All entries for Tuesday 04 October 2005

October 04, 2005

Tuesday, 4th October

Oops! I slept through my alarm and missed a seminar! Luckily that subject's very easy on its seminars and I can just go to the next one on Thursday, but that means I'll have 5 lectures and seminars on Thursday. Bugger! I had a shower and messaged people on the Internet, having left my computer connected to a messenger service (for some reason things work once you're connected but take around 2 hours to connect to anything). My cleaner came in, she was very friendly, but I skedaddled off to the kitchen to get some brekkers.

Apparently the cleaners had threatened us with a fine this morning as the place was disgusting again. Enough said. Our kitchen needs to clean up its act, I can understand complaints after two days of slobbishness (although yesterday's were uncalled for). Not to sound like a whingebag, but I wash up everything of mine and put it away. Sigh…

I left for the Fresher's Fayre, and on the way met up with Ben on the way to a Medieval English class. Seriously! He's taking lessons and exams in medieval English for his English course and will hopefully be able to pretty much speak it fluently by the end of them. How insane can you get? I wonder if Computer Science would let me take that as an extra module.

I got to the fayre and got suckered into signing up for a lot of things I didn't want, but luckily the cash makes the final selection. By the end of it I'd signed up for:

  • Comedy club (lots of cheap/free tickets to great comedian/comedienne acts)
  • Computing society (I had to. I hope to teach some Python lessons there)
  • Paintball!! (£40 for a daytrip of paintball. Can't wait, though where I'll get the cash I don't know… Christmas present maybe?)
  • Photographic Society. (Always been a vague interest.)
  • Warwick Debating Forums. (I'm a devil's advocate, so this'd be perfect.)
  • Chamber Music Society. (String quartets!)
  • Live Action Roleplay Society! (Yay! Silly costumes and stupid plots… just my cup of tea!)

The total cost was £35.50 for all of them for a year. Renewals per year are £2.50/society. Owch. But worth it… ooh, so totally worth it. I didn't join the Warwick Pride just yet as firstly I didn't want to mention it to the cashier (they looked a bit rough) and secondly I'm not so sure about them any more. Their welcome pack and their attitude in the discreet sign-up session made me a bit uncomfortable. I guess I'll go to the welcome buffet just to see what's what, though.

I headed upstairs to leech off the wireless, then skedaddled to get a nice sarnie from the arts centre, before heading to a Philosophy lecture. The lecture was fascinating, providing so many counter examples and layers confusing the argument that I can see why Philosophers have an image of being debaters of abitrary nonsense. After being given a very good description of subjectivism and objectivism our lecturer proceeded to smash it with an example so na´ve and simple that it was depressing. It went simply by taking things too literally. Then he provided another fudge to that one leading us along to the grounds of Physicism. I'm half thinking that Physicism is a good retreat, at least it's easily defined! For some reason the lecture exhausted me and I almost fell asleep. I ran to the library after finding out where the hell R0.51 was and napped on the desk with an instant messenger and email program open.

I got two very detailed and very nice comments from the heads of the Computer Game Development Society in response to what I said about them yesterday. I was a bit mean with what I said, it seems that I was misled by someone present there. I'd like to apologise to them about the comments and I'll pop along to their next meeting to give them a proper chance, and I may end up even joining! (Though I've already got 7 societies paid for… arrrgh, I'm easily convinced.)

Then I zoomed to the lecture for Statistsics, which turned out to be stuff I'd done in Edexcel S1 statistics. Unfortunately the lecturer's voice was too erratic to nap through, so I played with my fingers to bide the time. After escaping that I went to the library again to check up on some of the compulsory reading on the network, check out some compulsory forums, answer emails, fan the flames on comments on my blog, all that general stuff that you should be able to do in your halls of residence. I also caught up with an online Canadian pal I hadn't seen in a while. I'm planning on visiting them next year if I can muster up the funds! I left the library and the upstairs walkway to exit was so clogged up with students that it'd grinded to a halt. I actually had to go back into the library, down the stairs just inside and out again to get anywhere. Pedestrian gridlock!

