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

01.07.2004Thursday 1 July – Town

After a pleasant sleep-in, and a pleasant breakfast, and a pleasant shower, Mum and I drove pleasantly into town, where I had a pleasant milkshake from the Mad Cow. It’s really pleasant and relaxing being back, so far. I am very lethargic, very tired. Anyway, once in town I went and talked to Peter for quite some time, and then headed up to the Shire Hall where Vince, Sarah, Shan, and Kylie were kickboxing. We then had chips from the wharf, and drove pleasantly home again. I really am so lethargic – everything is pleasant and dreamy, it’s almost like being on morphine or something.
I carried the computer out into the van and set up the phone extension. Happily, the green and corroded phone plug inside still works, as I am far too lazy and lethargic to put a new one on. This monitor is a bit blurry too, but I’m too lazy to fix it.

02.07.2004Friday 2 July – Results are released

First semester results were released. I have achieved two credits (5) and a distinction (6). The other subject I attempted, “Systems Interface Programming (COMP2301)” is a non-graded pass/fail subject, in which I achieved a non-graded pass. I achieved my credits in both “Operating Systems (COMP3300)” and “Software Specification (COMP3601)”, and my distinction in “Relational Database Systems (INFS2200)”. While I should be happy with these results, I am not. I feel that I should have gained three distinctions, but the reason I didn’t is almost entirely my own fault so I’ve only myself to blame – and the unfair marking scheme in the “Operating Systems” course. Next semester I plan to study more, go into my exams with good marks, and confidence, and come out with distinctions and a semester GPA not less than six.
Other than my results being released, I had a quiet, noncommittal sort of day, doing a bit of work on my website and generally messing around in a lazy sort of way.

03.07.2004Saturday 3 July – Shan’s

Mum and I walked down to the Rossville markets, which were very quiet, so after a very strong chocolate fudge sort of thing, I left. Shan said he was about to watch a DVD, so I went up there and saw “8 MM”, and then spent a pleasant evening talking with him.

04.07.2004Sunday 4 July – Lion’s Den

Mum and I drove down to the Lion’s Den Hotel, where they were having their inaugural monthly market, followed by a band. Dad was already there, having gone in earlier with Ron. We ended up spending most of the day there, and it was quite enjoyable, in a peaceful sort of way – not too hectic, but very scenic and somehow down-to-earth. Most of the people, and the place itself, typify the sort of relaxed life we live up here, somehow different from anywhere else I’ve seen. The markets themselves weren’t very big, which isn’t surprising considering that it hasn’t really stopped raining all year. The rain has quietened everything down – there are fewer tourists, because, apparently, down south, everyone still thinks we’re flooded in with impassable roads.

05.07.2004Monday 5 July – Relaxing & Rainfall

Dad and I were planning to walk up the mountain this morning, and find out why his water has stopped, but it was sprinkling when I woke up, so I went back to bed and didn’t end up getting around to walking up to his place until after lunchtime.
While looking through an old “Cooktown Local News” the other day, I discovered the May Rainfall figures. Rossville has had 3168 millimetres of rain this year, up to the end of May. To put that into perspective, that’s over 124 inches – or more than 10 feet, of rain. Only Daintree Tea had more, at 3321 millimetres. This contrasts starkly with Coen, with 113 millimetres this year, to the end of May.
I spent the evening chatting to Dad, and had a quiet, uneventful, night.

06.07.2004Tuesday 6 July – Water & Mountain Climbing

Dad and I walked up the mountain behind his place, to find out why the water had stopped. It’s quite a walk, very steep most of the way, with a few nearly vertical sections requiring rock climbing and holding onto roots – hoping they don’t snap. The ground is very soft, torn up by pigs and birds, and liable to slide away from underneath me as I climb. I was quite surprised how far up the mountain the pipe goes. In the end, the problem was that leaves had blocked the intake – simply clearing them off fixed it.
I went for a walk out the Home Rule road, as far as 1K. It’s nice to be walking out in the bush again – I find it very good for thinking.
After playing around building a new site for the Big Shed Imports that I can actually update without having to wander through half an hour of nested tables, I became enthused and decided to redesign my Uni site, which I did. After an hour of trying to learn JavaScript, which wasn’t very productive until I discovered a forgotten element at the top of my page that had the same ID as the one I was trying to play around with, I managed to get a menu expanding script to work, but I’ve got to get up early tomorrow to go to town, so that’s as far as it’s going to go today. I’m quite happy with the result really, it even validated first time. I’ve actually learnt quite a lot and can knock up a standards compliant site, which works in all modern browsers, is semantically marked-up, accessible, and looks like what I want it to, in only a few hours while messing around and chatting online.

