Category Archives: General

Body Says No

So I’m back at the Chiropractors and telling him how I’m doing and what I’m doing to improve my overall fitness levels, etc. So first I tell him I started on Tang Soo Do and his face frowns – he’s a Chineese gent so he gets the benefits of a martial art but doesn’t like […]

C25K W2D1

Well amazingly, I’ve made it to week 2 of the process. However, I partially failed. I ask myself, can one really partially fail? Well yes, I believe you can. In week 2 (for example) the workout is a process of 5 minutes walking warm up followed by a 90 / 2 process. That is 90 […]

C25K Report

As you know – I started on the C25K process a little over a week ago and predictably I’ve had some issues. Not least being how and when to fit the training sessions in around my shift work and regular Tang Soo Do sessions. But despite these problems and despite coming down ill the day […]

Family Tree Login

Apologies folks but it’s only just come to my attention that logins to the family tree are having problems.

It’s beyond me to work out a fix so I’ve put out a help message on the PHPGedView forum and via my twitter stream – here’s hoping I find a willing volunteer to assist and as soon as it is fixed I’ll update here.

Worst scenario is that we don’t have an online family tree.

Our 2009

As another year rapidly comes to a close I find it’s time to try and give you all a breif review of our year as a family.
If only I could be a more consistent blogger then I could simply point you at all the relevant posts! But consider this our way of being a little […]

Its Official.

Turned up to my Tang Soo Do training session tonight and was formally handed my dobok. The picture below is of the printing that’s on the back of the jacket and no, I don’t know what it means yet.

So anyway, I guess it’s serious now especially as it’ sonly 6 weeks until our (Jenna, Coel […]

GeoCaching

Last week (or so) the family and I went geocaching.
Geocaching.com describes this as:
Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age […]

It’s been a while

Well, I haven’t been around for quite a while, and it must be said… a lot has happened in that time.

I am now doing straight Computer Science in Aberystwyth University, and so far, am enjoying it immensely. For one, I’ve stopped taking my laptop to university where I possibly can, to avoid the distraction of the internet during lectures, and as a result I am now remaining fully engaged during said lectures.I am doing Databases, which is more fun than I thought it would be as we are exploring so much more functionality than I ever did in Secondary School. For example, in school, the most we did was create a few database tables, set relationships between the tables, represented the tables in a form threw in some buttons, and if we got really creative, set a password on the database. However, in university, we will be exploring all the different types of relationships (and why one type is more useful in a particular situation etc). We will be setting multiple user access levels, so that only users with the correct privileges can view database tables containing sensitive information such as bank details etc. Lastly, we will be learning about how databases actually work behind the scenes; how we get the encrypted data through various Database Management Systems to be presented in a shiny graphical interface on your screen; how different types of queries sort through the data in different ways depending on what type of query you use. Quite a lot to look forward to really. The only downside is that we are using Microsoft Office Access 2007, which is software which I loath because it’s user interface is so obscure, and there is no real easy way to edit something you’ve done wrong. You have to pretty much wipe entire modules of your database and start them again.

I am doing Introduction to Computer Hardware, Operating Systems And Unix Tools which is brilliant as the lecturer is really funny and we all get to learn some quite powerful tools built into the Unix Command Line as well as detailed knowledge of various parts of the everyday desktop computer. I have been using various forms of Linux and Unix for a while now, and whilst I enjoy Microsoft Windows as an operating system for it’s ease of use, I also love the challenge presented by some UNIX and Linux distributions in learning how to use them. A lot of Linux distributions (such as Ubuntu, Fedora and Mint Linux now sort of come “out of the box”; as in, you click install, choose a few settings and off you go, done! Some distributions such as ArchLinux require the user to extract the source code from various compressed files and assemble the operating system purely from command line. Distributions like Gentoo require the user to extract seemingly nonsensical data from compressed files and compile them before assembling. This can be extremely time consuming. The last step is Linux From Scratch, where (as the name suggests) you are given the essential system files required to run a stable kernel, and you have to write, compile and assemble your own system, again from command line. One thing that separates UNIX/Linux from Windows is that the Terminal command line is so much more powerful and efficient than the CMD/DOS command line.

Finally, I am doing a module known as Theory of Computation, which is fantastic, as we consider the rules and grammar of various computer languages both high and low level (high level is a programming language that we can understand, low level is language that the computer can understand, i.e. binary) and how compilers work (compilers are the tools used to translate our high level programming into binary code that the computer can understand. Different to a translator however*). I find this module very interesting since I am a linguist enthusiast anyway, and this enjoyment extends unto the languages of machines. So I’ve been told, being able to understand the grammar of a human language and that of a computer language is essential to Artificial Intelligence researchers in trying to establish common factors and bring the AI closer to passing the Turing test.

Another part of university life which is quite amusing is that despite my best efforts to concentrate solely on my personal studies, I’ve ended up learning half of the second year material anyway. My perfectly valid excuse for this, is that a lot of my friends have been faced with some rather difficult mathematical equations, and have turned to me for help in understanding them (as I have a fairly solid Mathematical background). Naturally, I couldn’t help them when these equations were just thrown at me… they could mean any number of things. I had to know the context in which these equations were being used. So I now know the basics of how grayscale images are broken down into comprehensible chunks of code, and how a computer calculates what shade pixels should be based on the shade of the nearest pixel or from relative proportions of shades of surrounding pixels in conjunction with the varying distances between them when an image is resized or rotated. Whack in a bit of probability density theory and the computer can also calculate the probability of a pixel being a certain shade etc. I’m going to get a headache when I see the equations needed to process coloured images!

Anyway… that’s enough from me for now. As you can see from the copious amounts of writing, I am clearly enjoying my time at university and am learning a lot from it. I hope you all are well and that you are enjoying yourselves.

* A compiler will go through the whole code, applying rules and filters to make sure that what you have input is valid and legal code before translation into machine code, wheras a translator will just go through your code line by line translating to machine code as it goes. Use of compilers is slower than use of translators but also a lot safer. Bad code run through a translator will be translated without question, and if run could cause serious computer problems when the processor starts reacting to the code in strange ways resulting in loss of data, seg faults etc. Compilers are basically full of filters to make sure none of this malignant code gets through.

I’m in the Money

Well strictly speaking I’m back in the money – my money that is.
I’ve had a note from the bank and they tell me that although the investigations are on-going the active part is now finished. To that end my account has been refunded to the tune of £700 (ish). For the past month the only […]

The Ongoing Fraud

So it gets to Monday morning and despite my current state of health I’m up with the lark and itching to phone the fraud department. Of course they don’t open until 9am, but at least that gives me time to get a coffee and for the house to empty.Strangely I’m not at all upset by […]