I got back to halls. Everyone was missing! There were only two people in there at all, which was strange. I asked what had happened and it turns out the network was back up and everyone was in their rooms on the Internet. There goes all forms of socialising! I went back to my room to check it out as well as the Computer Society chatroom (IRC). It was a random compilation of programming and arbitrary linking, but seemed friendly enough. I fiddled around with that a bit and caught up with a few more of my online friends before going back to the common room to see what I could eat. There was nothing at all. I had to go out in only an hour to a comedy event that I'd apparently signed up to go to a week back as well so I decided to buy something on the way.

So! After weeks of ranting and moaning the network is back up. Now I need something else to rant and moan about. Suggestions can be mailed to me at AV1 001. The winner will be drawn at random from a hat, and will win a whack with a rubber mallet. Not open to friends or family or members of any affiliated activism group.

I found out to much shock there was nothing in the room. So I had to run all the way to Costcutters, buy random food, run all the way back, reheat it and scoff it before dashing over to the Arts Centre to see what I'd signed myself up for with the kitchen group. It turned out to be a Ross Noble show.

Ross Noble was random. He was so arbitrary that he was side-splittingly funny in the first half, really annoying in the second half and very amusing during the questions and answers session with the audience at the end. Still, it was very enjoyable. It was 22:30 afterwards, and I felt exhausted. I asked if anyone wanted to walk with me back to the halls, but everyone else wanted to go clubbing. So I went back alone and caught up on my emails and online pals, after reading up some more of the stuff I was meant to have been reading online earlier in the week.

So, back to posting before bed for me, now the 'Net's back up!


Internet Up

The network's back up, so that line of incessant ranting will cease.

I can only hope my constant whinging made a difference! :-)


Addressing Comments Regarding Outages

Thank you to all people who are reading the blog. All comments, negative and positive, countering or agreeing are great. I will now address a few of the better ones.

Comment 1

  • The admin's network wouldn't be down for 8 days because no one using the admin network blatently breaks the usage rules (for instance by pluging in wireless access points)

I love a straw-man flame. I answered this comment with a comment of my own:
I unplugged the wireless when the network wasn't working, in case I was creating a routing loop. Now, straw-man arguments are oh-so-very common in the IT industry. Happened at my previous job a lot. Take a comparison of these:
'Sorry, we can't help you, as you're running Linux and we don't actually know any technical data about what we provide.'
'Sorry, we can't help you, as your router wasn't bought from our to-do list and doesn't match our checklist support system.'
'Sorry, because you plugged in a wireless router, turned down the power so far it doesn't get out of the room and removed the external arial and have taken it out since outages occured, you're in no position to blame student computing for the outages on the network.'

They all create a new argument and use it to prove another. This is the fundamental of a straw man argument.

The wiser of you will realise that my retort in itself is a Straw Man. This is because fighting fire with fire is funny, until you get seriously burned!

Comment 2

  • The difference being that running most of the apps that are running on the network here would be a sacking offence at most research establishments…

I got told by student computing the problem was caused by worms, viruses and peer to peer activity. As for viruses and worms I think the comparison is somewhat fair. Peer to peer is a much more tricky one because here although it's banned it's not a single-strike policy like it was at that establishment. However, the techincals ways in which to contain the problem are very much similar from what I've been told.

If the problems were being caused by an overabundance of legtimate activities such as recreational downloading, legitimate peer to peer such as bittorrenting legitimate files or Skype, and gaming… I'd definitely retract my complaints and put it down to a network that's just starved for bandwidth, which no-one can do anything about.

Comment 3

  • Pfui. SCS is just being a buncha lazy nerks. They can fix it, they just don't want to go to the trouble, so they are wingeing to the residents.

Probably not as bad as all that! What I will say is I really would expect to see them forced to add some kind of system to prevent this type of thing in future. But hey, I'm just a student who can't access reading notes, the mandantory-to-use forums for lessons, or sensitive information such as Warwick Pride guides in his room and instead has to do so in a public place.


