All entries for September 2005

September 21, 2005

First week back

I haven't written for a while because I was moving into my new house, how cool. I'm sharing with like the best people ever, and they are very tolerant of my pier stories. I've mostly been unpacking, cleaning and making my room look less bare.
Oh, a surprise wait for us in the back garden, an outside toilet! How cool, I don't have to stumble up the stairs in the middle of the night.

Oh and my bike, oh yes, so cool, will make another post about that, because, oh, so, so good.

Got a lot of maths revision to do now, 'cos I stuck at Analysis, and as luck would have it, my tutor is an Analysis lecturer, bugger.

To Work…

September 15, 2005

Days off work

Follow-up to End of Days… from Math.random(anything, everything);

wow, I've just realised that I now have ten days with no work/uni to go to! awesome that's the first time I've had more than two consecutive days off work since june 23.

End of Days…

well, days at work, for now at least. Yes today was my last day at my summer job, and like most days, I was stitched up like a woolly jumper. Freed, unwillingly from the burden of running the shore, I was back in the changebox (the cage). Without music, without books, I had only to provide my own entertainment, I came up with two rather good programs for my new mobile, and worked out some clever mathematics for one of them. But, if you've read this far, maybe you can help me. I'm after a very lightweight simple recursive descent parser, written in java, I'd rather not have to write my own, it took me ages when I did one in delphi a few months back.
Anyways, if you know of a good one, please comment with details.

September 14, 2005

Second Last

Okay, today I had decided to that I'd be happy and cheery at work, and until 2pm I was, truly. But after the same customers kept comming and changing notes into coins and then the same coins into notes, my mood changed. Why are people so stupid!
A smile was raised on my face when a boy (12) asked: "can I have pennies?" (No please btw)
I replied: "We don't 'do' pennies, I'm afraid."
"Where can I get pennies then?"
After a brief (but obvious look at my watch), "It's wednesday, go to a bank." I retorted.
Classic. (if a bit mean)

And! Why do people smell so much, I've got through an entire 300ml (standard size) can of air freshner in two days, this one guy, well who knows what he puts in his cigarettes, but I know that it makes me feel physically sick. Another, you could actually smell comming, awful.

Still it's my second-last day, so its not all bad.
A lot of the regulars smile and joke when they come back for more of what they wanted earlier, I wonder if they know that I think they're really sad. There are entire families here, they literally spend 7 days-a-week 'working' the machines, I guess if you want to see where tax-payers money goes, come here for a day.


So I started playing with my new K750i phone yesterday and I have one thing to say: "It rocks!".
This phone is everything the T610 should have been, and wasn't. The menus are fast and responsive, everything is logically and neatly organised, as you expect from SE. The camera is a two-megapixel affair which seems to be quite reasonable, I've only had chance to take photos of landscapes so far, but the detail on those has been very good indeed. Java on this phone is awesome, its jBenchmark rating as the best SE phone on sale today is well deserved, I can't quite come to terms with how far mobile technology has come since the crappy T20 I used to have. The calendar finally supports recurring appointments, so I don't have to spend about an hour getting my timetable in. I havent really had a chance to look at the video aspects of this phone but I will do shortly, and I'll let you know, but if its as good as the rest of the it'll be awesome.

Still there are a few gripes, the new 'fastport' on the bottom still has the old SE issue of the angle of anything you plug into it, in that sometimes you'll have to pull it up/down to get it to connect.
The supplied headphones are amazingly naff, in truth though, I'm spoiled because I use top-of-the-line Sony headphones for everyday use, I've the W800 comes with similar style headphones (similar to the good ones) so I may get those as the supplied ones only real function is to provide an arial for the built-in FM radio.

I would recommend that you get a case for this phone, my T610 spent a summer in my pocket with a bunch of keys and some loose chnage, needless to say it got scratched no end.

All in all a very good phone with all the features that you wanted when camera phones first came out, and more you didn't!

And beyond…

5 out of 5 stars

I first read this book half-way through A-Level and understood, at most 25% of the concepts contained within, it was well worth the read though. Having read the book again after completeing my first year at university, I can now say I understand at least 80% of the maths in this book.
The book is not a techincal mathematics book, there are no theorems and associated proofs etc, instead it is a look at the history of some of the most familiar parts of mathematics. Its a very interesting read, as you get more of feel for the history of the bits of mathematics that you use everyday.
The book also paints us a picture of the mathematicians that steer the subject, they are no longer just a name in a theorem, did you know that Galois died in pistol duel over a lady?
From here to infinity covers both classical and modern areas of mathematics, it stresses that mathematical theorems can never be outdated and replaced like scientific theorems (they can be wrong however). Ian Stewart briefly dips into chaos, computability and fractals, just enough to see if you're interested.