07.07.2004Wednesday 7 July – The Sun & Matthew & Matthew

The sun came up, slowly, and before long, was up more than it was before. Not content with this, it continued, and before evening, it was noon, and after noon, it was evening, which was before afternoon, during which the sun went down more and more, until eventually it was no more, and then we were in night and inky blackness. Then the moon came up, slowly, and before long was up more than it was before.
Mum and I drove to town, as Mum was doing a CPR course. I went and saw Matthew and Matthew at the Big Shed.
Comment by cf – Friday 16 July 2004, 12:45 AM

08.07.2004Thursday 8 July – Town, Helicopters & Pizza

I walked up to Shan’s, where I met Samuel, and then Dad, Mum, and the fantastically wonderful me, drove to town. I walked to Matthew’s, where I fixed a radio receiver module for a helicopter by soldering the antenna wire back on, thus proving beyond any reasonable doubt that I am still wonderfully capable – and a genius to boot, and then we drove home again, stopping at the Lion’s Den for yummy pizza.

09.07.2004Friday 9 July – Climbing, Water & Pumps

Dad and I once again walked up the mountain behind Dad’s, this time patching a few leaks in the pipe on the way up, and installing a new filter to the intake, as the previous one seems to block within a few days.
After just arrived back from fixing the pipe, Monty arrived to ask for help. He’d, before even having a coffee, taken his pump down to the creek to pump up, and it didn’t start. Dad and I went and had a look at it, for three and a half hours, pulling various exciting parts off it, and eventually getting it to run, but not for more than a few minutes. I particularly dislike small pump motors, as the only time I ever seem to have anything to do with them, is when they’re broken, and out in the bush somewhere, and it’s usually pouring rain, after midnight, and I have to slide down cliffs into lakes of mud to get there. At least today, it was clean, light, and dry.
After a walk out the Home Rule Road, where I bumped into a pile of guys, Rhiannon, Jolene, and a car stuck on the side of the road with a lot of oil coming out the bottom, Mum and I watched “Kandahar”, a particularly disappointing movie about nothing much. The short movie/documentary included as a bonus was much better than the main feature itself. I then stayed up late, messing around with my website.

10.07.2004Saturday 10 July – Sleeping

I slept in, woke up, didn’t do anything for a while, then went and didn’t do anything else for a while, then went back to bed and lazed around daydreaming, before going for a walk out the Home Rule Road. I then added ads to my uni site, not that anyone ever goes there, but now that it’s all redesigned and all, I felt it needed ads for that extra professional look, and it’s fun “monetizing” my site.
Mum and I watched “Analyze That”, which I’ve seen before, but it’s quite funny in spots, although a bit too stupid in others.

11.07.2004Sunday 11 July – XSLT, Recursion & Hay Fever

It’s been raining, or sprinkling, most of the day. I slept in extraordinarily, which is probably not surprising considering I stayed up late last night. Now I have bad hay fever, and because of the rain, I can’t walk around outside – the only temporary relief, apart from sleeping and eating, that I am aware of, even if it doesn’t work that well.
I stayed up all night redesigning my journal. I wanted to add automatic acronym replacement, but using XSLT results in an amazingly convoluted and inefficient method, so I’ve changed my journal so that it statically caches each day – meaning they only have to be generated once. I tried for a while to figure out how to replace acronyms myself, and ended up having to ask for help on the XSLT mailing list – it’s quite recursively complex, although I had it nearly right, sort of.
  I store the list of acronyms to be replaced as a fragment tree, and then I check against the first acronym. If the input text doesn’t contain this acronym, I recursively call the template again, passing it the input text and the rest of the acronyms – that is, all the acronyms but not the first one. If the input text does contains the first acronym in that list, I break the text into two parts – the text before the first occurrence of the acronym, which by definition doesn’t contain that acronym, and the text after the first occurrence of the acronym, which could contain that acronym again. I then recursively call the template again with the text before the first occurrence of the acronym, passing it the remainder of the acronyms, that is, all but the first acronym. Then I generate the acronym itself, and recursively call the template again, passing it the text after the first occurrence of the acronym, and all the acronyms – as this part could still contain any acronym. Once I got my mind around the terribly recursive things this does, it actually made sense.
  As if this wasn’t already horribly inefficient enough, I then call the entire acronym replace template itself recursively, from within my replace new lines with HTML breaks template, which also calls itself recursively – it’s a bit like a nightmare, except in XML. However, it does work, although I’ve not yet thought of any good way to test that an acronym isn’t within another acronym. Currently I’m just ensuring that the acronym is the correct case, and has a trailing space, period, comma or bracket. This appears to work for all cases except that where the acronym is the last term in a sentence and isn’t followed by a period – which I guess, should never happen.
  It was actually surprisingly easy to convert my journal into a statically caching system. Now, if someone attempts to view a day that hasn’t been statically cached, it will create it and cache it, and if it has already been statically cached, it will simply show the cached version – meaning that the acronym replacer should only have to run once per day. This has broken my private entry authentication system, as that was dynamically handled in XSLT, and I haven’t yet bothered fixing it – but that shouldn’t be too hard. Staying up all night probably wasn’t the best idea, but the more engrossed I got, the more my hay fever went away – either that or it was just going away anyway.