CGDS

I got two very detailed and very nice comments from the heads of the Computer Game Development Society in response to what I said about them yesterday. I think in retrospect that I was a bit mean with what I said, it seems that I was misled by someone present there. I'd like to apologise to them about the comments and I'll pop along to their next meeting to give them a proper chance. I may end up even joining! (Though I've already got 7 societies paid for… arrrgh, I'm easily convinced.)

As everyone knows, I'm very opinionated and can one minute hate something and the next minute love it to pieces. This blog's more a stream of consciousness from my mind than anything else! Thanks for everyone who comments, it makes me post more.


Monday October 3rd 2005

Monday 3rd October
I had some cool dreams again for the first time in ages!

  • The first one was about being a research assistant in a project that was reanimating a cryogenically frozen head. I was getting very concerned about the comfort of the head as it couldn't speak and raised it as a cruelty issue. So they gave it spider-legs (!) and an artificial voicebox.
  • The second one was about slipping through portals into multiple different worlds. I don't remember much about them, except one of them was zero gravity and looked like a Super Mario 64 level except it had a Barclay's Bank in the corner.
  • Another one was about going to America and meeting some of my friends at an Irish pub that had migrated there for the winter. (Seriously. The pub had wings. Funny how in dreamscapes anything makes sense.)

I got woken up in the midst of the third dream by mum phoning up. I basically grunted. She said that I'd 'agreed' to be rung up at that time. I think the likelihood of me agreeing to be rung up at 8:30 on a Monday morning is very unlikely... I told her I'd ring back at 11 and went back to sleep. I woke up again at 10:30 feeling very refreshed. I went to the kitchen and found it pretty clean but with a huge pile on the table of pots and pans and stuff. Apparently the cleaner had got very stroppy on seeing it and had told Will that she wished she could still throw out stuff that'd been left out. (What a cow! It's in the contract that one dirty kitchen is allowed once in a while, probably after special events, and Will is one of the politest guys you could ever meet. I'd understand her mean-streak if she'd cleaned what she had available but there was a ring-stain on the counter anyway.)

I headed back to my room and phoned mum. She called me back on the payphone and we chatted. It was nice to talk, as I really do miss mum and dad. I need to find some people here who are as great at affectionately random conversation as they are. I headed back to my room and played more Max Payne 2 (I'm addicted). It's so good I almost feel guilty about the fact that someone pirated it for me. But as it's not available natively for Linux, my guilt was short-lived.

I skedaddled off to the Computer Science building via the Arts Centre to pick myself a very nice 'Chilli con Sarni' vegetarian sandwich. It used up all of the coins I was saving to do my washing, but I ignored the potential crisis at the time. I dipped into the Comp. Sci. lab to leech off their working Internet (Student Computing: BOO! HISS!) and posted the previous day's blog entry, before I headed to another Programming Lecture.

It was very simple but great fun. Dr Jarvis is extremely talented and can make even noddy stuff that I learned 8 years ago seem very interesting. We had a discussion afterwards and he said I didn't have to do the noddy seminar problems and could just focus on my coursework, as long as I discussed it with my seminar tutor. That'll be a really big help as I was getting worried that being bogged down with the simple questions would make it harder to find elegant solutions for the trickier problems in the coursework. I headed back to the computer science room to find a game for Ben (Another World for the SNES) and to find out when Warwick Pride did registration.

I headed off and registered for the Pride. They were very friendly, at least up until I said I wasn't really interested in clubbing and they said that there were sessions I could go to but it was very dominantly clubbing, though they tried to explain to me that clubbing isn't just gay men dancing. I joined anyway and thanked them and went to the main societies hall.

They weren't joking when they said that Warwick had a society for everything! By the time I'd left I'd gained leaflets for the Computing Society, the Bridge Society, the Computer Game Development Society, the Debating Society, and had an argument with one of the founders of the Vegetarian and Animal Rights society. I wonder what I'll actually join?

