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Year View| Summary| Highlights| April 2004 (Month View)

01.04.2004Thursday 1 April – Wagga Wagga & Temora

After getting to bed at a quarter to four, with my alarm set and the computer alarm set five minutes after so that as soon as my alarm goes off, I have to jump up and turn the computer one off before it wakes everyone up, I was a bit sleepy when I woke to catch my early morning train to the airport.
I ran down to the train station – running all the way. I missed the train by about eight seconds. This was not good at all, considering I’ve a flight and a connecting flight to catch, both of which are non-refundable. Fortunately for me, another train got me into Central in time to buy a toasted sandwich from McDonalds before transferring to the rip-off airport train.
Virgin flight DJ216 to Sydney left on time with me safely in it. It’s a Boeing 737, as are all Virgin’s planes, I believe – and the flight was short and uneventful. I dozed while the time and I both flew, and before I knew it, we were descending into Sydney.
Qantas flight QF2225 to Wagga Wagga also left on time, also with me onboard. It was a small Dash 8 with only twenty or so people onboard. I think they seat around thirty-six. We were taken on a bus from the terminal out to the aircraft. It’s only a fifty-minute flight, and being Qantas, refreshments were served, so I was in Wagga Wagga in no time.
  I sat at the airport for half an hour before Dale, Silas, and hj arrived. We drove to the nearest pub and had a counter meal and a few drinks, before heading to a suit hire shop where Dale arranged to pick up a suit later, and then back out to the airport via a coffee shop to pick up Dale’s brother. After picking up the suit, all four of us drove to Temora and I met Dale’s parent’s house, and his parents, for the first time. The house is a mansion, and quite impressive.
We did things, but those things I do not remember. I highly doubt Dale, Silas, or hj remember either.
Comment by filthy – Monday 31 May 2004, 11:33 AM
  Edited: Poster is a moron
  Rough translation: “Do you not remember because you’ve repressed those memories, as too awful to remember?”

02.04.2004Friday 2 April – Temora

Dale says we had a “blinder” last night, so I guess we did. I’m reasonably sure we did lots of stuff today too, but I can’t remember any of it, so I guess it must have been the good stuff. I do remember it was enjoyable.
The reverend came over for a practice wedding, as did Gemma the bridesmaid.
Silas, Dale, hj and I played pool on their full-size billiard table until quite late. Silas eventually got too tired and went to bed. I stayed up until around three o’clock. Dale and hj were still going when I went to bed. Apparently, Jim met them on their way to bed when he woke up in the morning. Suffice to say that they were both drunk for half of tomorrow.

03.04.2004Saturday 3 April – Dale and Ragnhild’s Wedding

Everyone ran around becoming stressed and preparing for the wedding. Silas and I escaped and went down town to buy some flowers, cards, and chocolate as gifts. Dale and hj soon escaped as well, and we went down to the pub for a while, where I had steak and chips without the steak, before heading back to the stressful preparation for what’s supposed to be the happiest day of their life.
All the guests had arrived, so the wedding began. We trooped into the elaborate dining room where it was being held. Gemma and Silas walked down the aisle. Dale and Ragnhild walked down the aisle. The reverend performed the rites, and they were married. The ceremony was nice and lovely and stuff, although the part where the reverend talked about growing a garden and avoiding the foreign weeds was almost going a bit too far – funny though.
After the ceremony itself, and the photo taking, everyone headed out to the pool and got drunk. One bloke fell over and knocked himself out on a tile. Two fell into the pool. Some others played billiards. I wandered around, taking photos, talking to people, and saving Gemma from a newfound friend who was a bit too interested in her for her liking. hj had to leave at midnight to catch his train. He was rather drunk. Dale and Ragnhild didn’t head off to their motel room until way too late – sometime after three o’clock, once all the taxis had stopped, so walking they did go. Silas and I waited up until everyone had either gone or been put to bed. It was after four in the morning when I got to go to sleep.

04.04.2004Sunday 4 April – Recovering

Dale and Ragnhild arrived back, and we all had a mellow sort of day, recovering from last night. Nothing seemed to be broken, and we cleaned up the place. Interestingly, every can of “Melbourne Bitter” was drunk, but there was a lot of “Victoria Bitter” left – similarly, but less interestingly, with the red and white wine.
We ordered tons of “Chinese”, which was quite tasty. After that, we watched “Seabiscuit”, a thoroughly unimpressive movie. Gemma turned up for a little while, and then we all had an early night.

