Thursday, December 29, 2005

Ryan's Rules

Rule Number Twelve: You don't neccessarily have to figure everything out to get on with being successful.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Ryan's Rules

Rule Number Ten: Never get caught

Rule Number Eleven: There's actually nothing holding you back, only your own fears and doubts.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Tear it down and build another

Work on my final year project is going slowly but surely. Hopefully I'll get the majority of coding done over the midterm break we're on at the moment. (Don't return to college till the 9th of January...) Do have a bunch of other projects to get done at the same time though.

Got my spiffy new laptop (posting from it at the moment!) there on Wednesday from Marx Computers. May have to post a couple of pictures of it. It's a 15.4 in widescreen. Much prettier than any of the 12in powerbooks the lads have IMHO (not, it just suits me better).

Been doing a little web-dev over the last while, must update the templates for the VE:NET blogs soon.

...and that

Monday, November 07, 2005

Podcasting, kickboxing, podboxing...

College is going well. Can't say that I'm finding anything too difficult just yet, but I've the feeling there'll be some nasty surprises in store soon enough.

Got the hallowe'en project finished for CG (a pumpkin in a scary movie, modelled in 3dsMAX). Put alot of effort into the model but unfortunately the movie itself was lacking...

Here's the wireframe view:

And a rendered still:

The final year project I'm going to be doing is called Pooh Mail. Sounds kinda funky, doesn't it? It's basically a SPAM honey pot style system. Hopefully will be writing a plugin to Mozilla Thunderbird as part of it. Doing some research on POP and IMAP for it at the moment.

Have been down to kickboxing again after a two year hiatus. Procrastination really got the better of me with it. Good to be down again. The soreness is actually quite cool, it makes me feel like I've been doing something worthwhile. Been running once a week aswell.

I'm currently also looking at getting into either podcasting or vidcasting. Potentially going to do some sort of computer tutorial vidcast using CamStudio. Probably similar in style to the VTM's at 3dbuzz, but with different content obviously.

...and that

[Edited: Added some images of my max model...]

Monday, October 31, 2005

bleedin' punk kids!

The doorbell rings for the second time. Little hands start to bang on the glass outside. You've guessed it folks, it's hallowe'en! to answer it would be sensible. Some might even say in the spirit of the festival, but to be honest, even if I were celebrating Samhain, I wouldn't be doing it by answering the front door to a bunch of snot-nosed kids.

Anyway, I hear the voice of an adult outside. Some sanity perhaps, so I put down the ceiling light I was rewiring and answer. Once the chocolate was depleted and there were only monkey nuts left, half the kids sauntered off with remarks like "I don't like peanuts" or "I'm allergic". blood boiling time.

I called them back. Only the ones who griped, mind. Each of them got a swift knock offa my plasma rifle, the parents too. Then I blinked, realising that hadn't happened and shut the door so I could complain loudly to everyone else about the little brats.

If I ever have kids, they're definitely not going to turn out like that. Because if they do...

...and that.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

NNDB: tracking the entire world

The Notable Names Database (a product/site of Soylent Communications), is something I came across the other day. It's a veritable who's who of people both living and dead.

There's an interesting wikipedia stub on it (interesting in the fact that it links to more interesting material, rather than being interesting in and of itself...) here

Sunday, October 16, 2005

The no-tech room

More and more, ubiquitous computing is becoming the norm. Everything is smart now, your television, radio, even the lighting system in your home... But what about those times when we need to escape from it all? Where do we go? What do we do?

I have an answer, but you may not like it. Set aside a room in your humble abode and devote yourself to making it a no-tech room. We have one. The most technologically advanced items in the room consist of an NTL point (which serves an entirely different room by way of extension cabling), the lights (ordinary bulb with switch variety) and a mechanically driven clock. That's it. No computers humming or televisions to numb our minds. It's just a room.

But what, you may ask, would one do in this room? This is another outrageous answer in this, the information age. Read.