12.07.2004Monday 12 July – Blank

Mum was away all day. My recall has died. That’s all folks.

13.07.2004Tuesday 13 July – Let there be Light

I walked up to Shan’s to fix his spotlights. His lights are silly ones that switch both the negative and positive at various points.
Mum and I watched “The Shipping News”. Mum and I then had an argument about it. Consequently, I have no official opinion on this movie.

14.07.2004Wednesday 14 July – Relaxing

I had a quiet, uneventful day, going for a walk in the evening. Wayne and Renee dropped by with their new car; they want me to have a look at their stereo some time. Mum and I watched “We Were Soldiers”, which I’ve seen before, but it’s a good, very intense, movie.

15.07.2004Thursday 15 July – Town

I woke up at a horribly early hour, to sign on for my evil COMP2801, which is apparently a bad sort of group-orientated thing. I’ve gone from having an all but perfect timetable, to a pretty average timetable, to a rather bad timetable with two eight o’clock starts and a five o’clock finish on Friday – due to tutoring. Hopefully it’s worth it, and everything works out ok. I’ve chosen COMP2502, “Algorithms and Data Structures”, which is compulsory and sounds particularly math intensive and bad, COMP2801, “Software Engineering Studio”, which is also compulsory, and COMS3200, “Computer Networks I”, which isn’t compulsory, but which I probably should do so I can learn something for a change. I still needed a fourth course, and after looking through about a hundred courses, the best I could come up with was COMP3502, “Information Security”, which I’m not particularly happy with. I’ve been told it’s a bit math intensive, which I’m trying to avoid, but I couldn’t find anything better, so I’ll have to see how it goes. I was nearly going to do an English Literature course, until I was warned that it would most likely be very time consuming.
Mum and I drove to town. Sarah was selling raffle tickets outside the supermarket. I got a thick shake and felt sick afterwards, as usual. I bought some chocolate. We drove home.
Sarah phoned, wanting tickets booked, so I booked tickets for her and Vince down to a fight in Brisbane next month.
Comment by DM – Friday 23 July 2004, 1:33 PM
  You know, tutoring may extend your days a little, but as far as it goes, it's a pretty good state of affairs to be in :p
Comment by Ned – Friday 23 July 2004, 1:59 PM
  “Fatal error: Call to undefined function: deleate_day()”
  I wondered why the comments weren’t showing up ;-)
Comment by Ned – Friday 23 July 2004, 2:01 PM
  I’m hoping tutoring is good for me.

16.07.2004Friday 16 July – Arcing, Stereos & Mud Wasps

A few times now, today, this monitor has done scary stuff. It’s as if something inside is arcing, which is exactly what’s happening I suspect. There’s a loud arcing noise, the screen goes particularly bright, and large, then back to normal, so I’m guessing the high voltage is either arcing, or probably more likely, it’s overdriving and arcing inside the tube and the limiter is cutting in. I have a feeling it doesn’t bode well for the monitor – but I’m really hoping it doesn’t die right now, as I’ve no way of getting a replacement in a hurry, especially while Shan isn’t here.
In other exciting news, Renee brought over their stereo, which, after the removal of several hundred screws, and then the removal, some time later, of the last screw that I didn’t notice, I took apart. Symptoms included not working, so, after checking obvious things like fuses and diodes in the amp, I removed the headphone jack sub-board from the stereo, then the headphone jack from the headphone jack sub-board, then the back part of the headphone jack from the headphone jack, and then the mud wasp nest from the headphone jack, and then put it all back together, and told her it was fixed – which indeed it was.
I went for a walk along the Home Rule Road and practiced running into the bush and hiding from cars, managing to nearly fall down a cliff and getting wait-a-while spikes in my feet in the process – but at least I wasn’t seen.

17.07.2004Saturday 17 July – Fundraiser

It rained all morning, only beginning to clear a little towards evening.
Mum and I drove into town to attend a fundraiser for a local family whose father has recently died of a heart attack, after phoning Sarah and finding that it was sunny there. The fundraiser went until just after midnight, with seven local bands and all the normal things they have at stuff like this. Mum and I got home quite late, but it was a good fun night.

