All entries for September 2004

September 28, 2004

So far, so good.

So, term has begun. Apart from a few little hiccups here and there, the first few days into term has been successful for Warwick Blogs.

In terms of numbers of new blogs/entries/comments, the last few days have been great. As of right now, today has seen:

  • New blogs: 78
  • New entries: 108
  • New comments: 98

Obviously everyone is still just trying out blogs and finding their feet. Some people will love and continue to blog (we hope), and others will lose interest (if they had any in the first place).

People have obivously requested blogs for personal use…ranting seems to be a favoured type of entry :)
There have been a couple of blogs registered for societies and for modules. As we get into term a little further, and as the first few weeks madness eases a little (yes I was a Fresher here once…7 years ago…it does calm down…a bit), I hope to find people using blogs more both socially and academically.

I fully hope to see Top Banana photos in people's galleries, entries telling the world (or a select group) all about their night of drinking and people writing about their latest seminar or their thoughts about the final year project. Quite what the ratio of those kinds of entries is going to be like, who knows.

I guess we'll just wait and see…

As ever, if you want to give us some feedback (and we love feedback), please visit our blog feedback forum (you have to be logged in) and let us know what you think about Warwick Blogs, and yes, we can take constructive criticism :)


September 26, 2004

Harvard and Minnesota celebrate blogging milestones

Harvard weblogs have been running for around 2 years now I think and have had great success. There was recently an entry celebrating how far they have come. Harvard now have 581 blogs. They have every right to celebrate, they were the first University to really embrace the concept of academic blogging on a large scale. Dave Winer was the man behind Harvard blogs and the man behind popular blogging/cms software Manila. This is the very same software that powers Harvard blogs.

Minnesota's UThink project has been live since April and have also had great success, rapidly clocking up 583 blogs according to their recent celebratory entry. Shane Nackerud has been the driving force behind getting Minnesota's blog system up and running. He has put together a MovableType system run by the Minnesota Libraries.

So, then we come along. Having looked at the success of those two projects, we have been hoping to provide an even better system, making blogging even more engaging and easy to use. We've not hit the 583 blog mark just yet to overtake them, but I don't doubt we will. However, that is not the real measure of success.

How will we measure success? Number of entries, number of comments, number of blogs, number of page views? Number of students who say they enjoyed using their blog? Number of academics who say that it improved their teaching or their communication with their students? Number of people who like our funky fridge magnets? I'm really not sure yet. The experiment really begins this week and into the coming term and year.

Hopefully we will get plenty of feedback from people, letting us know what they love and what they hate, and given that we can refine Warwick Blogs into an integral part of the Warwick community. Big dreams, too big? Maybe.


The Beauty and the Beast

It's strange how you can take two photos within an hour of each other from almost the same place and capture what some might think is a thing of beauty and one that most may well call a bit of a beast.

I love red skies, you don't see them like this often enough.

The big fat ugly mamma almost got chopped up by my mower. He probably, and almost rightly assumed that I would never actually mow my lawn. But after probably living in my jungle for 2 months, he was wrong.


September 22, 2004

Post holiday resolutions

Follow-up to What I did whilst not programming from Kieran's blog

Well, I said this about a week ago:

  1. I am going to get more healthy
  2. I am going to start either running or going to the gym (football might be good for the legs, but not good enough for the rest of the body)
  3. I am going to eat better lunches, the pork pies and crappy ham sandwiches need to stop!
  4. I am going to watch less TV

So, how have I done? Well, number 1 is really just a general thing that is made up of me trying to do number 2 and 3.

Number 3. All last week I had salads for lunch, very nice, so much nicer than crappy ham sandwiches (and I have stopped bringing in those naughtly little pork pies…hmmmm…pie).

As for number 2, I went to the gym last night for the first time. Spent an hour on running/rowing/cycling/sit-ups/stretching. Considering we played footy at lunch time and the day before, it wasn't too bad. For my own records, I'm going to put my embarrasing bad stats here so that I can track my progress in the coming weeks.

  • Rowing: 1000m – Resistence:10 – Time: 4 mins'ish
  • Running: 13 minutes – Speed:10 – Incline:4
  • Cycling: 15 minutes – can't remeber any settings

It sounds a bit pathetic when written down like that. We did a few other bits and pieces in between, but they were the major things. I'm not even going to list how crap my sit-up performance was, because Barry put me to shame…six-pack possessing git :)

Of course, after all that, we went down the pub…oops.

I'm surprised that they spent all that new money on the University gym but didn't put in better machines. I've not used any, but I've heard of the machines where you put in your membership card and it tracks all your performance for you. That would certainly save me from having to keep track myself. Oh well…I'm guessing they cost a fortune.

Oh, and number 4. Less TV. Yeah, but not just through will power, the bloody TV died last night :(


September 21, 2004

Winter's on the way

Just got this joke through the old joke mailing lists…winter is on the way…

A baby polar bear goes to his mum as says "I'm a polar bear right?" and so mum says "yes darling why?". "Just checking" was the reply. A bit later he comes back "So I'm not a brown bear?", "no why?", "just wondering". Later still baby comes back "Both you and Dad are polar bears aren't you? No other sort in the family, pure bred Polar bear?" – " yes honey – both your father and I come from a long line of polar bears – why? Please tell me what's wrong". So the little polar bear says "well mum – I'm freaking freezing!"

ta da!

