Posts tagged: University

Saturday 2nd April 2005

Yet again, I find myself at the beginning of a brand new, a fresh slate, another month. April brings with it the sweet taste of summer, just around the corner. As the evenings become lighter, I leave work just in time to catch the sunset on yet another day. British Summer Time has is back with us. (Just look at the long legal history.) Or perhaps a quick trip over the fantastic resource that is Wikipedia with a brief history and dates for the how long summer last until 2007. The new month also takes me off the extended hour at work, so I once again finish at 6pm, with a fantastic opportunity to catch up on Hollyoaks. I must clarify this point, I am not a major fan of the Channel 4 soap. Missing episodes at length, is no problem and I can live without it, which is a completely different story from my obsessive behaviour with Eastenders. My weekend routine does not allow me to digest the omnibus, on Sunday mornings, it is just too long and I hate the idea of sitting down and watching television for extended periods of time, particularly on the day of rest when there are much more pressing things to be doing. Therefore my nature is to dip in and out of the soap, with no religious conviction to catch every episode.

The television theme continues with a mixed bag of good and bad news. The Beeb has already commissioned series two of our favourite Time Lord. While I was pleased with this announcement, my personal opinion is has come far too early. The decision was reported on Wednesday 30th March, fours days after the first episode was screened on BBC One. Then while listening to Five Live I heard the news that Chris Eccleston had walked out on the role, fearing of being typecast for the rest of this career. While at work, I noticed a colleague had the Sun newspaper with the headline: “Dr. Who Quits”. While I can fully understand do respect his decision, he should have stayed for a second series. Being typecast is a fear of many big stars and for some whom have fallen prey to the curse, there is little solace. As fans we now have the dilemma of a new doctor being chosen who will not be able to incomparable to Chris. While a new face, will give the second series a new lease of life, whenever it is screened (later this year?) I do not think Eccleston will be no match for whoever comes to attempt to fills his shoes. I will of course keep watching and keep enjoying the journeys through time and space. Just a shame really, because we have been deprived of the man, who in my eyes had the making of the greatest Doctor ever.

On Thursday evening, I finally took some action, I had had enough. For months, but increasingly the past few weeks it had become a nightmare switching on my PC. The root course of this problem casts the finger of blame upon myself. In late July 2002, I made the first major purchase following my first complete month on my placement. A TDK Cyclone CD writer, was installed to replaced a dated TEAC writer manufactured in 1999 with a burn speed of 4. In doing so, I unclipped the power switch from the front fascia and broke the enclosure unit. Although initially I though I had placed my PC into a state disrepair, it was the wrong conclusion. With delicate precision I was able to place the switch back into the enclosure mounted behind the power button. The short term resolution was to switch on my PC and then always reset it, to initiate the boot up. This was not a problem until winter last year. When attempting to switch on my PC, pressing the power button – nothing would happen. It would take several attempts before you hear the ‘click’ of the power switch behind the fascia and the spinning of hard disks and fans as the aging beast comes to life. So on Thursday night my patience finally ran out and I took some drastic action. For the rest, you can admire my handy work for yourself. Perhaps this will keep the machine slightly cooler, but in case this just pushes forward my PC rebuild project. A project that constantly keeps being pushing back, with other more pressing financial commitments always raring their ugly heads.

Wow, my train of thought in this blog posting is amazing. Talking of financial commitments moves us onto the next topic up for discussion. This is a crucial month for me, as I rehabilitate into society. At the end of this month, I begin paying back the debt of my student load to the Student Loans Company. Repaying my debt to society, with an initial 9% deducted from my take home pay, which will be a substantial amount of money, even though I am on a good way for a Computer Scientist graduate. You must remember that you are reading the blog of one the most financially organised people in the world. Every purchased is checked and double checked, every credit card paid off in full at the end of the month, never a penny of interest paid on any purchase ever. Never taking out a loan or any other interest intensive money plan. Even though I got a letter this morning from CitiFinanical offering me a loan from £500 to £10,000. That was immediately destroyed and placed into the recycle bin. So the thought of a massive student loan hanging against me, would make me lose sleep at night, but it has not. Can I tell you why? Well of course you get regular statements from the Glasgow office, explaining the situation of my account and the amount of interest accrued so far. (The interest is marginal and related to inflation. Therefore I pay back exactly what I borrowed taking into account how much the loan would be woth in today’s money.) What are your views on student loans and tuition fees? Well my response perhaps will surprise you. I totally agree with the idea of a loan system and repaying them once you are earning. Although I think the terms of my repayment deal are not as favourable as those that will be offered to the class of 2006 onwards. The days of free education from five to twenty five are gone. The reality is that University has to be funded and the student is one of the pockets to pick, even if that is a mixture of before, after and during their course. Then again, University is not for everyone and the target of 50% of school leavers aiming for Higher Education is unrealistic, particularly in the current climate of the job market. Talking to the Management Account about this very subject at work, this week, he explained that my degree was a ‘waste’ and I have a tendency to agree with him. Little on my course prepared me for the demands of everyday working environment, although I picked up most of these skills in my placement year. In honest reflection the most important skills I learnt were on my placement and apart from a Networking module, little that I learnt in the lecture theatre has any influence on my day to day role on a Support Desk. That then poses the question, what is a Computer Science degree worth?