05.04.2004Monday 5 April – Brisbane

Dale drove me around to the house where Mum used to live, and I took a few photos of it.
Qantas flight QF2228 to Sydney lifted off from Wagga Wagga, and Silas and I arrived in Sydney fifty minutes or so later. I was originally booked for a 3:15 flight, but they let me change my flight after making it clear I wasn’t allowed to with my fare.
  Once in Sydney, we caught the first train to Circular Quay and took a few photos of the Opera House and the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge, with Silas in front and such exciting things as that. It was overcast, windy, cold, and had been raining, so we didn’t stay long.
  Once back in the warmth of the airport, and through the scary check-in procedure, I bought a veggie burger from Hungry Jacks, and Silas and I chatted until his plane was ready for boarding, at which time I headed across to my terminal, checked in, and waited for my plane.
Virginblue flight DJ249 to Brisbane didn’t crash on takeoff. I was in the second row, and only one other woman was in it on my side, which was something of a contrast to the flight down where the plane was totally full and I was in the second last row. The clouds and sunset were very beautiful, and then it got dark so I dozed until we arrived in Brisbane.
  I caught the train to Central. At ten dollars, it is a rip-off. I bought a veggie burger from McDonald’s, and an ice-cream sundae, and then caught the train home.
I’m home, semi-unpacked, and stuff. Amy is still here, and plans to stay until next week I think. I had a bit of trouble connecting to the internet, but unplugging the phone in the hall seems to fix it.
I modified the privacy and authentication system I’m using for my journal. Certain categories of private entries are now totally hidden until a user is appropriately authorised, which will hopefully help prevent people trying to (usually dramatically incorrectly) second-guess what’s in my private entries based on what’s happened either side of them, but will still let suitable people read them. In addition, authentication is no longer done through a forbidden error page – something that seemed ok to me, but wasn’t very logical.
I need to be at university by nine o’clock tomorrow morning, and I haven’t even packed for it yet. I really don’t want to go – after the lovely relaxation of the past weekend, uni and assignments sounds terrible.
Comment by Filthy – Monday 31 May 2004, 11:28 AM
  Edited: Poster is a moron
  Rough translation: “Is Silas your boyfriend, and if so, you should consider yourself lucky. All the best etc.”

06.04.2004Tuesday 6 April – Back to uni

I didn’t really feel like going to uni today. I’m still tired after my weekend down south. Our “Operating Systems” assignment was due by five o’clock, and I wanted to begin my “Systems Interface Programming” assignment, as that’s due soon too, so I ended up spending all evening in the labs helping Marcus get his last minute panic assignment finished. He submitted it three minutes before the deadline, and I went home to continue with my assignment. I’m also trying to make something that’ll view images easily off a CD, now that I’ve finally got most of my photos under control, all tagged and sorted.

07.04.2004Wednesday 7 April – Tonya’s Cable

I had a nice sleep in. Tonya got a phone line and cable internet connection installed today. The bloke who did it was here for hours, drilling through the floor and messing around. It’s ironic, I’m sitting here with a slow dialup connection, which, being the university ISP, doesn’t work very well and is currently experiencing drastic packet loss, while there’s an unlimited, permanently on, high-speed internet connection in the next room. The modem has both USB and Ethernet connections on it but I only have a crossover cable – which I tried connecting with anyway, just to see if it would work, but it didn’t.
Comment by keight – Friday 9 April 2004, 12:22 AM
  do you want me to give you a network cable, ned?
Comment by Ned – Friday 9 April 2004, 12:33 AM
  Thanks for the thought, but I probably wouldn’t be able to use it for anything more than to test it actually works – and it would have to be quite long.
Comment by keight – Saturday 10 April 2004, 4:22 PM
  Why would you only be able to use it to test if it actually works? And I've long cables, if you do decide to change your mind