That's right. I said it. Forget your RSS feed. Forget the tiny news snippets that the online generation has become used to. Go to a shop (or to your bookshelf). Pick up a book. Read it. Sit in silence with only the words on the page and the narrator inside your head to entertain you. You never know... it might just work!

...and that.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Welcome back...

And so it begins. Final Year. Thirteen hours of lectures for 18 weeks. One final year project. Four exams. Then freedom from college, and into the shackles of the ratrace. I think it's a fundamentally flawed attitude that we should have to work till 65 or later. You know why people used to work that long? Mostly because they either didn't make it that far, or didn't live much longer after retirement (therefore not being a burden upon their family etc). But that's bullsh*t. Not how I'm going to do things thank you very much. If I work that long, I'll live doing something I love.

Been working on that reading list. In the middle of Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution by Steven Levy. Very interesting read, everything from Spacewars in MIT to the formation of Apple Computer Inc. Left it in college last night, so I picked up another book that had been in the pile Mitch Albom's Five People You Meet in Heaven. A very easy read. Well thought out and written. I'd call it a pageturner save for the fact that every other person describing a book uses that phrase. It's a good book, put it that way.

Feels strange being back in college. Every year up to now we've had between 20 and 25 hours lecture time a week. Only thirteen this year. Spending time in the society room when I'm not in lectures. Thinking of purchasing a laptop, so I can get work done while in the room.

...and that.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Ryan's Rules

Rule Number Nine: Base life on individual strength not individual weakness. Then, when you've become strong, look from the strength of one towards the strength of the many.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Ryan's Rules

Rule Number Seven: Happiness comes from within. So crack a smile, it'll definitely change your mood.

Rule Number Eight: We always condemn the most in others, that which we fear most in ourselves.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Trekking at the Weekend

Since last time I posted I've been trekking in the Wicklow Mountains National Park in Co. Wicklow, Ireland. It was good to get outdoors for a while again. Luckily, the trek this time wasn't as tough going as the last one I was on two years ago down in the Comeragh's in Co. Waterford. It had been a long time since I was in Glendalough last. Trekking and camping overnight is a much more enjoyable experience than the day trips I've been on before. As always, the scenery in Glendalough was stunning. I'm sure my photo's don't do any justice to it...

Here's the larger of the two lakes (Glendalough roughly translated means 'Valley of the Two Lakes'):

We started off from shortly before that, bypassing the tourist attraction of St. Kevin's monastery and it's Round Tower, and started off up a section of the Wicklow Way. Start time was around 9am, having left Dublin at 7.20am. Heading away from the Wicklow Way, and uphill, we aimed to ascend the first peak which was behind me when I took the next photo.

The first peak had a great view of the coast, and of the wind generators off of the Wicklow coastline. Unfortunately, being the top of the mountain, I was too tired and too cold to take the camera out of my bag to snap some photo's of it. Lying in among the rugged plantlife of the summit of the first peak.

We walked for a total of six hours before setting up camp. It had just started to rain for the night as we pitched tents beside one of the small streams carving their way through the valley. I'm not sure exactly how far away from the campsite the lads had last time we were, because vast swathes of forest had been taken down. It really was a shame to see the forest cut back like that. The beautiful landscape looked scarred with the grey path of clearings. And if that wasn't enough to make a Celt
cry, the muppets (presumably from Coillte) who had done the clearing had left oil barrels and all sorts of waste behind them.

From 4pm till 8am on Sunday morning the routine consisted of eating and keeping ourselves warm. Neil joined us at 10.30pm after doing some night navigation (the lunatic!). It took him about 2.5 hours to take a direct route to us from the carpark. We left the next morning under cover of fog to take a similar route back. Here's the view of the big lake from the opposite side from which we started:

By the time we reached the rocky path down along the lake, the new boots had gotten to my feet and I lagged behind somewhat. Twas a decent enough trip to have broken them in though. Got back to the house in time to have a shower and watch the match (Kerry vs Tyrone in the GAA final). Had a nice muscle soreness going on yesterday (and to a lesser extent) today. Looking forward to the next trip, although
that probably won't happen till February or March of next year...