18.07.2004Sunday 18 July – The Sunday Session

I was woken by Sarah phoning from the Den. Vince, Dad and she are there, so Mum and I are going to head down as well.
Vince told me an interesting story about this time a shark nearly ate him, just a few weeks ago I think. He had one of his daughters and a young bloke from kickboxing swimming with him, and was diving himself into a ball of fish – I forget what type, when he turned around and saw a very large tiger shark coming towards him at extreme speed. He decided, in a split second like you do in situations like that, that he was going to be killed without any doubt, but wanted to save his daughter, so he swam upwards as fast as he could, pushing off the sharks nose as he left the water. The people in the boat said he flew out of the water, flippers and all. The shark never looked back, and had disappeared by the time he landed back in the water. He felt confident after this, and kept diving all evening. The next day, when he went to go diving again, he couldn’t – and he’s never been able to keep diving when he sees that sort of fish since.
I spent the evening, and most of the night, at the Lion’s Den Hotel. “Roadtrippers” were playing, although they apparently hadn’t left town until nearly six o’clock this morning, and so were a little late getting started. The atmosphere at the Den was pleasant and relaxing, and I had quite a good time. I had pizza for lunch – they make very good pizza too. Vince and Sarah left around six o’clock, although their dogs had run away. They turned up later and Mum phoned Vince, who came back out to pick them up, and ended up staying a while longer. It was quite busy for most of the day, with a small local market when we first got there, and a lot of tourists and locals later as the band were playing. By the end of the night, only the four owners, the two English barmaids, the band, a local or two, and us, were left – and the band started jamming around and having fun. It was quite a good night, somehow very Aussie and homely.

19.07.2004Monday 19 July – Peter Puppy passes on

Mum and I drove up to Jean’s place. Mum is driving her to town, and I am getting a lift with them. After dropping Jean at the doctor’s and getting a milkshake, I went and lay on the grass in the warm sun at the wharf for a while until some ants came and annoyed me. I then walked down to Ricci’s place, and lay in the sun there for a while, before walking back to the supermarket, where I met Vince and Sarah. Vince had just been told by Kevin that Peter Puppy-dog had passed away last night. I went to the bakery to get a salad roll for lunch and met Larnii, who had also heard about Peter. Word spreads fast.
I saw Matthew at the Big Shed, went to Sarah’s, talked to Peter for a while, and went and installed Ad-Aware for Diana. After walking to the wharf and getting chips, I then went to Matthew’s, where we played games, watched TV, and flew his smaller electronic helicopter, which now works. I then walked to the shire hall, and Mum, Jean and I drove back home again, getting home tomorrow.

20.07.2004Tuesday 20 July – Quiet

I phoned the travel place in town, where I found there’s no three-day advance fares available, and I need to have an exact return date to get a local fare, so had to book a full fare to Cairns. I then went for a nice walk out the Home Rule road, came home, and fixed up the authentication system on my journal, which was a bit complicated for a while. I think it’s all working statically now.

21.07.2004Wednesday 21 July – Congestion, Student Fees & Caching

I was woken by Renee phoning, and then had a pleasant morning dozing, followed by a pleasant evening walking and thinking. I also got around to paying my “Student Fees”, by which I am undemocratically forced to support a scummy union full of rabid left-wing extremists with less brains than the average household cockroach, who in turn support causes that I do not wish to support. Exactly how something like this is justified in a supposedly democratic country, I am not sure.
Shan and Kylie-Anne are home, and dropped by to pick up their mail and have a chat.
  I decided it would be a good idea to make the pages of my amused site cacheable. There’s a surprising amount of information around on how to prevent pages being cached by proxy servers, caching servers, and client’s browsers, but not nearly as much on how to ensure the pages are cached. I eventually managed to find a few different bits of information, and now have it so that my amused site is sending “Last-Modified” and “Etag” headers, and returning a “HTTP/1.1 304 Not Modified” header if the cached copy of a page is still valid. I was just about to test the “Etag” code when the connection dropped, so I’m not sure whether it works, but it’s essentially identical to the “Last-Modified” code, which does work, so it should. This should cut down data transfer from my site a little, and potentially make return visits to pages faster. I guess I should add as many “Please Cache this for a hugely long time” sort of headers and tags as I can find, so as many caches as possible actually do, thus cutting down transfers from the web server even more, but that’ll have to wait until I’ve a working internet connection again.
Apparently Jade has just discovered that her flatmate is lesbian, after living with her for over a year. This strikes me as amusing, somehow.
The modem thought there was an incoming phone call, which I ignored. It then began messing around trying to renegotiate a connection, and eventually dropped the connection. I tried to reconnect but got an engaged signal. I tried again, several times, eventually getting a recorded message, “Service to the telecommunications network you are calling is temporarily congested, we apologise for any inconvenience. Please try again later. This is a free call. D R S E”. I tried a few more times, and then just kept getting an “Error 777: The connection attempt failed because the modem (or other connecting device) on the remote computer is out of order”. The interesting thing is that the modem gives this error without even attempting to dial, leading me to suspect that it’s some type of timeout after a specified number of failed attempts to connect. Either that or it’s broken, but it will dial any other number without problems.
The modem will dial the ISP’s number again now, so I guess that error was just some precautionary timeout to comply with Australia’s telephone laws. Unfortunately though, the telephone network seems to have died. All 0198 numbers seem to give the same congested message, and 1800 numbers aren’t even attempting to dial. Local numbers appear to work, and I can’t afford (or be bothered) to try any others.
Service to the telecommunications network that I want to connect to is still congested, so I’m guessing there’s been a reasonably major, although perhaps localised, fault with the telephone network, and which isn’t likely to be fixed very soon – or perhaps it’s those aliens again. Either way, I’m off to bed.