08.04.2004Thursday 8 April – Starsky, Hutch & XSLT Powered Image Viewing

I was supposed to go to university today, but woke up half an hour after the train went. I did some more work on my XOR encrypting and decrypting “Systems Interface Programming” assignment, getting a few menus and stuff working, and then got sick of it. It would be so much easier if I knew C – obviously. Every little thing takes ages because I don’t know how to do it.
Having got sick of both my assignment and sitting in front of my computer, I decided to head into town, get some dinner, and see a movie. I had a rice curry thing from a shop in Indooroopilly, went and bought some chocolate, browsed through a stereo and television shop, and saw “Starsky & Hutch”. The price has gone up fifty cents – it now costs $6.50 for University of Queensland students, and we don’t even get that on Saturday evenings. I guess I can’t complain – that’s still considerably cheaper than what everyone else has to pay. The movie was fun, and quite full. There was a big queue waiting to see it, and it was shown in one of the larger cinemas.
I guess I should go to bed. I’ve been working on making an XSLT powered image viewer for use on photo CDs. It seems to work. Currently it reads information from an XML file (which I generate using ACDSee) including descriptions, filenames and various other bits of information about the images, and creates an HTML page showing thumbnails of the images and a listing of the description of each image. JavaScript is then used to show an auto-sized pop-up window with the full-size image and various bits of information about it. It all works fine with my version of Internet Explorer, although it uses a phenomenal amount of memory, mainly because the thumbnails aren’t actually thumbnails – they’re just full-size images sized in the HTML to a thumbnail size.
  Mozilla and its kin seem unable to use JavaScript from a client-side XSLT page generated from XML – which doesn’t surprise me but is annoying. This means the pop-up full-size image viewer doesn’t work, but it degrades gracefully, just showing the image in the browser instead. Mozilla doesn’t handle the thumbnails as well as Internet Explorer either – they work but it’s slow to load them, and they change slightly the first time the mouse is hovered over them, but other than that, it seems to work fine in both major browsers so should work on virtually any PC. I might try to test it out on Tonya’s computer tomorrow and see if it works on that. She’s running Windows 98, with a lot less RAM than me. Another interesting test would be the Solaris machines at uni – I might try it on them before I declare it complete and make some CDs. Hmm, come to think, I probably can’t because they don’t have CD drives. Maybe I can use it via the Windows machines somehow; I’ll have to think about it. Anyway, I’d better get to bed or I’ll wake up tomorrow evening and waste all the morning sleeping again.
Comment by keight – Saturday 10 April 2004, 4:24 PM
  Did you go to the 8:40 session of Starsky and Hutch, perchance?
Comment by Ned – Sunday 11 April 2004, 2:54 PM
  I don’t recall – but it was probably a bit earlier than that.
Comment by Ned – Sunday 11 April 2004, 10:22 PM
  Correction: It was the 8:40 PM viewing.
Comment by kathryn – Sunday 2 January 2005, 4:37 PM
  random note this is my birthday and i remember seeing Starsky and Hutch and being dissapointed with the 80's humour.
Comment by Ned – Monday 3 January 2005, 2:26 AM
  Happy Birthday!

09.04.2004Friday 9 April – Good Friday & Bungi Gallery

I had a quiet, relaxing day. I managed to install and configure a PHP image gallery program, imaginatively called “Gallery”, for Dale on his new site, I’m impressed with the program actually, it makes it trivial to upload images, have them auto compressed and resized and displayed, and presented in a (potentially) pretty way. I haven’t looked into it in-depth, but I’m not sure how easy it is to customise the way it looks, but other than that, it seems to be good. It even has a client-side java application to facilitate the resizing, rotating and uploading of images with their comments, which is simpler and easier to use than many similar commercial programs I know.

10.04.2004Saturday 10 April – Amanda, Sonder, & Charlie the dog

I caught a train out to Ferny Grove, where Amanda met me and we drove back to Sonder’s, then on to Amanda’s, then Kell’s, then bowling, then the shops, then back to Sonder’s, then Amanda’s. I was embarrassingly last at bowls – being beaten by three women just isn’t on.
  When we got back from bowls, Charlie, Amanda’s dog, didn’t seem very well. He was shaking and didn’t seem happy at all.
  Jim, Jamie, Sonder, and Kell came around to Amanda’s for a very yummy dinner, after which we played “Articulate” until we got too worried about Charlie and phoned a vet. The vet was on another call, so we had to wait over an hour until she got back to us. Jim and Amanda drove Charlie to the vet, who said he probably had a bowel obstruction and we’d just have to wait while they did x-rays and such.
  Amanda stayed at her place, but the rest of us headed back to Sonder’s, where we watched “Big Chill”. Just as the movie was ending, Amanda phoned to say the vet had called back, and they had to transfer Charlie to a larger veterinary clinic for ultrasounds and more advanced treatment. Jim and Amanda headed off to the vet’s, and Jamie drove me back to Amanda’s, where I waited up watching Looney Tunes and some late night movie that was showing until Amanda got back shortly after three o’clock.
I also wore my jumper for the first time this season, tonight.

11.04.2004Sunday 11 April – Easter

The vet phoned to say Charlie had taken a turn for the worse, and they’d had to revive him. Amanda and Sonder rushed off to see him, while Kell phoned me – we were still planning to go around to her parent’s house for an Easter Egg Hunt. Charlie, however, had taken another turn for the worse, and it was decided not to revive him. He was 14 years old, and had had a full life. Jim and Kell came over, and we dug a hole down by the bananas in Amanda’s backyard. Fortunately for us, the soil was sandy, loamy, and easy to dig, and after Amanda and Sonder arrived back with Charlie, he was laid to rest there.
  After the burial, we made our way to Sonder’s, where we had breakfast followed by an Easter Egg Hunt.
Jim dropped me at Roma Street Station, and, after a veggie burger for lunch, I headed train-wise homeward.
I’m back home again, very tired and avoiding bright lights.
The music I was listening to just slowed to a jerking halt, and I remembered I’d left one of the computer’s fans turned off. My secondary monitor is covered in weird tyre tracks in pretty colours and white speckles. I’ve turned the fan on now, and hope it fixes up. The PC is responsive again. The monitor isn’t coming back – I’m going to suspend and let it cool down.
  Gah, the phone rang and unsuspended the computer, and now it’s hung when I went to resuspend it. I guess I should just buy a new, or somehow fix the existing, fan on the secondary graphics card and save myself all these problems. I think I’ll go have a lie-down.
After sleeping a few hours, and then fitfully dozing for a while listening to people downstairs, I finally decided to get up and see what was going on. Joe, his sister Lizz, Amy, Tonya, and (I presume) a friend of Tonya’s are down there watching movies.
It’s cold enough for me to put my jumper on – the second time this season!
Brrr, I’ve got my woolly socks on now too, and a tomato pasta broth sort of thing boiling up on the stove.