...and that.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Ryan's Rules

Rule Number Six: You don't have to be ruthless to get on in life, but it helps to know how to be ruthless at certain points.

Ryan's Rules

Three more rules:

Rule Number Three: Hospitality isn't about the place, it's about the people

Rule Number Four: There is no such thing as an 'average' human being. If you resign yourself to being 'average', mediocrity will result. So be something starting now!

Rule Number Five: Cherish moments of inner serenity, they are often short lived.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I'm back

But you already knew that. You're so intelligent, aren't you?

Currently, the latest version of Acrobat Reader is downloading/installing. Yes, Adobe have gone the 'First download this small app, then we'll f your internet connection in the a$$' route. They might have done this a long time ago, but I didnt know about it, so I'm gonna moan for a bit...

They've redone their website using ajax, which is nice, but clearly the designers are lacking some skills. When you click the 'System Requirements' link, it still brings you to a completely different page, thus undoing any actions you've taken on the download page. Tsk tsk. (I've possibly been studying Usability in HCI too much). And the reason I downloaded? I was sick of pdf's displaying the 'There may be elements of this file you can't see because your computer is a mockery of burning parts' message.

Exams went alright. Perhaps this time, since I actually studied properly, things won't be as disappointing.

Saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory earlier in the cinema. Wasn't as good as I expected. Some funny parts, but it'll never beat the original. Good old nostalgia has made that into a better film than it ever was. Also, apparently I like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as a young child. May have to buy that on the pretense of giving it to my niece as a present.

I've a number of new Ryan's Rules to post. Also, have another meme I'd like to start posting things under, to be unvieled soon enough. Gotta write some more . Introduced a friend of mine to blogging recently, she's been posting some pretty interesting stuff, check her blog out Brocolli for Breakfast (Hey Beth!).

Anyway, enough from me, how are you?

...and that.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Exam-time again

Exams are coming soon, so I'll probably not be posting until they are over.

Monday, August 22, 2005

I'm amused

I find it funny that I can still be amused by the different euro coins. You know how it is, you're used to seeing the harp on the back of a coin. It's pretty cool to come across a German, Spanish or French euro coin with a different design on the back though.

Spent a few minutes doing a mockup for . You can find it here. It's nowhere near finished but that's the general palette I'll be using.

...and that

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Ryan's Rules

Rule Number Two: There are three things in life. You. The people in your reality. The things you do. The second two aren't even that important.

[Edited 23:54 03/09/2005: typo, thanks abigail...]

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

My reading list is growing

Well it is. I've been downloading marketing books, stuff on css/xhtml, gathering tutorials for photoshop etc, and generally trying to learn a lot in a small space of time. I've also been writing tutorials and tips 'n' tricks for the knowledge base on dodublin.

Things I still need to do are:

  1. get a comprehensive list of sites and directories to add dodublin to once it goes live

  2. develop a template for the existing content on dodublin

  3. decide what conventions to use in reviews etc on the site

  4. get the site up and running (even if only in a dreaded 'beta' form

Something inside me tells me to steer clear of a 'beta' site. I won't go off on one about publishing a beta site, but it has become all too commonplace for mainstream sites to add a beta tag to their banner/logo/whatever to compensate for poor or untested design. What happened to standards?

In a related side-note, I downloaded excerpted chapters from Zeldman's Web Standards Book. Looks to be quite good. Now if I could only find time to read it...