Monday 3rd May 2004

One of the most busiest weekends of my entire University career. My dissertation or what is more commonly refereed to as my Final Year Project is due in tomorrow by 2pm. Must admit that I never thought I would be in such a mess with the deadline less then 24 hours away. This is, therefore just a quick update to the site. I have been extremely busy as you can understand. Hopefully I can find some time in between revision for my exams to add a more comprehensive blog entry. I am working on a commenting system. Trying my best to get to grips with PHP and find a script that works for me.

For the time being, I would like to point you in the direction of one of the more quirky stories to have come to my attention in recent years. Instantly, the thought that springs to my mind is that this could only happen in America. If things became so desperate would you really take refuge in a library? Sleep on three chairs and live out of a locker? Well someone has managed the feat. He has even documented his experience with a blog via Live Journal. Check out his website, Homeless At NYU. A rather strange title, as the Creative Writings major was never truly homeless. I hope he enjoys his 15 minutes and begin to wonder when my 15 minutes will come? Then again, do I really want the mass media attention? The Bobst Boy experience tells me that I would much rather be a nobody than a somebody. The website proclaims him to be a legend of the library, the ‘small town boy’ who has taken on the might of the academic elite. Has the boy done good? I think he regrets making such a public show of what is a meaningless act? Or am I not giving Steve the chance he deserves?

I hope things are going well for you all. If you have exams at the moment, I wish you well. Don’t worry the summer is just around the corner. I have a feeling that this summer is going to be different, special even unique. Let us just hope that the weather meets the expectations of our hearts.

Monday 12th April 2004

As I come to the end of University and hence the educational leg of this trip we call life, I do wonder. I wonder what will make the children of tomorrow to take this step and leap into higher education. I recall like yesterday the day, when I ‘knew’ I would be heading to University. It was July 1994, some ten years ago. I was given an award for excellence for my time at my primary school, then Lansdowne County Middle School, now Chepping View. There were around five of us given this award. My headmaster remarked that these would be the people who would be at University in some eight years time. That sealed it for me. All of my elder cousins had gone to University and I had known for many years that it would be going. I suppose it was confirmed for me that afternoon, during that final school assembly and as I left Lansdowne forever. Leaving behind many sweet memories, friends and dreams of joy. So it was with bemusement, I heard the latest attempts of the government to get more young people into university. In a radio advertisement aired around December last year, the Aim Higher market team hit new heights. To appear to be happening, hip and appeal to the ‘yuth’ of today, they scripted the following:

Spokesman:There now follows a message about going to university. (Cough). Word up.
Youth (not impressed):He says he’s got something interesting to tell you.
Spokesman: The mega news is that the darty government posse will help you through uni by shelling out the clam.
Youth: There’s lots of financial help available like loans, grants and help with fees.
Spokesman: You cough up zip till ya minted.
Youth: You won’t pay back a penny of your loan until you’re earning over £15,000 a year.
Spokesman: So peg it man, don’t veg.
Youth: To find out what’s available to you now and the changes proposed for the future call 0800 587 8500 for your free information pack.
Spokesman: Don’t sack it, braw.
Youth: Don’t stop. Aim higher.

To read an article in the row which this advert caused in the commons go to the Education part of the Guardian website.