12.04.2004Monday 12 April – Scooby Doo

After ages in my room, in front of my computer, I got thoroughly sick of it, decided to head into the city, and get something to eat. I ended up getting a very yummy felafel kebab from a kebab place at Indooroopilly and seeing “Scooby Doo 2 – Monsters Unleashed”, which is just as embarrassingly silly as it sounds, but sort of fun too.
I’m currently attempting “Systems Interface Programming”, a pass/fail course where we are required to submit a coding assignment each two weeks. We are given the specifications of what is required – however they are deliberately sparse, even going so far as to have intentional “mistakes”, or rather, parts left out that make them ambiguous. We, as a course collective, must figure out how to do things in a standard way because our submitted code or its output has to interact with other student’s efforts. There are no lectures. We are literally just told to do this, and then we have to go do it. It’s in a different language each time – so far, I’ve done C, the next one is in VB then C++ after that (I think). A lot of us (me included) don’t know these languages, so we have to learn them, and produce a working application that meets the specifications (including the ad-hoc specs we come up with to make them interoperable) within two weeks – and failing any one means we can’t pass the course.
  Many students complain because there are no lectures – no teaching of any sort, we’re all on our own and thrown in at the deep end, but everyone I’ve talked to “in industry” has said how fabulous this course sounds. It probably forces us to learn a lot more than we’d learn in a “normal” course, and not just how to code, but how to interoperate, how to learn the necessary skills to get a job done – and fast, and how to produce what’s required, within the required timeframe, whether we initially know how to or not. In this respect, “COMP2301 – Systems Interface Programming” is probably the most “realistic” course I’ve done so far.
Comment by Mum – Tuesday 13 April 2004, 5:05 PM
  OOer, sounds spooky. but might be the real world, which can be spooky and with no help of the usual sort available. Just like real life. Can see why it might be included. Hope all goes well.

13.04.2004Tuesday 13 April – Food is procured

I didn’t do much today, although in the evening I did walk down to the shops and buy some much needed food. I also bought a pizza and had that for dinner. I also sort of began my “File I/O in C” assignment, although I didn’t really do that much, but I began the process of seriously thinking about it, which usually leads to discovering things I need to figure out, which I often can’t, but often the solution comes to me after time, or a night’s sleep.

14.04.2004Wednesday 14 April – File I/O in C

I phoned TPG, because they’ve billed me the next three months payment for my dialup internet connection, despite the fact that I cancelled the account. Apparently, I am required to give two weeks notice of account cancellation, and I emailed them on the sixth, which they then didn’t process until the twelfth, but which is still not two weeks before today – the day my dialup would have expired but now won’t until the fourteenth of July. The man on the phone said he’d forward my request on to the refunds department, and they’d get back to me via email – so hopefully I can get a refund or something.
I chatted online to krait, and got some insight into how I should go about some of the trickier aspects of my unpleasant “File I/O in C” assignment, and actually began to make some progress in it. By the end of the night, I had the basic framework coded – although with tons of bugs and other inherent features lurking around.
I went to sleep, having managed to write a lot of code – some of which actually worked. I think I have more code commented out than I do actually running though.

15.04.2004Thursday 15 April – Coding

I woke up.
I worked on my nasty “File I/O in C” “Systems Interface Programming” assignment all evening.
After almost exactly 12 hours awake, I went to sleep.

16.04.2004Friday 16 April – Coding at Uni

Around lunchtime, just after waking up, and shortly after getting an email from Michelle asking me to give a message to Joe because I was online and she couldn’t phone, I decided to head into uni and code there. Happily for me, I made the breakthrough that I needed and got my code working. I also spent quite a while talking to the lecturer about lots of things, not many of which related to this course, and even fewer of those to this assignment.
  As even approached and my lack of lunch became more pronounced, I made the startling decision to go to Govinda’s for dinner on my way home – which I proceeded to do.
  Amy was gone by the time I got home.
Comment by sfsaf – Sunday 18 April 2004, 3:13 PM

17.04.2004Saturday 17 April – Inside where the sun isn’t

I slept in ridiculously late, waking well after lunchtime, having a nice dinner that Joe made, and then spending half the night getting my nasty “Systems Interface Programming” assignment into what I hope is its finished and ready to pass form. I’m a little worried, as it can’t decrypt all the files on the newsgroup, but I can decrypt many more than ten – so hopefully the ones I can’t are faulty and not my program.
Comment by Mum – Sunday 18 April 2004, 9:02 AM
  OOer, sounds spooky. but might be the real world, which can be spooky and with no help of the usual sort available. Just like real life. Can see why it might be included. Hope all goes well.
Comment by Ned – Sunday 18 April 2004, 2:48 PM
  Well, I don’t know, but by “more than ten” and “all the files”, I can decrypt 99% of them – there’s currently only one file that I can’t decrypt but which is apparently decryptable...

