“One of the best things about working at The Bodleian… Pretending to be a PhD student…”

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One of the best things about working at The Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford? Pretending to be a PhD student for a photo shoot! Watch out for me appearing in a website near you…

Natalie pretends to be a PhD student.

My team and I do get up to some unusual stuff, it’s true. I took part in this photoshoot, too:

I’m absolutely not above selling out myself and my family for the benefit of some stock photos for the University, it seems. The sharp-eyed might even have spotted the kids in this video promoting the Ashmolean or a recent tweet by the Bodleian

Letters After My Name

Results day today, and so I finally get to find out whether or not I get a degree in exchange for my last five years at University. And I do. I’m now entitled to put letters after my name, which is nice.

I’ve got a lower second, which is (I know) less than I’m capable of, but considering my resits and other lark last year, it’s exactly what I expected, so that’s great. Was damn pleased to see that my dissertation got a first.

Now I suppose I’d better get on with the rest of my life.

Morning Mysteries 1 – 1 Scatman Dan

I woke up this morning to two mysteries:

1. Why had I set my alarm for 8:30am?

2. Why do I have a nose bleed?

I’ve solved the former: Claire needs to move her car (which is parked on double-yellows outside) or she’ll get ticketed when the morning wardens come by (morning wardens? they’re like traffic wardens, but they put tickets on people who still look half-asleep). The latter? No idea.

Yay; we’re off to the Borth Animalarium today, to look at meerkats! Followed by Troma Night!

My ‘Online Bank’ project isn’t going very well. So far it allows you to add Books to a Cart and get the total cost of them all. Which isn’t terribly useful, because that sounds more like a bookstore to me than an online bank… but I couldn’t find an example online about how to use EJBs to make an online bank, just a bookstore. D’oh.

Dissertation Hand-In

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I handed in my dissertation yesterday. What a farce. Here’s the approximate order of things.

08:30 – Get up. Compile a postscript (.ps) copy of my dissertation, and upload both this and the .tex source files to central.aber.ac.uk. Start walking up to campus (Bryn offers to give me a lift, but I feel energetic, so I bound on up the hill).

09:00 – Reach campus and pay for £5 of printer credit (100 pages). Find a workstation room, log into central, and lpr -Puserarea diss-final.ps (print) it. Marvellous. Pick up the printout.

09:15 – Drop my (printed) dissertation off at the Library to be hardback bound. Everything’s going splendidly. Trek back down town. The hand-in window is 14:00-16:00, so I’ve got loads of time.

13:30 – Arrive back on campus, this time with two CDs (containing the source code and sample data for the project). I buy sticky things from the Union with which to attach them to the inside cover of my dissertation, and then trek to the Library to pick up the masterpiece.

13:45 – Hmm. The binding office seems to be closed. Guess they’re on lunch. I go to return a library book from the Physical Sciences Library, …

Update, 11 January 2020: As the tail-end of this post appears to be lost forever, I’ll fill in the essence of it from memory: after a leisurely morning/early afternoon of getting my dissertation printed and bound for delivery, well-ahead of the deadline later in the day and thus avoiding the mad rush for the printers and binders later in the day, I arrived at the hand-in point only to be told I was supposed to be handing over two copies, not one, and so I ended up caught up in the mad rush I’d been smugly avoiding after all.

Dissertation Proofreaders Needed

[this post has been partially damaged during a server failure on Sunday 11th July 2004, and it has been possible to recover only a part of it]

I’m looking for help proofreading my dissertation. If you’ve been invited to, or you’d like to help, please go to https://danq.me/diss/, download the latest version, and post any comments here.

You will need a password. To ensure that only invited parties can get hold of the password, you’ll need to prove your identity. The following groups are permitted to log in:

  • Members of Troma Night: go to the Troma Night web site and log in: the password will appear on the front page, underneath the words ‘Upcoming Events’.
  • People listed as LiveJournal friends of Fiona: go to this LiveJournal post by Fiona (you’ll need to be logged in and on her Friends list).
  • People who can guess the password – it’s the second half of the name of the project of my dissertation, in lower case, with the final letter replaced with the first vowel in the word that is the name of the logo of the organisation that benfits from my project.
  • Other …

More Celebrations

[this post has been partially damaged during a server failure on Sunday 11th July 2004, and it has been possible to recover only a part of it]

[chez geek card]

Yay. Now I’m in a fab bouncey mood and ready to crack on with the next 10,000 words of my dissertation.