A quick message to Sam. Thanks for leaving a message on my guestbook. Tried to e-mail you but message was returned to me. Please get in touch via e-mail. Thanks! :D

Looking at my Audio page, which I had not updated for almost exactly 2 months. It was time to update my MP3 database. Not a dramatic update, as I have only increased the total number of songs by 30. The main increase has been in the albums department, where I am just 10 shy from 200! Also, I have been cleaning up my MP3s and removing songs that I rarely listen to and seasonal favourites, which also have been archived away onto CD-Rw. I know many of you may be concerned with the recent move of legal action being taken against Peer-to-Peer sharers in Europe. It appears that the record labels are going to go after people who share an excessive amount of copyrighted material. Not sure how I should approach this situation. All the audio listed on my audio pages has been ‘obtained’ from various sources, but I do not share any of the material. I know that does break the whole philosophy behind peer-to-peer networks. That is not to say I’m a self centered and selfish individual, if anyone contacts me requesting any material, I am more than happy to trade or in some case give them what they desire. Not sure how I should plead my case when the lawyers come knocking. Then again, will they? Ignorance is no defense, but then perhaps I could make the case that I have all this audio in CD or tape format? Didn’t think so! :S

Thursday 23rd October 2003

It is rather a shame that I do not update my website more often. I have put myself in the position now, where I have very few excuses. Broadband connection at home, a home network, comprising of three computers. Oh yeah, there is the small question of my University degree. It would be good if I got some work done, after all I have not accumulated all this debt for nothing.

It is four weeks into my the first semester of my Final Year at De Montfort University. You begin to lose focus, and at times hope with the strain that is life. Something is needed to bring you back on track and once again, bring hope to your heart. There are very few things that can occur that can stimulate this change in mood. There are even fewer people on this planet, that are able to bring faith, when all is but lost.

Facing continual adversary, they have been able to stand up for their faith, even though they have tendered never to be far from the spot light. The negativity at times, is far from truth, but when the person believes so much in truth and justice, you can only feel that perhaps life has dealt them a unique gift and a great disadvantage, through no fault of their own.

My feelings were so different a year ago. I remember, the wet October night, the rushed drive to the petrol station. The conversation, which was anything but. Rather a glide through a pre-defined list which you had decided upon long before the phone even rang. It would be the last time I spoke to you, but I was not to know then.
I wasn’t to know that those few words would be last I would hear and subsequently the most easiest to forget. Three weeks later, my feelings of friendship would be destroyed with a barrage of text messages. Even then I didn’t lose hope. The cowardice you showed was unparalleled. For one, who had once shown directness and the ‘right way’, you did everything wrong. If love and affection are words that you still respect, where was the respect for the one who had meant so much. I look back and feel the whole phone call episode was a smokescreen. You had to repay your debt, but I never heard a thank you. Sure, my gesture was far from the biggest, but it was important and I thought it meant something, particular when you do things for the right reasons and for someone else. That all seems a world away from now, and as much as I try to avoid thoughts, images and words of you, they very much remain as I always intended. Beautiful, as indeed my memories shall forever remain.

We all deserve one more chance, and there was only one person I can describe, who can give us, “One More Chance with Love”. Michael Jackson, is releasing a brand new single, written by R. Kelly on Monday 24th November. A month to go, and of course, there is further significance regarding the date, but that isn’t important right now.

I have had my digital camera repaired and will hopefully be uploading new photographs to the website soon. I think I may leave the change, until the next version of this site is live. Then all pictures will be organised, in a easier to use gallery.

Erasure made it to number 13, with their remixed release of Oh L’amour, which I mentioned in my update last week. It was really good to see them back in the top twenty, after all these years in the wilderness. Even better news, was from my favourite song from the last few weeks. Kevin Lyttle, made it to number two, and the second highest new entry of the week, with “Turn Me On”. Fantastic anthem, and very much deserved.

On other fronts, I am still working on my new version of this website. Please bear with me. It is just a case now of transferring and updating various pages onto the new layout, testing a few pages and uploading the entire site.

I have been busy tinkering with my University website. It now has the latest feed for the new live web cam, looking over the Leicester City Campus. That too is going under a minor overhaul, while I update you with information regarding my Final Year Project. Stand by for further information on that over the coming few weeks.

Hopefully, new website should be online over the weekend, if I have the time to sort all the pages out. So prepare yourselves people!