18.04.2004Sunday 18 April – Lazy

I slept in terribly late again, which doesn’t make me feel that well when I do finally wake up – although I did wake having a nice dream. I then diddled around fixing up and testing my assignment code – it’s all done I reckon, although I’ll test it further at uni tomorrow. I’m a bit hesitant to change it anyway, as it has become a bit complex and doing stuff has weird and unusual results in different parts of the code that are beyond my level of understanding.
It’s just after midnight, and I’ve packed ready for uni tomorrow. I plan to go in a bit earlier than I need, and print out whatever I’m lacking, so I can actually get a grip on things. I’ve several assignments’ due dates looming, and a mid-semester exam, so I think it’s high time I get serious about actually learning what I need to know to pass these things.
From a post I made to the “Systems Interface Programming” newsgroup, explaining why I used an array of char, rather than something else, for my assignment:
  “I do not know C, yet I have to produce a program within a short period of time so the least I can learn to do this, the more chance I have of successfully completing it. The lower I can get the learning curve, the more likely I’ll be able to climb it within two weeks. So, based on this logic, from our previous assignment, I know that a char equals a byte, that an array of chars is a “string”, and that I can pass arrays of chars around (or at least pointers to them), which is the same as passing arrays of bytes around. I needed a way of holding and passing around a 5 byte “key”, so an array of 5 bytes seemed the logical way to do this, hence the array of chars.
  Everything in my assignment is char (byte) based, I read one char (byte) at a time, XOR it with one char (byte) of my array of chars (bytes) “key”, and write the resulting one char (byte) back to an output file. To make the key I request a five char (bytes) “string” from the user, split this into a series of two char (byte) “strings”, and convert each two char (byte) “string” into one char (byte) and store that in my five char (byte) key. Add a little bit of file selection and so on (which is all just reading in arrays of chars (bytes) from the user and doing stuff with them) and it’s done. Doing it this way meant there was nothing particularly new that I had to learn. The only real learning curve I had was fixing the stupid pointers and memory issues I had and ensuring no string functions were used on something that could contain a string terminator in the middle. I’m sure there’s many better ways to do it, but I managed to do it using only my existing vague knowledge of arrays of chars (bytes) and avoided using any malloc’s, calloc’s, bitwise operators, or other new and nasty things, and thus reduced my learning curve – and will (hopefully) pass.

19.04.2004Monday 19 April – Clint Slides Gracefully

I didn’t need to be at uni until midday, but wanted to print out a few lecture notes and tutorials before I had to attend them, so headed in a bit earlier. I went down the labs, where I met Matt, and figured out what I needed to print. Half an hour seemed as if it should be plenty of time to get the few lecture notes and tutorials I needed printed out, but it was forty minutes later that I arrived at my lecture – ten minutes late.
  Two tutorials and a lecture later, and after a short visit to Kieran’s room to ponder an issue with PCI-X and SATA on his new computer, and I was once again back in the labs. The plan was to begin my “Software Specification” assignment, using dreaded B, which is a stupid set-theory based proofing language. It appears to have a limitless supply of slight variations on the theme of what I previously knew as an “arrow”, all of which mean new and horrible things and look almost the same. First, though, I needed to help Kieran as his “Systems Interface Programming” assignment had gone horribly awry. However, he was not willing to accept my advice – despite the fact that my program appears to run flawlessly and his doesn’t run at all, so I got sick of trying to help him, said so, he muttered something involving Microsoft, his ulcers, and the dire disadvantages this would have for the lecturer, and left. Admittedly, he has the flu and is probably sick to death of this assignment, but his attitude isn’t going to help.
  I then proceeded to waste away the afternoon helping, or at least trying to help, a few other people, until Clint turned up and suggested we go get pizza. After a short discussion with Igor about the latest and greatest video card from NVIDIA and why it’s absolutely and obviously necessary for his future, Clint and I headed towards the pizzeria – although we never got there. I never did get any of my B assignment done either.
  Clint and I ended up catching a bus into the city, where we went round and round in circles for a while trying to get to the eatery under the Myer Centre. A kebab later, and after an amusing slide by Clint on a wet patch in the tiles, I was once again back on the homebound train. We were delayed for a minute or two because there was an “issue” at Moorooka, and “the police were involved”, but other than that, it was a nondescript journey home.