I would advise that to get the most from this book you should have at least done some university level mathematics, after all to understand the concept of non-standard analysis, you need to understand standard analysis.

If your a first year, get this book, and read it now, then read again in a year, and impress yourself with how much you've leaned.

September 12, 2005

England Win

Just have to say it, well done England, you were the best side all the way through and deserved the win. Thanks for a great summer of cricket, and making my time at work at least bareable.

September 09, 2005

Changebox madness

It would seem that a lot of my creativity stems from boredom, i.e. when I'm bored I challenge said boredom by being moderately creative.

Today was such a slow day at work, which meant I had plenty of time to think, and read, I was reading a book on mathematics, and I was confronted by the usual mathematical language. I realised that the changebox lacked any specialised 'lingo'. So I got thinking, firstly I had to name the coins so,

  • One pound coins become 'kings', not sure why but it sounds quite good I think,
  • Twenty pence coins become 'geeks', since not one really wants them, but they do have their uses.
  • Ten pence coins become 'whores', because ten pences are so dirty (Alan Partridge impression optional but recommended).
  • Two pence coins become 'Old Ladies', because its always the old ladies who wan't them, but they always ask for something else, like some geeks, but you give them twos anyway, because you know thats what they want.
  • A uniform set of coins becomes a deck, e.g ten ones is a deck, but nine ones and ten tens aren't.

Right, so now that I had a naming system, I needed some operations to perform on them.

The most common operation that I perform in the changebox is check that say a deck of ten coins is actually ten coins, I do this by quickly seperating the deck into two, and counting the two halves, this is defined as 'spitting the deck'. One can perform a uniform split, where the two halfs are of equal size. Also if the two halves are seperated fully, i.e. you not have two distinct decks, that is a 'hard split', otherwise, if the deck is just pushed apart briefly, then it is known as a 'soft split'.

Counting up money from bags onto the desk is now known as 'topping up'.

The coin counter, which is about to die btw, is to be known as 'stressed Eric' (in honour of cartoon of the same name). He always gets jammed after we put 50,000 coins through him in one day. He makes this horrible grinding noise every now and again, which makes you think that he's about to blow up.

The changebox itself is to be known as 'the cage' because thats what it feels like sometimes, you can't get away from the people, and sometimes you're in there for 4+ hours.

Customers are to be known as 'chumps' (least offensive thing I could come up with)

So now I can mildly amusing things like:
"I was in the cage putting some old ladies into stressed eric when this chump came up and demanded some whores, I replied that I hadn't topped up the whores yet and all I had were kings, geeks and old ladies. The chump then wanted a deck of eight kings, so I performed a uniform soft split on a deck of eight kings, before I ran off some cups of old ladies from stressed eric."

How bored was I? very.

More Wristbands!

Feeling inspired by all those wristbands I keep seeing, I thought I'd make it very easy for everyone to have one!

I spent a few hours writing up a php script that generates the wristbands on the fly, which is basically one php hack after another, as have never done anything with php graphics before! So without further ado, place this code in your CSS, and then make the changes described below to get YOUR wristband!

#bannerImageLeft {
position: absolute;
top: 0px;
right: 0px;
height: 200px;
width: 200px;
background: url('{sometext}&bgcolor=255,255,255&color=0,0,0') no-repeat;
border: 0;


Here's how to get your message, change {sometext} to the text you want, remove the { braces } btw. To get that bold look insert a space when you want to change font weight, but you'll need to use %20 for spaces. Exmaples are

as for the color and bgcolor attributes they are entirely optional, but if you o use them, you need to supply three numbers, separated by two commas, the values are the standard red,gree,blue ranging from 0 – 255.
If neither is specified you will get a standard black-on-white wristband.

September 08, 2005

Five–year–olds aren't that heavy

So I went to see my sister and her children, as usual they like to use me as a versatile climbing frame, the middle child (6), kirsty was having great fun putting her dirty trainers all over my trousers and light blue t-shirt. So I picked her up and threw her in the air a little bit, not too high mind you. She semed to enjoy and and soon the other two children wanted me to throw them up too. At this point my sister got her camera and tried to take photos of the kids mid-air. Jay, the youngest at five-and-a-half was the lightest and easiest to throw, after a few standard height throws I asked him if he wanted to go as high as possible, He seemed very enthusiastic, so I threw him up with everything I had.

So, I now have a photo of a child about three feet above my head, appearing to fall from the sky, with me stood, ready to catch, classic.

Oh and no children were harmed in the end, it was all very safe, as I have quite strong arms and they can fully support my weight (80+kg), so a small child was no trouble.

September 2005

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