Stress Testing

There are times when I hate programming. Normally, these times occur when I’m three days away from a deadline, using a primitive language that I’ve barely touched for three years, and running out of inspiration. Welcome to Hell. It seems I managed to waste eight hours of work today; I spent the morning and afternoon grinding away at the web server, getting more and more desperate as time drew on. Nothing was working. I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t belong here. How on earth did they ever decide I was good enough to be here? Anyway, one two-hour break later, and I solve most of the problems in under an hour. At the moment, I’m stress-testing the server by sending an infinite series of requests. It’s been running for about ten minutes, over 10000 connections, and it’s still going. Of course, it’s killing my computer at the moment, but that’s to be expected. Now all I have to figure out is getting the client to work. The chances of me venturing outside this weekend are very remote…

currently playing: Idlewild - American English

The Path From Manchester to Chapel Hill

In a strange twist, I found myself helping my professor design a course for a year at Manchester today. Turns out that they have a Study Abroad student going over there next semester. They’ve added a few new courses, it seems, and bumped the C course into the second year, which seems rather strange. Everything else seemed the same. I hope the student has fun writing their OpenGL solar system simulator. I also found out that it was probably Roger Hubbold who left the UNC-Chapel Hill cards out on the noticeboard, which eventually brought me to where I’m sitting now. The Applications course seems forgivable now…

Busy day today. Firstly, lots of students wanted to have their grades changed. In most cases, it was because I was an Idiot, and failed to notice that they had done something when I thought they hadn’t, for which I apologise. Still, out of fifty or so papers, I don’t think I did too badly, and I shall be more attentive next time.

After that, and one of those lecture-things that seem to get in the way (Fourier Transforms are just a matrix operation? Hell, even I can manage that), I finally made it to the comic shop, for this week’s delayed comics. They had only received a partial shipment, so I’ll have to pick up the rest next week. It’s not a bad little shop - it’s smaller than Comic Showcase in Oxford, but the staff are much friendlier. They also have a bigger graphic novel section, which is very good news. However, it’s still a comic shop; they’ve infuriatingly arranged the graphic novels by title, rather than author. making it very hard to navigate. And they didn’t have a copy of Kill Your Boyfriend, so it looks like eBay is my only hope. I did managed to find one of the out-of-print Quantum & Woody books though, so it wasn’t a total waste of a trip.

Finally, I decided to go shopping today rather than tomorrow, to give myself more time to work on the web server project that has to be in by Monday (shivers). Throwing caution to the wind, I made it as far as the frozen section this time. I now have little cheese things with bits of meat in them. How exciting. I finally broke down and bought some Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate as well. Begone, foul American chocolate!!

currently playing: Saint Etienne - Stoned To Say The Least

A Hidden Agenda

I’m certain that everytime the BBC Website has a story about George Bush or Donald Rumsfield, they go that extra mile to get a silly picture.

Yes, it’s true; my conversion to a full-fledged hermit took a massive step backwards last night. I went out with Ritchie, Sonal, Pylin, and Shelley to Henry’s, where the International students all go on Tuesdays. Good fun, although I think I need to take a crash course on how bartender-tipping works before I go back. Do I need to give him/her a dollar everytime I get a drink?

My web server now responds to Mozilla! It sends the requested file back! It also has no idea what it’s doing, so it’s almsot as insecure as IIS! But the spec doesn’t say it has to be secure, does it? It balances out the awful Compilers work I’m going to turn in tomorrow. I found I just couldn’t write more than two pages, and that was after spending five or so hours thinking about it. Hmph.

Bonnie - how did your first day back at school go? I hear you’re being a slacker this year :-). Hope it went well.

Double Indemnity arrived today, so I now have my first three films from Netflix. I’m planning on watching the first on Friday night. Should be fun….

currently playing: Tori Amos - Do It Again

My first telemarketer!

I feel so honoured…

currently playing: Beth Orton - Thinking About Tomorrow

Elizabeth Dole Will Defend Our 2nd Amendment Rights!

I do wish she’d stop sending me letters. Firstly, it’s not as if I can vote, and secondly, just even holding a picture of her hugging George W. Bush makes me feel slightly ill. Hopefully, they’ll stop after the election. Oh. It’s only the primary in September. Silly me.

My frirst Amazon survival package arrived today, containing more books than I have space for, and the uncut version of Leon (including Mathilda’s first assassination. Pre-teenage Killer goodness). Plus, the first DVDs from Netflix arrived. Now all I have to do is find the time to read/watch them all.