20.04.2004Tuesday 20 April – Tired

I’m so tired, having stayed up late last night. I had to be at uni by nine o’clock, which I was despite the train being fifteen minutes late. I then sat through an hour “Operating Systems” lecture, and two hours of thrilling, edge of your seat, “Software Specification” – the language of arrows, before heading down to the labs where I had to wait two hours until I got my “Systems Interface Programming” assignment passed.
Getting the assignment marked was, as usual, something of a disappointment. After all the hard work I put into it, they didn’t even see or test most of the application. I should learn just to do the bare minimum required instead of doing the perfectionist thing and trying to get it all as good as possible – it’s just a waste of time. I’ve not yet done an assignment at uni that was marked based on its excellence (or lack thereof). Oh well, I guess that’s just how it is.
After getting a kebab from a new place that’s opened down at the Ville, I went and saw “Spanish Apartment” at the Schonell. It’s a brilliant movie and I really enjoyed it – definitely one of the best movies I’ve seen lately.
Comment by krait – Wednesday 21 April 2004, 10:52 AM
  Your assignments work, that's step one. Learning along the way writing them, that's step two. The more "elegant" your solution, the more you learn. Therefore, it's not "just a waste of time".
  Keep up the good work, mate.
Comment by Ned – Wednesday 21 April 2004, 1:58 PM
  Yeah... I guess I shall try.
Comment by hodjpokol – Wednesday 21 April 2004, 6:53 PM
  Just had to ask, Ned; how does it feel being a cult hero in the UQ IT department? Has fame changed you?
Comment by Ned – Thursday 22 April 2004, 11:49 PM
  In subtle ways my friend, in subtle ways.
Comment by clint – Saturday 24 April 2004, 11:58 PM
  I am tempted to rewrite my food review thing that you stole, but I fear that commercial outlets such as that awful kebab shop will sue me. Maybe I need a pseudonym.

21.04.2004Wednesday 21 April – Stress builds

I didn’t do much, trying to read my B-Method text, but didn’t manage to read very much of that either. I had a quick look at my next “Systems Interface Programming” assignment, “User Interface in Visual Basic”. It shouldn’t be too much of a problem – appearing much easier than the previous two, so it’s getting pushed back into my spare time sector while I concentrate on finishing (or even starting at this stage) my “Software Specification” assignment which is due horribly soon, and preparing for my “Relational Database Systems” mid-semester exam. It’s all bad – the stress levels are climbing!

22.04.2004Thursday 22 April – Kill Bill

My alarm went off, and I had to get up in preparation for the train to uni. Eight o’clock starts are a little too early – nine o’clock I can handle. I spent a while down in the labs after my lecture, helping a few people with their “Systems Interface Programming” assignments, before heading to another lecture, and then a lift into Toowong and Centrelink with Marcus to lodge a rent assistance questionnaire and fares allowance claim.
Clint and I caught a train to Toowong, went shopping where I bought a small sewing kit, and some glue, and then went and saw “Kill Bill: Volume 2”. I wasn’t as impressed with this as I was with volume 1, but it was still a good – and quite powerful, movie, and I enjoyed most of it.

23.04.2004Friday 23 April – Assignment Panic

After a normal uni day of lectures, I headed down to the labs to begin my “Software Specification” assignment that I’ve left to the last moment, but did not find the required motivation, so did some work on my “User Interface in Visual Basic” assignment for “System Interface Programming”. It is actually fun as I’m intentionally doing it as hastily and poorly as possible, after becoming disenchanted with the marking methods used (or rather, not used) with the last assignment and the amount of time I “wasted” with it.
  Today is the last day that people can get their “File I/O in C” assignments marked off and there were a few people down the lab frantically panicking and trying to get their stuff finished for marking, so I ended up spending my time helping them. A couple had either gone off on some strange tangent, or had code that was too unfinished or convoluted to fix in time, and failed – which fails them the entire course, but most I was able to help hack together a solution in time. One of the markers stayed half an hour late, or a lot more would have failed. I then pretty much finished off my next assignment – I’m glad it’s so easy.

24.04.2004Saturday 24 April – Software Specification

I lazed in bed, sleeping in until after midday.
I headed into uni, to begin my “Software Specification” assignment, which has been out for weeks, and is due on Tuesday morning – but I am too slack to have started. I met Marcus and Kieran down at the labs, and got hungry. Clint had to buy cordial, and Coles shut in fifteen minutes, so Marcus and we drove down there, where a kebab filled my hunger, allowing Marcus and I to get the basic framework of this assignment done – with help from Kieran. Hopefully tomorrow Marcus and I can work through the proofs and verify our solutions are indeed valid.
Austnet has been suffering some type of major DDoS attack, and I have been unable to connect all day. I can only hope they manage to prosecute, successfully, the morons responsible.
Comment by clint – Sunday 25 April 2004, 12:03 AM
  mein alkohol!
Comment by Ned – Sunday 25 April 2004, 12:15 AM
  Mein herz brennt (nach übermäßigem spiritus)