22.07.2004Thursday 22 July – Town, Telstra & Dialup

Now, when trying to connect to my ISP, I simply get no response at all – so I phoned Telstra, who did their normal things, checked the line, phoned the ISP from wherever their office is, and said they could find no problems. I tried phoning a Brisbane 1800 number, and Joe, both of which now work – so I guess that’s slightly better than last night when even 1800 numbers didn’t work. The lady from Telstra phoned back, and very politely attempted to convince me that the problem is probably just with my ISP’s number, and that it’s probably due to local congestion and thus unfixable, despite the fact that it’s never happened before, and occurred at four past midnight last night, and affects numbers other than my ISP’s number. I had to insist there was a problem before they’d actually report it. Rumour has it that a tech from Telstra will phone me back after having a more detailed look. I’ll probably be in town.
I figured I might as well phone Dodo and complain to them too, so Mr “Dodo Messaging Service” got to take my username and contact number, and assured me that someone will, eventually, phone me back – probably when I’m in town and can’t be contacted. I’m glad I paid my student fees yesterday, as it might be a bit difficult had I had to pay them today.
I tried dialling up again, and it worked. I suppose it’s been fixed.
Dad noticed a pinprick leak in one of the smaller radiator hoses, and while he and I were replacing it, we inadvertently snapped part of the small thermal block that it joined to, which was badly corroded. We then drove to town, where I paid for my airfare to Cairns. We also dropped by the “Golden Spanner”, bought a bit of hose to bypass the broken thermal block, and ordered a replacement. We stopped in at the Den on the way home, to drop off three boxes of frozen pies from the bakery, and a quick drink.
Shan and Kylie-Ane drove up, and, after driving out to Home Rule and collecting Ella, we drove to town, where they got some DVD’s, and we all got a pizza and some chips, before heading home via the service station and a drink and ice cream. We ended up staying out at Home Rule for a while after dropping Ella there. Her and Kylie had managed to go entirely stupid on the way home, and proceeded to excel themselves at this, which makes even the silliest joke quite funny. I wouldn’t normally laugh at something as stupid as the stupid “Badger, Badger, Badger... Snake!” thing, but it’s hilarious when there’s other people rolling around on the floor laughing uncontrollably. We progressed to my amused site, and had a look at a few of the funnier things there, with everyone finding the “Telstra Customer Experience” quite entertaining. Watching Kylie and Ella get shocked by the surprises at the end of the “Illusions” and “Vision Test” things was good too, and it was quite a good night.
I’ve added a header parsing and sending section to my amused, the-i, and uni sites. This should allow caches to cache them more often, thus reducing bandwidth, increasing site performance (from a client perspective) and theoretically saving me money. There’s a lot of info available on the ‘net explaining how to prevent browsers and servers from caching a site – but precious little on how to ensure they do cache it.
  There’s no guarantee that the way I’ve done it is entirely correct – but I went through the entire HTTP/1.1 RFC while figuring it out – and can already notice the speed increase as my browser locally caches pages I’ve visited, so I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.
  I see this as the logical conclusion for those people who, like me, have gone to trouble to turn their “dynamic” URI’s into “static” ones. Whether it makes any difference to search engines or not, I don’t know, but it would make sense if they cached pages that are less dynamic in preference to those that are more likely to change. Obviously, if your pages actually do change frequently, you wouldn’t want to use this technique – or would at least want to modify the “expires” header to something a bit closer than a year from the current date, which is what I’m currently using and also the maximum recommended.

23.07.2004Friday 23 July – Packing, Pirates & Rain

Due to the late night last night, I slept in. It was raining when I woke, and rained for most of the day.
Dad came around and we watched “Pirates of the Caribbean”. I then drove him to the Den for the pool comp, as he thought there might be a memorial sort of pool comp for Peter Puppy-Dog. The road is surprisingly muddy and slippery. It hasn’t rained enough for the slick surface to wash away, and there hasn’t been enough traffic to chew up the firmer ground underneath.
I’ve put all my stuff onto the couch beside me here, but am not finding the motivation to pack it. I don’t really want to go back to uni yet. I wish I could travel up here more often – coming up for the mid-semester break would be good. I might even look into it, although it’s probably too expensive to bother and there’s generally uni work I should be doing.
It’s still pretty wet, but not actually raining. I’m going to try burning my email and web folder and stuff to CD to backup. I should burn “Extreme” for Matthew. Hmm, I had better get the number for my Cairns to Brisbane flight too.
I’m off to bed.

