I have been doing dome work with the above mentioned. It is mostly nice and easy to get working. A lot of the problems I have encountered are down to 2 things - the rather interesting active directory we have in place at uni and an interesting habit of server2003 not always installing the same way on different machines.
I am playing, sorry working, on a quad processor with hyper threading, which is rather a nice toy to have for the summer. I generally remote desktop to it, as it sits in a machine room. Shame that the air con would be an added bonus. On it I have two virtual machines, each of which is running terminal services to provide students with access to software they would have if they were in the labs without having to physically clutter the place up. I may stick a third one on, so they can have access to a pre-configured linux box too. The rest of the box is serving a dotNetNuke site for a Community of Practice, and a Moodle site for a general school community/discussion forum/collaborative note building environment.
One of the virtual servers (2003) was not a happy bunny to start with - it would fall over regularly. Well, actually not regularly or it might have been easier to solve, but often. Both seem stable now though, although it took a while to get them to agree to be in the right domain and stay there. Currently the main box has email (smtp) issues. It can see the mail server, but can't connect to it. Another machine I tested on could see the mail server, and could send email to it via OE, but can't connect to it directly. Yet another can connect to it just fine. This is one of the main reasons I avoid doing network related stuff whenever I can - it is all just too variable unless you have absolute control over all the intermediate boxes!
oh for the love of god this blog system sucks - get the tab order vaguely right will ya?
Anyway - I have only just found this handy blog entry http://weblogs.asp.net/pleloup/archive/2004/01/15/58918.aspx which points to http://download.microsoft.com/download/7/b/6/7b6abd84-7841-4978-96f5-bd58df02efa2/winxpvirtualcdcontrolpanel_21.exe which is a lil driver and control panel to allow you to mount iso format files as CDs under XP. And it seems to work too...
Not only is the new blog site at theSpoke slow, ugly and generally horrible, it also insists that if you speak English you must speak US English. I don't. Well, I could. I could mis-spell stuff and generally bastardize the language. But I don't. And I seriously object to someone making US English the only choice on a list with loads of other languages. Arrogant Americans!
This isn't even a case of laziness. On the blog settings pages you can choose UK English - so my blogs can be in English instead of Yank. But my profile doesn't let me speak English, only Yank. So it is clearly an attempt to annex the people of the UK. Go Yank someon elses will ya?[/edit]
Ah well I better maintain my account because I want to enter IC 2006. *yawn* maybe one of the pages will load properly by the time that starts.
Oh and what is with the admin pages being a nice steely grey while blogs and forums are suicide inviting blackness? Took a while to navigate back out from the nice pages too, which is a cool touch.
The nice chap who gave an unauthorised interview to the BBC about the sexed up dossier (again I say 'current' is definately a more sexed up version than 'imminent') was found dead in the woods, apparently (or more precisely allegedly, as it doesn't seem at all apparent) having committed suicide.
Robin Cook, the guy who resigned from office because of the (probably illegal, but who seems to care now?) invasion of Iraq has died of, apparently natural causes.
Mo Mowlem is critically ill, and is a fierce opponent of the Iraqi invasion (and does it worry anyone else that you don't find any news story about her being ill on the BBCs web site?)
How many of the Blair toadies who supported his little adventure have become suddenly ill or died? I can't think of one. I guess he would probably say that that is divine intervention.
Loads of general silliness over at the fansite type official news place thing.
in which Dr. Marsden is quoted as saying:
"we have eight planets and only an object bigger than Mars could be considered to be a planet in the future".
on the grounds that "...the disruption that would be caused to accepted thought would, ultimately, provide a more accurate understanding of space. "
Great. So, in order to better understand space (which I am fairly sure is the bit in between the planets, and beyond them, of course) we should decide that not only is Pluto not a planet, but neither is Mars (as it is not bigger than Mars)
Glad that's been cleared up then. Presumably under this definition the Sun is also a candidate planet.
While on the topic, it might be worth thinking about the fact that we are, as far as I am aware, in an ongoing state of emergency in the UK. Consequently, due to some very poorly thought out (one might say knee-jerk) legislation brought into effect last year (the Civil Contingencies act) ministers (and anyone they appoint for the purpose) can make laws up as they go along. So are the things Blair has been saying recently already law? As far as I can tell there is no prescribed wording needed for things to be laws under the Civic Contingencies act, so I guess they are. On a side note of course, this presumably means that if Blairs kids don't go to bed when they are told, they are probably committing criminal offences. But there is nothing new there...