25.04.2004Sunday 25 April – ANZAC Day

I actually managed to get up shortly after eight o’clock, and be in the city just after ten, when the ANZAC parade started. I watched that, and it was quite moving. I can only imagine how the veterans must feel, walking through a cheering, clapping crowd. There was non-stop clapping and cheering for the full two hours, which impressed me. The atmosphere was quite emotional at times.
  After the parade, I tried to rush to uni to meet Marcus. I’d arranged to meet him there at midday, and would have got there about half past, had they not closed the road where the buses left, and put up notices saying they were leaving from another location – but they weren’t really, so by the time I figured that out, they’d left from the closed road, and so on. By the time I got to uni, it was two o’clock and Marcus had gone home, so I spent some time talking to Kieran, went and saw Clint, and figured out how to declare my own data type and use arrays of them in Visual Basic.
  After my riveting code learning experience, I went and saw “Strange Bedfellows” at Indooroopilly, because just going home seemed boring. It’s isn’t the best movie of the year, but it was pretty funny – and Australian, so I enjoyed it.
  On the way home, all the trains were messed up. The displays had wrong info on them, and all the trains at Roma Street were terminating there, turning around, and going back the way they came, and apparently had been for a few hours. This made everyone confused, which was funny when the majority were also drunk, and had been partying.
The Ode
They shall grow not old
  As we that are left grow old
  Age shall not weary them
  Nor the years condemn
  At the going down of the sun
  And in the morning
  We will remember them

26.04.2004Monday 26 April – ANZAC Day Holiday

I headed into uni, arriving around 2 PM. I was planning to go for a walk cum adventure with Clint, but he had already left by the time I got there, so I procrastinated down in the computer labs for a while, before finding Kieran in his room – at which stage Clint turned up. We all went off and rummaged through a skip full of thrown out old computers and found a few semi-exciting things. Clint and Kieran then went and had dinner, so I walked up to the Schonell and bought a pizza. By the time I’d eaten that, Kieran and Marcus were in the labs, and we went through the proofs the BToolkit wasn’t able to prove, and submitted our assignments. With a bit of luck, mine is actually right and I’ll get good marks. Marcus dropped me at Roma Street Station, and I caught the train home. I met Duran on the way back from the station, and got his address, so I’ll have to pop over and see them soon.

27.04.2004Tuesday 27 April – Chocolate, Visual Basic & Capped Results

I was at uni before nine o’clock, attended both my lectures – where I may have learnt stuff but I can’t remember any of it if I did, and augmented my slide towards destitution by buying lunch at the main refectocide .
After my lectures, I went down to the labs where I found out from the newsgroup that I was required to save my “Systems Interface Programming” clock’s state across different sessions, which initially sounded hard, but ended up being remarkably easy to implement in Visual Basic. After that, and commenting my code, I got the tutor to pass it (he made me tidy up my intentionally “as bad as possible” interface, which I could have argued against as there’s nothing in the specification that says it has to look good, but it only took about 10 seconds to do so I didn’t bother), submitted it, and was all finished – on the day it came out. This is a record for me.
  Clint and I then went for a walk down to Coles at the Ville, where I bought chocolate and apple juice. I was planning to go see my “Operating Systems” lecturer, and complain about my result, but after talking to Clint, and him saying it made sense to him, I didn’t. To me it doesn’t make sense. I received a bonus 5% for early submission, and had 15% subtracted for not maximising parallelism. I was also capped to 70% for using a cascading merge implementation. This resulted in a mark of 60%, which was upgraded to 70% when the cascading implementation cap was upped to 80%. It seems clear to me that my result was set to 70%, then 15% was subtracted and 5% added, to result in 60%. Then, when the cap was changed to 80%, my mark was changed to 80%, and the 10% was again subtracted, resulting in my current 70%. Regardless of whether this is a fair result for my assignment or not, I believe the method of working it out is wrong – that’s not how a cap should work – at least not that I’ve ever seen. My result should be calculated normally – and then capped to 80%. In this case, I would lose 15% for not maximising parallelism, giving me 85%, gain 5% for early submission, giving me 90% – and this would then be capped to 80% because I used a cascaded merge, giving me a result of 80%, not the 70% I have currently. I also find it somewhat contradictory losing marks for not maximising parallelism and using a cascading merge – isn’t that being penalised for the same thing (failing to exploit obvious opportunities for parallelism) twice? Clint, however, seemed to think it was reasonable to subtract marks from a pre-capped result, so perhaps he’s right.
  I was very tired on the train on the way home, and fell asleep several times.

28.04.2004Wednesday 28 April – ☢☣☠❢

I woke up after midday, and procrastinated away the evening, adding search boxes to the drop-down menus on my website and doing some washing.
I have been studying for my “Relational Database Systems” exam on Friday. I’ve read the first three-week’s notes and the third week’s recommended reading (as the first two weeks recommend a text I don’t have). I also looked at the solutions to the tutorial questions and said to myself, “ah, that’s just how I would have done it”. Tomorrow I plan to study the next three weeks.