24.07.2004Saturday 24 July – Flight to Brisbane

Mum wakes me.
I have moved the PC inside, and packed away the last of my stuff ready for taking back to Brisbane, and am now setting up the PC again and drinking an “ecco”. We are planning to leave around a quarter to seven. It is still raining and wet.
Dad, Mum and I drive to the airport. The road is quite slick in spots, and it rained quite heavily in a few spots too. Sarah is waiting at the airport with their two dogs.
There are only three people, and the pilot, on this flight. The flight is uneventful, although it feels as though there are pins behind my eyes when we’re landing – blocked sinuses are not good for flying.
I arrive at Cairns General Aviation, where I catch a taxi around to Cairns Domestic Airport – having forgot to pick up my ticket, lie down, watch the tourists coming and going, and have a bit of a rest for an hour, before checking in my luggage, buying a veggie burger from Hungry Jack’s, and spending another hour in the departures lounge.
My Virgin Blue Boeing 737-700 series takes off, without crashing, and I settle back and go to sleep. It’s six seats across, three on either side of the aisle, and I’m in a window seat, 8F, with no one sitting beside me – one of the advantages of checking in early I think.
I arrive in Brisbane, ten minutes late, wait for my luggage – which is the third piece out, another advantage to checking in early perhaps, and catch the air train to Central Station where I buy one of the new weekly tickets and catch the train out here. A short walk later, and I’m at Joe’s place. Dave and Tonya are here, Joe is showering and about to go out, and I’m tired, so after unpacking a few things, having a shower and setting up my computer, I connect to the internet and do nothing much for the rest of the day.
Joe orders “Chinese”, so I eat half a punnet of “Chinese noodles”, not long after eating a cold can of baked beans, from the can. Feeling suitably healthy, I chat for a bit, and then head to bed.

25.07.2004Sunday 25 July – Shopping, Washing & Lazing

I slept in, did some washing, went grocery shopping with Joe, and I am now relaxing in front of my computer.

26.07.2004Monday 26 July – Second Semester Starts

I wake up, for the first day of semester two. It’s nowhere near as cold as I was expecting. After everyone saying how freezing it would be when I got back, I think it’s actually warmer here than it was up north. My silly hay fever cum cold that I always seem to get when I return from up north is abating too.
I manage to leave on time, even managing to find the time to check my emails first.
The train departs the station, also on time. Everything seems to be going a bit too smoothly.
The train arrives on time. I walk to the ferry, which leaves just after I get there. I walk to GPS, where I meet Marcus just about to leave. I print out my timetable. Everything seems to be going too well.
Kieran, Marcus and I attend our inaugural two-hour COMP2801 lecture – which was not a good lecture. In fact, it was almost ludicrously bad. Two hours of complete waffle about basic common sense principles and team related nonsense – the lecturer, or course coordinator, as I think we have a different lecturer for at least part of the course, seems to be horribly similar to all the jokes I’ve heard about “management”. Still, we in the back row managed to have a good time (if that’s the right phrase) making fun of most of what he was saying.
I went and saw Soon-Kyeong Kim, lecturer for COMP1501 – after she’d finished an hour-long phone call to her Mum. It seems I’m tutoring three hours a week, Tuesday ten to eleven, Thursday eleven to twelve and Friday two to three. I’ve also been allocated an additional two hours a week for “admin” related tasks, and I think perhaps a few more for marking assignments here and there, for a total of seventy-five hours this semester.
COMP3502 started oddly. The “lecturer” introduced himself, and ran through the basic course administration. After ten minutes or so, another man walked in, apologised for getting himself lost on the way here, and introduced himself as the lecturer, same name and all. Everyone was very confused for a minute until the lecturer, the genuine one this time, explained we’d all just fallen for the simplest antitrust trick in the world, impersonation. He then went on to talk about the difference between trust and trustworthy, show us a few short movies, and make a few jokes – managing to make quite a good impression, although I’m far from convinced that the course itself will be any good.
After the lectures, I went and saw the lecturer for COMP2801 to find out if he’d let me attend only an hour of a two-hour prac, which he quite rudely, but perhaps justifiably, didn’t. I then went and saw Clint, Sméagol, Clus and Kipps, all of who seem to be just as mad as last semester, and then, very tired, caught a bus and the train home – via Cold Rock in the city.