OK, so it looks as though Blair is making the law up as he goes along, having passed a law which lets him do so. Wouldn't it have been sensible to change the law he also just got enacted which makes it a crime to incite religious hatred before starting to incite religious hatred? Maybe that would be too far thinking of him. Anyway, as far as I can see, it no longer makes any difference whether the invasion of Iraq was legal in international terms - Blair is breaking his own laws almost as far as he can make them up. And he plans to retire from parliament. At which point he will no longer have a privileged position, and any cop who fails to arrest him and his co-conspirators should probably be arrested themselves for dereliction of duty.
None of that will happen of course, because the British, in their usual way, will go, "A new law huh? does it make sense? let's see... nope. Then we will just ignore it."
Mind you, I guess GCHQ will now monitor my every electronic footfall weighing up whether I am a deep seated apologist for terrorism. After all, I wear sandals, have long hair and a beard, and have been known to contribute to such scary organisations as GreenPeace. The writing is on the wall... I don't much fancy gaol, or at least I don't much fancy the intimate relations with the other inmates. Gaol itself seems like quite a nice idea, if they will let me have an internet connection...
ahem, oh yes, I just wanted to say how 'totally awesome' the Dawn and Drew show is. http://dawnanddrew.podshow.com/
If you are over 18, not easily offended, and have some time to spare catching up on the 123 or so shows already made to date, I highly recommend it. Drew is a web designer, so, hey, he belongs in a tech(y) blog thing. In fact, I have to say I rather like their web site, so Go Drew!
At the moment Dawn is offering a picture of her boobs in exchange for a dollar - they are hoping to get enough money to buy a car. Some strange sounding thing, I don't think we have them here in the UK. The model that is, not cars, obviously. We have lots of them. Way too many actually.
It's funny, most of their conversations sound a lot like many of the conversations I have with female fiends. That was a genuine typing mistake, by the way. Insert an R in the appropriate place, and move on.
Dawn has a brilliant range of emotion-laden voices, and her evil laugh is excellent. I almost wish I lived in Wisconsin so I could pop round and see them (except of course they have pointed out how much they don't like drop-ins - a sentiment I heartily agree with).
Ahhh... actually Dawn reminds me very much of a couple of my early girlfriends. And I am just no starting to realise why my mum perhaps didn't like them... although they didn't cuss as much as Dawn does.
Anyway - Podcasting. A great way of letting the world know who you are and what you are about, if you have interesting stuff to witter on about, the enthusiasm to keep doing the shows, and enough money to pay for the bandwidth for people to download your stuff.
So this one is. Just in case anyone came here to see what I was writing about it is down there, under this one ;-)
Now, as this is about UK life and employment - does anyone know what the ratio of applicants to lecturering posts is? I only ask, cos one day I intend to give up studying in the style of "costing me money" and go for researching in the style of "paying me money" (albeit not a huge amount, if you talk to lecturers about it...) and also allowing me to warp fragile young academic minds... erm, I mean teach. Well lecture. There is still debate at my Uni as to whether lecturers should teach or not. Generally the opinion appears to be 'not' although there are some stirling exceptions, many to be found in the rather lovely Cybernetics Dept (who still haven't got back to me about whether I am being offered a PhD studentship or not, so I am assuming not, and will be making pointed comments at some point next week about the whole 'not-letting-candidates-know' thing).
In October I will be starting my MSc Informatics. That should be interesting, and the dissertation project I have lined up should be both practical and useful (if, of course, it works). However, there is some doubt as to whether I will be able to do it, as it was intially conceived as being for a MSc by research, and my funding is for a taught MSc. Funny things, research funding bodies. Will fund a non-research degree, won't fund a non-research degree. Hey ho.
In the meantime I am back at 'school' to help develop the online community for the School of Systems Engineering. This promises to be intensely interesting, and actually quite challenging when one considers the range of different things the network is to support, and the range of different types of people who will be using it. My job, as currently envisaged, is to do the learning support aspects, while someone else gets to do the networking side. This suits me, as networking, imho, is a yawn. Doing stuff people will know they are using however, is a buzz. Of course, it is also the public side, and as such, when either my bit (ahem, *if*) or the networking bit go wrong, it will always look to the numptie user like it is my bit. So I have the fun of making the presentation layer robust enough that it can laugh in the face of the actual underlying system going pear shaped.
Bad news on the computer front, after my machine decided to trash its hard disk and resolutely refused to let me get anything back off it, it turns out that the CD of my project work is also dodgy, so now I will have to try and cobble together the stuff tht was supposed to be on it from the few bits on my Uni network drive and bits I had previously emailed to people who, hopefully, still have them in their email system...
*sigh* and I thought the course was over...
Still, on the bright side, I am still apparently in the running for the research assistant's post. I really want that job.
So... Office. Installs OK, as one would expect. But won't activate because I have activated it on another machine. Apparently. Reformatting qualifies as having a new machine now huh?