29.04.2004Thursday 29 April – Rain, Uni & Study

It began to rain last night, and has been raining on and off most of today. I spent a normal day at uni, having to get up early to get there by eight o’clock, and spent the evening studying for my “Relational Database Systems” exam tomorrow.

30.04.2004Friday 30 April – Relational Database Systems Exam

I got out of bed ten minutes before my train was due to leave. I couldn’t afford to miss the train either, as I had to use every spare moment of time to study, so it was run, run, and run. Jumping out of bed, into clothes, and running – all before seven o’clock and within the space of a few minutes is not my favourite way to begin the day. Trying to avoid coronary failure, breathe, and read my textbook on the train isn’t the best way to begin a day either. I had to skip my first lecture, and go down to the computer labs and study for an hour there. I then went to my “Relational Database Systems” tutorial, which was apparently supposed to be exam revision, but wasn’t. I couldn’t see any logic in learning about query optimisation the hour before an exam that would not examine query optimisation, so headed back to the labs and did some more study with Clint and Kieran, before heading up to the exam.
  I can’t believe how stupid I am. You’d think I’d have learnt my lesson by now – but no, it doesn’t look like I ever will. I went well the day before yesterday – studying weeks one through three and even the tutorial solutions, so I left weeks four through six for yesterday. But, of course, I was slack last night, and didn’t start studying until late, and then, unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, someone on the BITS IRC channel mentioned last year’s practice exam, so Clint and I obtained that and attempted to do it. It was fortunate actually, as the exam ended up following the same format exactly, but it meant that I ran out of time to study and only ended up studying up to week four, when we were examined up to the end of week six.
The exam was held during our normal lecture period, and in the same location, which was quite full – unlike during lectures. It consisted of twenty very poorly designed multiple-choice questions. Most of the options were either ambiguous, or (I thought) irrelevant for finding out our understanding of the subject matter – which is surely the entire point of the exam. It didn’t really test understanding of the basic subject matter at all. To answer the majority of the questions one had to rely on a combination of advanced (in the context of this course) knowledge of the subject matter, ability to decipher the meaning of the question and its five possible answers, and a certain quirky sense of illogic to find the “most right” out of what seemed to usually be several semi-correct or mostly incorrect answers. Because I’d not studied enough, I didn’t have the required advanced knowledge – but I’m not sure it would have made any difference anyway, because even when I did understand the question and knew all the answers – I was still left guessing between one of a few ambiguous and usually incorrect options.
  Here’s the first question from the paper: “Question 1. The process of requirement engineering (RE) has the following steps: Domain Analysis, Elicitation, Negotiation and agreement, Specification, Specification analysis: Validation and Verification, Documentation and Evolution.
  A: RE is process that will go through the above 7 steps and create a final software for the testing.
  B: RE is process that will go through the above 7 steps and create a system implementation environment for software developers to implement the system.
  C: RE is process that will go through the above 7 steps and create a system requirement document as a prerequisite of the software engineering.
  D: RE is process that will go through the above 7 steps and create a system requirement document including system design and specification as part of the software engineering process.
  E: All of the above”
  That’s about as clear as they got – perhaps it’s just me, but to me that’s unnecessarily confusing, and that’s one where the answers actually made some sense – a lot of the others, especially those on last year’s practice exam, were worse. Somehow, it seems illogical to answer a “Does this do that?” sort of question with “Yes, if this; No, if that; Never, if that; and Perhaps, but only when this” all at once. Generally, if something doesn’t do something, you can’t answer that it does do something as well. The questions where each option was also a question were a bit confusing too, and the question that misspelt “Extendible” as “Extenbile” four times was a good one. Still, having done very little study, I can’t complain too much.
After the exam, I headed to Kieran’s room, and then found Marcus down in the labs. He and I wandered around for a while, watching bits disorganising their BBQ, where he joined, before driving into the city where I went to Govinda’s for a late lunch.
It’s quite cold – cold enough that I’m wearing woolly socks. Marks have been released for our INFS2200 “Relational Database Systems” mid-semester exam, in which I achieved fourteen out of twenty – something I’m not happy about but can’t complain, as my study definitely wasn’t what it should have been. I’m also waiting to see if I can find out what the marks distribution and average is.
I have site problems. and are resolving to different servers, which they weren’t previously. All sites have XSLT errors (“Fatal error: Call to undefined function: xslt_create()”). This probably means that XSLT is not installed on the server that is on. I wasn’t aware that any of my sites were being moved.
Comment by BITS – Tuesday 4 May 2004, 1:16 PM
  Hey, all INFS2200 people... JOIN BITS OR DIE
Comment by Ned – Thursday 6 May 2004, 1:19 AM
  You forgot the (said all in one breath) “Written and authorised by Clint ♈♉♊♋♌♍♎♏♐♑♒♓ for the University of Queensland Bachelor of Information Technology Society”
  (Name zodiacized upon request to protect the guilty)

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