I headed back, via a vending machine to get a kit-kat, to get ready for two lectures in a row in the same room (though after a 23 hour flight to Australia, I'm the master of sitting in a seat). I played with Mario 64 in the lecture room whilst waiting for the lectures to start.

Professional Skills was useless. It's a beginner's guide to UNIX and shell programming, which I had to learn when I was around 13. At least the seminars are voluntary. Following immediately was Maths. for Computer Scientists which was presented by a scatty brained lecturer who was nice but the lecture material was so samey I fell asleep (sorry if he's reading!). I'll have to read the notes to catch up on that, I think.

I got back to the common room after showing a fellow Computer Scientists the absolute beautiful simplicity of Apple's iWork and chatted to them for a bit before getting back. I blast-heated my chilli in the microwave and it was completely dry and gloopy. I added some tap water and it suddenly became beautiful, like the chillis from home. A few people were there blowing up balloons for a birthday party later, and there was talk about having a kitchen meeting about the horrible state of the kitchen in the morning. There was also a TV plugged into the wall, but despite the fact it was plugged into an external areal it was getting a horribly faint picture. I went back to the Union Building to check out the Computer Game Development Society meeting that I'd been invited to…

The Game Development Society was OK but nothing spectacular. It was male-dominated and very based around short-term goals. It was also exceedingly Windows-biased to the point I couldn't really try much of the previous made projects. However, I did drum up some interest in making a graphical adventure game. The main thing with that is we'd need art, and lots of it. It may be an idea for the future, though!

I headed back to the halls to see the birthday party. It was pretty dead, so I headed around to Ben's to give him an old SNES game he wanted. He was pleased, and I went back to the party. It was even deader, but there was some cake left over that I scoffed. I went back to my room and played Max Payne 2 to completion (boring ending), before checking out the welcome pack that the Warwick Pride had given me:

  • Condom/lube combination pack (Why does every introduction pack contains these. I'm collecting them.)
  • Standard condom.
  • Flier for Warwick Anti-Sexism Society
  • Welcome buffet invitation
  • THT how to use a condom guide
  • Guide to gay support services in Coventry
  • HIV & AIDS leaflet
  • Shock-tactic Amnesty International Colombian anti-homophobia campaign flier
  • Gay men's sexual health anonymous survey
  • Coventry and Warwickshire 'friend' helpline service for gay men and lesbians
  • Flier for GYGL (godiva young gay & lesbians) suport group
  • Leaflet containing advice for what to do if you're suspecting you're a young gay man
  • Form for sending money to aforementioned Amnesty International campaign
  • Guide to the society. Nice and informal, but a bit too informal in places. For example, telling someone to notify the Police 'or Led Zeppelin' is funny but placing it in the 'what to do if attacked when cruising' section may be insensitive to those who are reserved about telling the police things
  • THT sexual health clinic flier

It was a very comprehensive pack! A bit biased towards sexual activities and support; but generally I guess that's what young gay people need. After leafing through it I put it aside and prepared for bed. In the process I'd noticed the people in the kitchen had been watching movies. I wish they'd tell me when they were going to do that, I'd love to join in!

Oh, and for reference, here's a completely mad poster I found on the Arthur Vick door [largely paraphrased]:

STUDENT COMPUTING

As you are aware there are issues with the Resnet. (You don't say.)

We have identified the issue as being caused by viruses and peer-to-peer filesharing activity. (You knew that 6 days ago.)

Please:

* Install anti-virus, which you can get free from Student Computing.

* Update the anti-virus. (Only if you provide discs, the network's down, remember?!)

* Update your operating system. (HELLO! Network access is DOOOOWN! Chicken and egg problem!)

* Cease all P2P activity as it is breach of the AUP. (All internet connectivity is P2P. I'm assuming they mean filesharing.)

Sigh. Is it me or does that poster remind you of a fish thashing around stuck out of water?


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