephen Jarvis. This was basically an introduction to Java programming.

I picked Java up quickly, and knew all the stuff to do with Objects/Classes from A-level Computing. There was some new stuff towards the end, but none of it was difficult.

I made several robot controllers, including a final one which I was very pleased with. They got me 100% on both of the courseworks. There was also a test in the middle of term that I scored highly on. The courseworks and the test together are worth 40% of the overall mark.

Mathematics for Computer Scientists I

Lots of maths, all based on boolean logic and set theory. Relations, functions, graphs and probability, with some induction and some infinite sets.

We did four problem sheets, each worth 2% (just for handing in). Problem sheet 1 was randomly chosen to be marked, and will be worth 12%. I guess we get our mark for that when we go back.

Professional Skills

This module covers three areas, and we cover one area each term. This term was supposedly an introduction to Unix, but was generally laughable.

In one lecture, we were told about the ECDL. In another, we were told that exists. There were also some lectures attempting to teach Bash, but nobody who didn't already know the material picked anything up from them.

There was a badly defined assignment, for which the automatic tests given online were wrong and unreliable. Despite this, I got 100% on it, which gets me 30% of the overall module mark.

Introduction to Quantitive Economics

This term covered microeconomics, and next term we'll cover macroeconomics. Or the other way round. Not much of the material really sunk in. It probably didn't help that I missed a couple of the lectures, either.

Despite that, I got 70% on the first class test and 80% on the second. I still don't think I understand the material, but I'm unlikely to put too much effort into changing that situation.

Computer Organisation and Architecture

This started halfway through the term, and continues through term 2. So far we've covered binary stuff and logic stuff, some of which is new, and some of which is stuff I know backwards. We just started assembly language.

We haven't done any tests or anything, but next term we have lab sessions. I'm not entirely sure what they involve.

December 07, 2005


Writing about web page

Enigma is a brilliant and addicting puzzle game.

It's so addicting that I couldn't let myself recommend it here until term had ended – people have essays and coursework to do during term, and Enigma is much more fun.

There are more than 500 levels, most of them either fiendishly difficult or mind-boggling clever.

December 06, 2005

Sudoku Style

Writing about web page

Do you have a close friend or relative who’s addicted to sudoku?

Do you wonder what on earth you could get them for Christmas?

Wonder no more. At Sudoku Style, you’ll find a wide variety of sodoku products – from t-shirts to teddy bears, and more!

Any of them would make a thoughtful and original gift for the sudoku-er in your life.

Disclaimer: this was made by my friend. I paid for the webdomain and he hasn’t paid me back yet.

December 01, 2005

My NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo is a challenge to write 50,000 words in one month.

I was challenged by my friend to compete, and so this was done in the one and half hours before midnight.

It's 498 words according to NaNoWriMo; 514 according to my text editor. That's 1% of the way to 50,000, which I think is decent.

"Aren't you going to shout after him?" asked Brent. "Something about him not getting away with this, maybe."

"What would be the point of that?" the snozwangler calmly responded. Behind him, a turret slowly toppled over, falling to the ground in an explosion of mud and stone. "He has gotten away with it. My once-impressive tower is now falling apart like a poorly constructed game of Jenga. My snozwangling laboratory is destroyed without repair. Shouting about it won't help the situation."

"Yeah, but it might make you feel better. You could at least vow to seek revenge."

The snozwangler looked at Brent, somewhat bemused. "And what would revenge get me? A lot of wasted time and a dead body to dispose of at the end. He was only doing his job."

"So what are you going to do, Mr. Snoz? You can't give up! That last batch was getting really close, I'm sure of it. Sure, they weren't exactly sane, but other than that…" he trailed off, as a stone slab the size of his head embedded itself in the ground, just metres away.

"Give up? Oh no, certainly not. But I feel a change of focus might be in order. In retrospect, I might have been slightly arrogant in this enterprise." He smiled inwardly. The major world leaders had attended an emergency meeting earlier that day, to discuss the problem they saw him as. They would probably have felt that slightly arrogant was an understatement.

"No more kidnapping the children of key governmental figures," he mused out loud. "I learn my lessons. Definitely no public broadcasts announcing what I've done and why, with a challenge to the world to stop me."

"What, then?" Brent questioned. "If you're not going to cause mass hysteria, why even bother?"

"Oh, I can still cause mass hysteria. One of the things holding me back here was sample size. Even with larger laboratories, there's still a limit to the number of subjects I can test. What I need is an adaptive virus. I can let it loose in one of the slums in China; let it spread a while.

"Eventually, a mutated strain will find a way to break down the immune system and work full time. Who knows, after long enough, there might even appear a variant that doesn't turn the host totally insane. The possibilities are endless, Brent, and we're just starting to explore them."

Three days later, and Brent was dead.

Two months later, a disease started spreading across China.

A week after that, a man was found talking to himself in a dumpster in Ohio. He was quickly declared as mentally retarded, and sent to an isolated asylum to be cared for.

Within a month, the disease was common across America and Europe.

Within three, humanity had been culled to a global population of under one million. The snozwangler died in the asylum, chuckling in his sleep. Nobody had understood the genius of snozwangling. Nobody ever would.

New blog location

After a hiatus of several years, I’ve started blogging again at

My website

Looking for more information about Alan Hazelden? Follow me on Twitter or go to my website.

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