I thank you! I'm here all week!

I couldn't resist :)


September 19, 2004

Me!

Writing about A Small Picture from Hollyzone

Normal and mad me.

Make your own at South Park Studios


September 16, 2004

Clive Barker – Imajica

Title:
Rating:
4 out of 5 stars

This was book two of my recent holiday reading. However, due to its 1136 pages, I actually finished it 2 days after my holiday. Anyway…

I don't read much fantasy, sticking mainly to thrillers and sci-fi. However, this does not disappoint. It is a true epic, following the travels of our heros across the 5 worlds that make up the Dominions. We have magic, monsters, horror, sex, love, gods and goddesses. Great stuff.

Clive Barkers imagination is incredible. The images he paints in your head are fantasic and the characters deep and well explored. However, my complaint is that it does sometimes feel a little too over-descriptive, almost as if he is trying too hard. But then that is probably just me not being used to such fine writing :)

See Joanna's review for another opinion.


Blog Interviews

Writing about Blog Interviews from my housemate is a soviet spy

Nick has a good idea to try and find out a bit more about people by doing interviews.

Instructions:

This is what you do:

  1. Leave a comment, saying you want to be interviewed.
  2. I will respond; I'll ask you five questions.
  3. You'll update your journal with my five questions, and your five answers.
  4. You'll include this explanation.
  5. You'll ask other people five questions when they want to be interviewed

Nick asked me these:

1. What would you have preferred your parents to have called you, if they hadnt called you Kieran
Something less strange. I didn't used to like being called Kieran because I never knew anyone else called it. I think I would have gone for something really boring because as a kid I didn't like standing out and having a strange name. So, something like Ben.

2. What is your favourite moment from when you were at warwick
It's got to be between my 21st birthday party and my charity bungee jump in the varsity car park dressed in an elephant suit when I was RAG president many eons ago.

3. IF someone paid you a huge amount of money to put a hit on a certain President, what would be your weapon and choice.
I would love to see old Bush out of power, but I'm not sure I could kill him when there were so many genuniely evil tyrants in the world (yes, he is stupid, but I wouldn't say completely evil). I would probably try and bump off Saddam just in case he didn't get the death penalty. I'd probably want to do it comdey style with a big barrel of TNT like in the old Road Runner's. (You have to be really careful not to offend anyone with questions like this…just some fun :)

4. What made you decide to start a blog (when you started your first)
A friend of mine at work started getting interested in blogs just under 2 years ago. He started one and I shortly followed after he introduced me to MT. 6 months or so later we started thinking that blogs would be a cool thing at Warwick quite a while after that we actually went for it and started building Warwick Blogs back at around the start of 2004.

5. IF someone gave you 10 to spend on whatever you wanted, what would you buy, in Tesco (or some similar, high street foodmarket chain)
I'd buy something a little unhealth like a bag of chips a tin of chilli con carne and then a pack of 10 bottles of bud. Perfect.

test

stee
sdf


September 15, 2004

Joe Haldeman – Forever War

Title:
Rating:
4 out of 5 stars

Following Chris T's suggestion that I read this on holiday, I borrowed it off him and had it finished by the end of day 1 :)

Although it is a relatively short book at around 250 pages, it is very nicely done. The story revolves around a soldier fighting in a distant space war. Because of how far away the war is, a year in the army might actually mean that 100's of years might have passed on Earth. This makes for some very clever and interesting situations as you see technology fly by and things and people he knows disappear.

My only quibble would be that it does feel a bit short, but then again, good things can come in small packages.


September 14, 2004

What I did whilst not programming

For the first time in who knows how long, I actually took a full week off! Yay!

I had to do it before term started or I think I would have gone mad.

So, whilst turning my mind away from java for a week, Steph and I zipped out to Lanzarote to laze by a pool in the sunshine.

If anyone is planning on going to the Canaries, I can strongly recommend the Los Jameos Playa hotel near Puerto del Carmen. It is the first 4 star hotel I've been to that actually feels like a 4 star rather than a wanna-be. The room was lovely, with a great view, the food was great (and I like my food), the pool was gorgeous and the service impecable.

That is how relaxed I was! I couldn't even be arsed to get up to take the photo!

Being on holiday with lots of time on your hands lounging around, gives you lots of time to think and assess your life. Sometimes this is a bad thing, but as I was in a good mood, I was trying to be quite positive.

So, I'm going to write it down here so that it is harder for me to weasel out of when I change my mind:

  • I am going to get more healthy
  • I am going to start either running or going to the gym (football might be good for the legs, but not good enough for the rest of the body)
  • I am going to eat better lunches, the pork pies and crappy ham sandwiches need to stop!
  • I am going to watch less TV

I had other revelations of course, but hey, I've most likely decided against them already or don't want to admit them.
Who knows how long this new leaf will last, probably not long, but hey, I've got to try.


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