Friday 19th September 2003

I moved into my student house, in Leicester on Monday morning. It was a struggle against time to get all my bits and pieces sorted, packed and loaded into my car for the journey up to the East Midlands. Leaving early, I made good time on the motorway. Rather than go the conventional route of M40, then M25 and finally M1 northbound, I take a quieter journey to the city. My taking the M40 northbound and taking the junction 15 exit, I head onto the A46. This goes around the outskirts of Coventry. I then pick up the M69, directly into Leicester. The journey, allows you to make excellent time and also the A-roads break the two large motorway junks into more manageable pieces. I made great time, having left High Wycombe at 8am, I was in Leicester just before 9.30am.

I spend the rest of the day, organizing my room and getting a feeling for my new surroundings. This will be what I call home for the next nine months or so. It is great to be back in Leicester. Although, there are still many students to come back, it does feel strange but I’m trying my best to switch back into student mode.

I was adjusting back to all the local radio stations in the area and life without all my favourite London based radio stations. However, it was 11pm and Late Night Love was on Leicester Sound, (part of The Mix Radio Network) and as I turned the volume up, a familiar song filled my room. Human Nature by Michael Jackson, I was back in Leicester and the final part of my journey has began!

Sunday 31st August 2003

End of the month already and I’m back to University in a few weeks time. The summer is quickly coming to a close. Arsenal, came from behind to beat Manchester City, 2-1 at the City of Manchester Stadium today. A stupid mistake by Lauren, which meant he scored an own goal, gave the Blues an early lead. A little nudge from Trevor Sinclair, was missed by the referee. However, after the interval, Arsenal came up, firing on all cylinders and it was only a matter of time before they would bring the game level. Wiltord scored a great goal, after the Man City defence were unable to clear their lines. Then, later into the game, Freddie, came to the rescue, as Seaman had come out to take the ball from Pires, but the loose ball was picked up by the Swede and driven home for the games winner.

I’m busy trying to get myself sorted out for University. I start in a couple of weeks time and need to get myself organised. I’m looking forward to going back. Having been in Leicester on Friday, it was a great feeling to be back there. I’ve sorted out accommodation now, so it is just a matter of time, before I’m back, in lectures, in the labs and of course the library.

I’ve finally closed my MadAsAFish account, as of today. It has forever given me problems. The spam and access restrictions meant that I was no longer able to use the service via my FreeServe broadband connection. So I’ve moved the site across, however this is only a temporary measure, as I hope to have my own web space at some point in the near future.

I have loads of new websites that I want to add to the links collection, they include sites for Mr T, American Teen programmes we all grew up with (Saved By The Bell, California Dreams and Sister Sister). I’m working on getting all these sorted out for my update, next weekend.

Typical – guess who is the player of the month on my 2003 Arsenal Calendar? Of course, it could only be Lauren! ;o)

Wednesday 6th August 2003

Not been able to dedicate as much time to my website, as I would have liked in the past few weeks. With the heat wave, hitting our shores this week, it has made it unbearable. I just couldn’t sit inside, on lovely sunny days, working on my computer and let the beautiful days pass me by. The days are passing us by, and the summer is going extremely quickly. You notice that how quickly, the summer is going, when you suddenly notice the appearance of the dreaded “Back to School” advertising campaigns. It’s only the start of August, and they can’t wait to get rid of the little kiddies back into the classroom.

As I mentioned in my previous update was that I’m working on a brand new version of this website. However, there is still plenty of work to do on getting that site up and running. My plan is to have the site, ‘live’ before I go back to University in September. I also am planning to move ISP. Although I have enjoyed my time with MadAsAFish, it is time for a change. I receive over 200 spam e-mails every day. Plus, due to changes it their setup, I will no longer be able to access my FTP server or mail remotely. Resulting in me being forced to use their dial up service. I may, temporarily transfer my website over to Uni space and run the site from there. Watch this space, I will keep you informed.

For the time being, I’ve cleared up my links page. It is now more organized and less of a clutter as it was before.