...and that.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 and other news

finally got hosting sorted for dodublin. went through cgchannel. if you visit their site, don't forget to take a look at the preview and interview on Prey Alone. they basically resell for Solutions Sherweb, a Canadian based firm. still waiting for DNS to propagate though, so you'll get a host not found if you try to visit.

gonna work up a design in the next week or two. already have the starting content and some extraneous stuff that I may set up a dev subdomain for.

work's going well. got an email from paddy the other day, he seems to be in crackin' form. must send him an email.

still working on that database system in work. downloaded swt designer. pretty sweet, but I only registered for the free version. no way am I paying $199 for something like that.

looking into getting either a dual cpu or dual-core system by the end of september. also on the 'to get' list are a printer, scanner and either paint shop pro or photoshop elements. gonna offer services from dodublin seperate from the site itself.

next steps with dodublin are probably registering as sole trader (unlimited liability company) and registering a trademark or two. copyright should hold me over in the meantime.

attended the sfsoc meeting there on monday. some good plans for freshers week. i'll leave it there for the moment.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Ryan's Rules

Rule Number One: Always make time for people you respect.

More rules to follow.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Eclipse NSIS

I've been working with NSIS in work to create an install system for new users. Instead of having to set up a new computer manually, all I would have to do is run one application and have everything installed and configured automatically.

NSIS is the Nullsoft Scriptable Install System. (Yeah, it's the same Nullsoft of Winamp fame...) Anyway, using the latest eclipse install (3.1), I've been monkeying around with the NSIS plugin, EclipseNSIS. Very professional installers can be made with very little hassle. Even a perfuntory knowledge of windows helps alot.

One thing I really like about the new job is the fact that I may not retain the rights to any of the software I write there, but they can't stop me from gaining experience. Heading to Carlingford next weekend with the office. Should be great craic.

Launching dodublin soon. May move the blog to there, but there'll definitely be a development section. I'll probably publish tutorials on NSIS, some installers (for example, for eclipse) and other dev. info I find useful.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Selective writing

I realised recently that I'm not completely honest in posting. I reckon it's part of the fact that this blog is entirely public and that I don't necessarily need everyone and anyone knowing my business.

Anyway, enough introspection. The linux box I had set up the other day was running the presentation too slow, so today I was set the task of giving it a little speedup and then setting up vnc. UUUUGHGHGHHHH!! Spent the morning trying to get the thing working. Eventually got the IP address sorted, ssh & vnc working locally, but not much else. Ended up giving up performance and linuxy goodness to have something running. (NT is a behemoth compared to linux...) I have vowed to get the linux box up and running again though. I have to say, I quite like Fedora Core, coming from Slackware it's quite user-friendly, more bells and whistles rather than harsh (but lovable) text-based config screens.

Got paid today. If I can make the last paycheck from the old job last until next month I should have a car by August. Now I need to book the Driver Theory Test and get the provisional before I find out how much I'm going to be taken for on insurance, tax etc. Going to Portumna next weekend and possibly going to have a look at some cars while there.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

P.S. Experts Exchange rank

In the time between I posted last about the whole EE thing, I've gained ranking. I currently stand in 17,151st place out of around 60,000 'experts'. Not bad going really...

Also, I'm currently working on, it's going to be a promotional website for my home city (Dublin, Ireland). Hopefully it'll become popular enough if I incorporate user-feedback etc. Currently looking for a host. At the moment the domain just points to my netsoc account.


The new job is goin' well, pity it's only for the summer. Would love to fast-forward a year and be finished college. Results out on the 4th, supp's between 12th and 24th of september. All I can do at this stage is wait.

Accomplished something cool in work today. Got to use linux! Set up a slideshow on a fedora core box which display's on a 42inch plasma screen in the lobby. Well slick. Was tricky enough getting the res and refresh rate correct for essentially what's a tv. Helped alot knowing the old school command line linux. Charlie had forgotten the root password, so booted it in single mode, then did a little bit of changing.

Signed my contract too. Learning alot of new & useful stuff. It's probably the best job I've had so far in an office for real-world type experience. Going back to college is gonna be a bummer, but hey, it's gotta be done.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Lazy summer days

Last Saturday in work today. Next Saturday I'll be free from hassle. May even venture down to Galway and do a bit o' maintenance. Got home and fired up the barbeque. Was a little annoyed that I came in the door and was handed twelve jobs at one time though...