27.07.2004Tuesday 27 July – I, Robot

I woke up when my alarm went off, at six o’clock, and again eight minutes later. Eight o’clock starts aren’t my favourite things. Nevertheless, I managed to get to uni on time, and it wasn’t even that cold. I found the right room for my COMP2801 practical, and formed a group with the three people sitting nearest me – all of whom I happened to know, vaguely. I had been a little worried that I’d end up being automatically assigned a group of dumb people – less intellectually endowed people, I should say, or people who wouldn’t do any work, couldn’t speak English, were intolerable, had multiple open wounds, etc. I just wasn’t quite sure what people would go to an 8 AM practical, because, by my logic, no sane person would intentionally sign up for something that early. Fortunately, though, I think the group I’ve managed to get are reasonably intelligent, willing and able to try, well versed in basic English and other associated communication skills, including, but not limited to, the ability to write and talk in an understandable manner, and so on, and so forth. In other words, I’m hopeful that I’m in a good group.
  We then proceeded to “bond”, by attempting to survive a plane crash in snowy, sub-zero northern Canada, in a wooded area crisscrossed with creeks and roughly 20 miles from the nearest town. Luckily, we had some vital survival equipment, such as a lighter with no fluid, a ball of steel wool, and two dead pilots. We had to individually rank these (and several other) items in order of importance to our survival, and then do the same again but as a group. We then compared our results to that of an “expert”, who, I suspect, would accidentally kill himself (and several innocent bystanders) while trying to survive a trip to the local supermarket. Nevertheless, we bonded, and, apart from one member who took the whisky and headed towards town and certain death, and another member who didn’t place enough importance on the lighter and froze to death, and myself and another member who left the steel wool behind and not only froze to death but were also unable to signal for help due to the unreflective properties of Crisco shortening, we all survived.
Kieran, Marcus and I went to our inaugural COMS3200 lecture, and I wasn’t impressed by it. Admittedly, it’s only the first one, and I can’t actually remember anything that was said as I was designing and drawing detailed plans for a butter-curling machine at the time, but what I do remember wasn’t promising. The lecturer, who is a woman, is, as usual, foreign, and didn’t appear to be at all engaging. I found the lecture boring, and I’d probably have learnt more from reading the notes at home. I’ve heard COMS3200 is difficult, so didn’t really want the added burden of a boring, difficult to understand, and unengaging lecturer. Apparently, we’ve another lecturer who will teach half the course, who is new to UQ, having just come from Zurich – so maybe he will be better. Or perhaps this lecturer will warm up to the topic – as two hours of her today wasn’t pleasing.
I went and saw Kieran. Kieran and I went to POD and printed $28.80 worth of pages at 6¢ a page. Kieran and I went to the union bookshop and didn’t find any textbooks. Kieran and I went to Clint’s and found one Clint, slightly worn. I went to the labs and didn’t do what I planned to go to the labs and do. Raymond came to the labs. Raymond and I went to Clint’s room. Clint, Raymond and I met Sméagol. Sméagol offered to drive us to the bus stop. Sméagol drove us all the way to Indooroopilly. I ate a felafel kebab. Clint ate something that may perhaps have been a chicken, once upon a time. Raymond had already eaten college food, and isn’t feeling sick, yet.
Clint, Raymond, and, most importantly of all, me, bought tickets and “super-mega frozen coke with both flavours please”, and went and saw “I, Robot”. We met Kieran, who was already there, having decided to, after having decided not to, come – so to speak. The movie was movie-like, and had loud sounds, but unfortunately decidedly Hollywood. Even so, I had fun – and then, as Clint would say, “Train station”.
Comment by maddox – Thursday 29 July 2004, 11:07 AM
Comment by Ned – Saturday 31 July 2004, 3:36 AM
  Amusing, and accurate – in a way...

28.07.2004Wednesday 28 July – In which I am lazy

Comment by Mum – Friday 30 July 2004, 10:26 PM
Comment by Ned – Saturday 31 July 2004, 3:35 AM
  Good idea.
Comment by io – Saturday 31 July 2004, 1:59 PM
  Your mum.
Comment by Ned – Saturday 31 July 2004, 2:35 PM
  That’s right.
Comment by crappo – Sunday 1 August 2004, 10:15 PM
  XD...XD hehe lol