So... install Access (my Office is standard not pro) fully expecting somehow that the same would not apply, because that would be far too consistent. I was right. Access (which had also been installed before the fatality) can activate just fine.
Explain this to me somebody? Microsoft support just helpfully tell me to ring a (chargeable) phone number when they know a) I don't have a phone and b) that their software gives a freephone number. I consider this less than helpful and certainly not supportive.
Worse, when this is pointed out to them, rather than an apologetic note, or even a "Well tough that is all we can suggest" in reply, the silence is deafening.
In the near future I am likely to be back in a position of influencing purchasing decisions. This incident, coupled with my previous experience of paid for support with MS makes it highly unlikely that I will talk my employers into purchasing MS products if they have any preference for osmething else. Shame really, as over the last few years I had become quite an advocate of their stuff...
Stupid, short sighted, and definately back to the old-fashioned who gives a toss about the customer framework they used to use. I knew the new customer focus I had seen over the last two years was too good to be true.
Tomorrow I have an exam on Machine Intelligence. A mixture of AI philosophy, learning systems (especially learning classifier systems, given that is the lecturer's bent), support vector machines, independant component analysis, hidden markov chains (oops, forgot that one - maybe I should find the notes...). Should be quite a good laugh, both the lecturers responsible for it tend to ask interesting questions.
Later in the week I have the oh so tedious linear algebra - how can they possibly make that a final year subject? Probably fail it now of course! All he covered were basic coordinate transformations, affine transformations, perspective and pseudo-inverse least squares. Unless he writes the questions in hebrew I should be ok (well, ok any language other than English may mess me up)
And then Modern Heuristics. How big is this problem? How would you go about tackling it? Coupled with less modern methods such as simplex. Again, this should not be exactly hard, though I really should get round to finding out what the methods other than the simplex methods we covered - somehow they have escaped my memory. I think I know the methods, but can't put names to them, which is always a problem in exams when they ask you to do something a specific way.
Anyway. Much more important, my island is growing well in InselKampf and my character in Adventure Quest continue to grow in stature and statistics. I don't really know why I play AQ though - it is really very samey most of the time, although the most recent build has introduced some cool stuff including the ability to mix teleport potions.
Real life role-playing (though not live action) continues unabated, with last night being a most-excellent Lord of the Rings campaign, as run by Dave. I am a hobbit, and ooooh boy you don't want to mess with me! Well especially if you are a warg or orc, because I have developed slaying wargs and orcs as a bit of a hobby.
The other game is Five Rings, in which I am playing a scout. So hard to do the honour thing when the duty thing says to take the information back to the boss and let him organise the fight. Especially when you have daredevil as a flaw, and so like to bundle in :-) On the other hand, being aspiritual in a world of mythic monsters and arcane lore is an interesting experience...
Not that I did anywhere near as well as I could have done. My heartfelt congratulations go to Isaac (one of the three of us who finished the Intelligent Systems course) who got the best overall BSc prize. Sound man. And also gratz to all those who won the various and assorted other prizes, especially Mark, whose project fairly rocked.
My project was sucky. I know that. My exam performance was far short of my expectations. On the other hand, I did win a prize for best performance in Machine Intelligence, which is fitting for the course, and in terms of degree classification at least nobody can tell I didn't do as well as Isaac (I got a 1st, somehow).
So, now it is time to find out whether I can get that Research Assistant post or funding for one of the postgrad courses...
It was given by Phil Stears (who blogs over at http://www.thespoke.net/MyBlog/PhilipStears/MyBlog.aspx ) and I have to say it was very well done. I don't praise presentations very often, as I normally find them dull and slow, but even though I knew something about the content of this one, Phil managed to make it interesting and paced it well.
On the other hand, I ran into a nasty bug in VS C# express beta2. I was playing with some matrix code from http://www.codeproject.com and whilst the implementation looks fine, and works fine, if I attempted to look at the contents of the matrices whilst debugging, the IDE would generate errors (including having some elements of the array blank, and of course needing to report to MS about how nasty the world was being to it) and subsequently would remember all sorts of errors even when the code had been quite radically changed. Restarting the IDE cleared these, but it made development really really sucky for quite a while. It also started throwing up errors in the automatically generated stuff, which was what really alerted me to it being a problem with the IDE and not my code...
On a much more positive note, I have a job interview for a research Assistant post next week, which is probably being rescheduled so as not to clash with the external examinators (exxxammmminnatte..., you will be exxamminnnatted!!!), School photo, degree results and free beer. I hope I get it, because it will nicely complement one of the MScs I would like to do, is working on a subject I have a rather deep interest in, I could do with the cash, and of course, I am easily the best candidate. Ok, so I don't know that last bit, as I only know one other person who has applied and he is just as good a candidate as me, but I would be extremely good at the job.
May the oldest man win, is all I can say.