People have kindly been offering to proof-read it for me on Sunday night – this is most welcome: if anybody else wants to, you can too: just drop me a comment or a message or something, and I’ll e-mail you it. I presume you’ll all prefer Acrobat .PDFs than PostScript .PS files, yeh?

On which note; everybody’s being really considerate of my need to get this thing done – leaving me to do it where they’re likely to be a distraction; not suggesting really cool things we could be doing right now (except for the above card, ahem), etc. Thank you all, guys!

In other news…

Troma Night Website

I’m working (at long last) on updating the Troma Night website. Going OK so far, about a third of the way there. Am contemplating pulling a long, late night and seeing how much of it I can get done at once. Ideally I’ll have it all sorted for next Troma Night, on Saturday – including the new webcam feature! We’ll see…

In other news, Claire’s looking a lot happier now that she’s put the revision to bed for the night.

Claire Seems Distracted

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[this post was partially recovered on 12 October 2018]

Claims tiredness. Suspect she’s stressed about upcoming exams. Hope that it’s one or the other.

A handful of my friends keep posting entries to their ‘blogs rapidly, in quick succession. Have you heard of putting things in the same entry?. Save your friends from scrolling themselves to death!

My first exam, Monday (Formal Methods In Software Engineering), went better than expected; should have done quite well. Feel confident about The Internet: Architecture And Operation on Saturday morning.

In other news, my new soundcard arrived, giving me an audio system which doesn’t (a) short-circuit and cause my computer to crash from time to time, (b) give me quite painful electric shocks when I connect things to it and (c) gives me stereo sound all the time, without switching to mono for no apparent reason. In addition, I have a ‘front panel’ with heaps of cool-looking connectors, MIDI ports, etc. And a few tweaks later and it works fantastically with the …

The Student Loans Company Are Wankers

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[this post was partially recovered on 12 October 2018]

Well, they give me money, so I can’t complain too much, but regardless…

My student loan should have been credited to my account on Monday (12th). Paul got his on Sunday! But when mine hadn’t come through by this morning, I got a little concerned. So I phoned them up on the enquires number listed on their web site.

“You have called the Student Loans Company. For enquiries regarding your student loan, press 1. To change your bank account details, press 2. For any other enquires, press 3.”
I press 1.
“If you are calling on behalf of a third party, we must advise you that they must cal personally owing to customer confidentiality. If you have any general enquiries, please visit our web site at www.slc.co.uk. Thank you.” <click>

I call again, and this time press 3. Some confusing buttons later, I get through to a nice Scottish woman called Alison. It turns out that they had the incorrect sort code for me (and they had known this for several months [sort code had come up invalid upon entry] – but hadn’t bothered to phone or write to me). How had they gotten the sort code wrong? Well; they’d read one of my …

Hand-Ins & Russian Spacecraft

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[this post was partially recovered on 12 October 2018]

Got my assignment finished in the end. Next stop: up to campus to deliver it.

I’ve got a fab Civ3: Conquests game on the go: I’m Premiere of the the Russians, and it’s 1856AD. I landed on the moon in 1812AD, and I’m now half-way to building an interstellar spacecraft. Damn I’m good at this game.

Unfortunatley, the Celts (with whom I share borders) have become jealous of my progress and have launched an invasion, which, while technologically inferior (mostly consisting of riflemen on horseback and on foot, and a handful of automatic weapons – compared to my M16s, TOW missiles, and jet aircraft) is a sizeable force and caught me very much off-guard, hitting me at a couple of weak points and capturing two cities, putting them in a good position to attack Moscow. I’ve begun conscription, drafting in citizens to military service to defend our country, and been pulling forward the military I have towards the front line… but this isn’t going to be pretty.

The AI in the game at the higher difficulty levels is really something. During my invasion of Spain in the 16th Century, the Spanish retreated deeper into their heartland, destroying key roads as they …


I’ve just discovered that I have an assignment deadline tomorrow for an assessment I didn’t realise I had, in my weakest module. Joy!

On the upside, I’ve just looked at the assessment and it’s got very little to do with the module; in fact, it oughta be comparatively easy: still – 4-8 hours work I didn’t anticipate.

In other news; a stunning article (plain English, both an introduction to the subject and an ongoing summary) about the state of play with digital music, DRM, and all that on Bill Blog today. If you listen to music on CD or watch DVD movies, you oughta read this one.