Fame Academy has come back to our screens. It feels like only yesterday, that I came home that Friday evening (October 4th 2002) to watch the show. I remember thinking how amazing the prize is, the life of a popstar for 12 months. The format of this year’s show has been much better, with 25 students whittled down to 12 for the academy, and of course, having former Bee Gees member, Robin Gibb, on board as a judge has proved to give the show more creditability. I’m looking forward to, this evening show, with the last 6 students battling it out for the last 3 available places in the academy. The quality of the talent, has been extremely hard and it has been difficult to chose which students deserve to enter the contest.

The web master of the BBC News Centre, James contacted me a few days ago. He has created a banner for his site, and I have placed this on my links page. I must say, he has an incredible knowledge of BBC News and Weather presenters and is working on adding BBC World Service and News 24 presenters details to his website. We look forward to seeing this very soon. I never thought I would find someone, so ‘obsessed’ with the BBC News team, like myself. Oh well, you know what they say, with the internet, you can always find someone who shares your interests, not matter how weird or wonderful they are.

Friday 13th June 2003

Supposedly an ‘unlucky’ day for some, but I must say that Lady Luck has been shining on me for the past week or so. I knew, that the week that lay ahead, was going to be hectic and challenging. Having to rganise an event for work, later in the week, was going to take up a considerable amount of my time, but this didn’t mean I would be able to lose focus on my main job role. However, the weekend has arrived again and it is for us to make the most of it.

My sisters will be returning from University this weekend, and how my thoughts drift back to some 12 months previously when I too, was coming back from University. Life, my life was so much different then, and I had no idea. No idea at all of the mountain that lay ahead and the struggles that would need to be faced. I was caught up in the hysteria, that is the greatest show on Earth. The FIFA World Cup 2002. Looking back now, I feel I made the right decisions and followed them through to the end.

As always, there was a turning point in my week. It was aptly Wednesday evening, as I drove home. My Punto was in for its 36k service, so therefore I had a courtesy car. It was an Active Sport Punto, in Spirit Blue. (HGT wannabe anybody?!) Not too bad, and quite nippy, mainly as its a three door. I wasn’t intending to drive over to the Stevenage office that day, purely because I hadn’t considered the journey when refueling that morning. However, due to circumstances beyond one’s control, I was compelled to make that journey and provide my services. The England game was on my mind most of the day, along with the the 43288 jobs that needed to be successfully completed for Thursday evening. I hit the motorway, in good time to make it home, with time to spare for the big qualifier. As you will note from my previous web blogs, I’ve started to listen to BBC Radio 2, and happened to be flicking between BBC Radio 1 with Chris Moyles. I was just cruising on the M25, past junction 20, for the M1, I heard the beginning of a song, that I hadn’t heard for several years. Immediately, my mind was filled with thoughts from 1999, and my time at Henley College. A song, that is able to numb your senses in such a way, is truly magical and an amazing piece of work. I recall vividly, this song being in the charts, and the album, also being extremely popular. In my mind was a picture of me, holding a copy of this album in my hand, not in the trusted compact disc format, but my friend, David Wynn’s Mini Disc. It was one of the few original MD’s that he had actually bought, along with HIStory by Michael Jackson. If I was to look back my life now and cast heavy judgments on all the years of my life, 1999, would be one of the few years when I would take a step back, smile and say, “It was great… it was better than great… I began to learn the lesson…the lesson of life…”

England were lucky to beat Slovakia on Wednesday evening. What now has become, somewhat customary, I viewed the game, next door at my neighbour Dave’s house. The first half was a very poor performance from the home side and all the threatening that the Slovakians had been making, provided them with a goal. The crowd at the Riverside were harshly silenced and I began to wonder if England were going to make any impact in the game whatsoever. There were further moments of nervousness as the away team had another three clear chances of scoring. There was a need for a change, and bringing on Owen Hargreaves for Danny Mills, provided the impetus that had been so lacking. The second half, was much more entertaining, with two great goals from Michael Owen. The penalty decision was debatable (highly in my opinion) but there are times when England need some luck and for a change, the referee was willing to point to the spot. One nil, but the second goal was a much carefully worked affair, with Gerrard crossing the ball, into the air, with Owen, making clear contact to send the ball into the back of the net. After comments from the commentators that England were lacking aerial superiority, with players such as Ferdinand and Campbell missing, Owen was there to prove them wrong. A great way to celebrate your fiftieth game for your country.

Busy weekend, but I will update more over the next few days. Take care for now.

“Live your life without Regret…
Don’t be someone they Forget…”

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