Fight! Fight! Actually, it does seem as if they’re asking for quite a bit of money, but I imagine Labour will not want to get in a position where the papers can cry out about a ‘Winter of Discontent’. On the other hand, that sort of payrise would put a significant hole in Gordon Brown’s spending plans, especially when all the other public sectors decide that if the firemen can get away with it, they might as try and see what they can get.

Two fun Slashdot stories. The first brings up the hope of Ogg support in Apple’s iPod soon, while the other one is a fun vision of the future that Microsoft and the RIAA/MPAA would like to have. Let’s not let it happen.

currently playing: Charlie’s Angels - Never Gonna Happen To Me

An unforeseen problem

It’s been pretty dark and dismal here for the past few days, so I’ve been locked away in my room, working away on my various assignments. Today, the weather has changed somewhat - brilliant sunhine is now coming thorugh my window. Which would be nice, but it completely obliterates my view of the computer monitor. After fiddling with the blinds for about ten minutes, I managed to get a nice interference pattern, but still couldn’t see the screen properly. The weather is telling me to Stop. So I’m on a break.

Okay, so I know they’re not going to be reading this, but congratulations to Roy and Rosie, two friends from back home, who have just got engaged. Yay!

Blog entries are a bit short at the moment, mainly because I’ve been locked in my room. Things should get a bit longer from tomorrow…

currently playing: Sugarbabes - Overload

Marking Woes

Marking is hell. I have tremendous respect for teachers who have to live with it everyday. When they’ve done everything right, it’s simple; you just check off all the little boxes, and move on. When they get something wrong, you have to gaze at their code for several minutes, and work out just why their code doesn’t terminate and prints infinite amounts of ?s onto the screen. I hope people will find my comments helpful.

Now this is interesting. I don’t have my copy of The Nation’s Favourite with me at the moment, but I’m fairly sure that she’s beginning to approach the audience levels that Mark & Lard were attracting. Yet she gets a £333,000-a-year deal for the next three years? Let’s hope that Mr. Parfitt’s tenure at Radio 1 is coming to an end; he’s managed to undo most of the work that Mattthew Bannister did to rescue the station back in 1994. And no, I’m accepting 1Xtra or 6Music as an excuse, excellent as they are.

currently playing: The Magnetic Fields - I’m Sorry I Love You


War & Peace is out in December. Along with The Children’s Hour, according to current MGM rumours. I will be taking a lot of DVDs home with me, it seems….

currently playing: Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah

Fitter, happier

While I’m still stuck trying to get the sockets to work, never mind the web server part that I have to build on top, the cheque for $800 that I have in front of me goes someway to reassuring me that I haven’t made a terrible mistake. Bribes are always good.

I decided to skip the trip to the mall on the grounds that it didn’t have everything I needed to buy, and I wouldn’t forgive myself for spending a whole day there (my self-loathing is up there with Matt’s), so I shuffled off to the dead mall again to buy some food and something to calm my oh-so-annyoing wisdom teeth. I also managed to pick up a jug, so I can make some Kool-Aid now (regular drinkers will know that the correct measurement of sugar is essential for obtaining something drinkable; too much and it’s far too sweet. Too little, and you remember just why the US Navy uses grape flavour to clean pipes in submarines). I think the KitchenWorks shop I got it from is either over-staffed, or having a very quiet time of things; I was followed around, just in case I needed help, and they even offered to hold my ten or so bags whilst I was getting money out of my wallet. Back home, they’d just laugh to themselves as you were getting more and more tangled.

Right, I’m off to make a camera…

currently playing: Idlewild - In Remote Part-Scottish Fiction

Treading Water

Three nasty assignments, a stack of marking, a general feeling of failure, and the week’s not over yet. The fact that I’m being paid tomorrow doesn’t really cheer me up that much, either.

Typically, the course I’m taking simply to fulfil the requirements for the Master’s/Ph.D. programme turns out to be the one I’m enjoying the most. It’s probably due to the lecturer, who is one of those great lecturers (there are a few at Manchester, as well) who loves almost every aspect of their work, and they’re just dying to tell you all the great things that you can do with what they’re teaching you. And today he invited us to a tractor pull. Next week, he intends to explain the Fourier Transform in a way that mere mortals can understand, and I can’t help looking forward to it.

Whilst I should probably be working/marking tomorrow, I’m imposing a trip to the Mall; hopefully gazing at the Macs will raise my spirits a little. The Netflix account is for the same purpose. The first DVD arrives on Monday, apparently…

currently playing: Kenickie - Acetone