29.07.2004Thursday 29 July – The Chronicles of Riddick

Another eight o’clock start, necessitating a six o’clock wake up – not good. We managed not to miss the train, although we nearly froze on the way there, and made it to our lecture on time. Kevin Gates, from “Internet Interface Design” fame, is our lecturer for COMP2502. This is probably not a good thing. He spent the entire hour explaining the course profile, asking rhetorical questions and waiting for someone to answer them. Usually, no one does, so he has to answer them himself. Still, it’s only the first COMP2502 lecture we’ve been to, so we’ll have to reserve our judgement.
We had to print out our airfare confirmations, from our email, so headed down to the labs to do this. Once in the labs, we found that they weren’t running optimally, which gave rise to our first newsgroup complaint of the semester:
  “Welcome to my first complaint for the semester.
  While I wait in the labs for my 170K PDF file to re-download and wish I had a connection as fast and reliable as the Dodo dialup I used during the holidays, I thought I’d whinge about the lack of PDF opening software. Adobe Acrobat Reader isn’t installed on these machines (GPS-110), making it difficult to view PDF files. This seems somewhat foolish, given that the majority of ITEE course material is given in PDF format. Of course, if it’s a bandwidth saving measure and we’re no longer expected to download and view PDF files from the labs, I’ll understand – the network was obviously not designed to cope with such bandwidth intensive tasks. If not, it might be a good idea to install it in the default image, as downloading the 8 to 23 MB file every time I want to view a 200K PDF seems a tad silly.”
  This engendered a reply:
  “Somehow I imagine that could have been posted with marginally less acid.”
  This, in turn, prompted me to reply:
  Did I mention it then took me nearly half an hour to locate and view two emails, due to it taking up to five minutes to view each email page? Performance like this doesn’t lead to a happy me, and is inexcusable from a university that used to proclaim it was “World Class”, although I see they’ve removed this now – perhaps scared they’d be done for false advertising?”
  This led to another reply:
  “Funny they have removed “World Class”. Maybe they have started to listen to costumers like Ned Martin!
  Ned, maybe you should start adding disclaimers to your postings? Last semester someone apparently read one too many of them.”
  That about sums up my thrilling newsgroup experience for the day. I hope “costumers” is an unintentional typo.
Clint and we went to Toowong, by omnibus. He had to hand in a rent form or something, and we had to claim fares allowance. We then ate a donut and milkshake for lunch as part of our new healthy diet, before heading back to uni where we waited around in the labs killing time and talking to “Dogmatix Man”. Yes, it does look a little odd when written out like that. Clint and “Dogmatix Man” then headed off to a BITS meeting, and we caught another omnibus into the city and went to Office Works, where we bought a file carrier thing, and then went to Govindas for dinner before heading back to uni again. We got a bit bored then, and Maz did too, so we went and saw “The Chronicles of Riddick” at Indooroopilly. We got there a bit late and the theatre was mostly full, so we ended up down the front. The movie was average – nothing particularly special, but fun to watch anyway.

30.07.2004Friday 30 July – King Arthur

Two hours of Algorithms and Data Structures isn’t good. It got into math, which made no sense at all. I’m hoping that’s because parts were left out and not just because I don’t understand. This was followed by a Computer Networks lecture, so it wasn’t the best of mornings.
I met Matt at Central Station, and we caught a train out to Indooroopilly and watched “King Arthur”, which Matt particularly likes. I enjoyed the movie, but didn’t find it spectacular – it aimed for, but fell short of, achieving epic status, but was a fun and engrossing watch. The plot, with a Roman King Arthur fighting crazy savage Celts led by Merlin, sucked – why couldn’t they use a more traditional King Arthur plot?
On the walk back from the train, my lung began to hurt. It’s hurt many times before, and each time I worry that my lung may have collapsed again. It’s because, in the past when it has collapsed, it’s been similar. I’ve always known though, when it has actually collapsed, that it’s really collapsed – but I can never be sure that it hasn’t again, so it stresses me out. It seemed a little worse than usual tonight, and I’m sick of it. I’m going to make an appointment with the doctor on Monday, probably for later in the week, and see what they reckon. Perhaps they can send me for more tests, or explain that it is normal to hurt like this, or send me off to a psychologist for fixing or something. I don’t really know – but I’m sick of being scared to do anything.
Comment by Matt – Monday 2 August 2004, 8:37 AM
  Arthur didn't fight Merlin and his people, in the end it was the Romans and whatever the name of the race that Merlin belonged to's people that joined forces to fight the Saxons.
Comment by Martin – Monday 2 August 2004, 2:07 PM
  That COMP2502 lecture was awful. He waffled on at the start then didn't explain anything when it actually got to the technical bits and the slides were all out of order. Read the textbook, it helps explain it a bit.
Comment by Ned – Tuesday 3 August 2004, 8:33 PM
  I’ve just bought the textbook, so perhaps I can make sense of it all now.

31.07.2004Saturday 31 July – Sleeping & Hotlink Protection

I slept. I then woke up. After that, I slept again, before waking again. I then analysed the logs from my amused site to try to figure out why I’d had one and a half gigabytes of a one hundred and eighty kilobyte MP3 downloaded in the past few days, and discovered that quite a lot of my content was being directly linked from other places. This inspired me to build a complex session based anti-hotlink script, which seems to work, although no one not allowing cookies will be served any images – including search bots. It’s simple in theory – if the user doesn’t have a valid session set by my site, it won’t serve them any directly requested files. If they try to access a file and don’t have a valid session set, it’ll return a “forbidden” header and log them. I’ll see how it goes. It’s already blocked a ton of people, and now that it’s logging, I can see who is trying to link to stuff.

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