Once I got cookin' a little, everything was cool. Chilled with a couple of Stella, the old wifebeater, ya can't beat it.

Finished tidying up about now, so I'm just gonna chill for the rest of the night.

Got email from Paddy and Will in the States. Looks like they're going well. Can't wait to get over there later in August. Depends on the exams I suppose.

Till next time.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Let the good times roll

So I finished exams last Wednesday, partied hard with the lads before they left for the states, handed in my notice, started my new job and had some good times since I last posted.

I'm workin' in my brother's office. Giving my notice was real cool. Got an understanding thank you and was told there was a possibility of me coming back during college next year. Nice. Whether or not I'll be repeating third year or doing my final year remains to be seen.

Almost all of the blogs I've been involved with have been quiet enough since the 26th (of May), 'cept this one, I managed to post once during the exams...

Gonna be doing some major development over the summer. Hopefully I'll get a chance to visit the boys in the states at some stage too.

Goals for the summer:

  • develop some software for VE:Net

  • get my license and get a car

  • open a credit union account (start the bankrolling ;] )

  • upgrade the 'puter and do some work on the rest of them

  • start writing more for bloody edges

So, that's it for this update. Keep an eye out for updates on VE:Net as well as in my life. Later

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Social Status

Do you believe in social status? There's the book 'Status Anxiety',
people are having quarter-life crises, everything is going pear-shaped
in society. What's the deal?

I was thinking about Rank, or status a couple of moments ago and
thought I might do a little entry about it. I mean, anything to avoid
studying. Then again, it's a quarter past midnight on a friday
night/saturday morning. Shouldn't I have something better to do
anyway? Probably not.

Just checked out some of my account details over on Experts Exchange. I'm
ranked number 31,403. Impressive or what! Not.

I've been experimenting with optimized blog settings on one of my
other blog's Bloody
. I haven't as yet changed any of the templates on any of
the blog's I admin, which I suppose is disappointing, but hopefully
once I've got the exams out of the way I'll start with the

Got alot of bookmarks accumulating that I'll have to take a look at
after the exams are over. Till next time, stay slick.

[Edited: 00:25 14/05/2005 Reason: Seemingly, you can't post html code via mobile posting...]

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

False Evidence Appears Real

FEAR - that's what the above stands for.

15 days remain until my first exam. That's two weeks if I take a day
off. Bummer. There's gonna be a whole lotta study done between now
and then. I've already started too! That's a huge surprise.

I don't feel any pressure, in fact, I'm probably too relaxed about the
whole thing...

If I glance over to my bag on the floor there's a shape about the
thickness of two reams of paper in it. That's all of this years
notes. Too damn many if you ask me. I'd love to restructure the
course I'm doing. I mean, anything I remember from college is usually
programming stuff, things I've actually hands on programmed or
modified, not any of the academic stuff I've been asked to learn.

I'd love to set up a new computing institute (kinda like that 'hacker'
one they opened in the states) and have everything coursework and
practically based.

On with the study. Till next time.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Under Pressure

The Final Year Project options came out today. Some lecturers filled their quota of 4 students within a couple of hours. So that means some of the easier/more interesting projects have been taken.

I've got three options I'm considering at the moment. I won't tell until I get confirmation on a project though. Just in case...

It's a bit annoying that we've to make this choice now. It essentially sets a career path up or else will prove to be a setback if you happen to pick the wrong choice for yourself. One decision, many consequences.

They haven't announced whether or not all of the final year options will be taught next year yet. Typical Trinity though, keep the students in the dark for as long as possible, then f them over.

20 days remain.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Cram Session Rising

I put my Final Year Options form into the CS office yesterday. Put CG first, Mobile Comms second and Internet Apps third. I didn't bother filling in any of the others. Some of the other options were just too hard to place before each other. By rights, I should have marked all of the rest with an eight.

Printed off the exam papers today. 22 days till my exams start. Yipee! I see a Cram Session Rising.

Was reading some of the blogger hacks. Quite nice. Considering writing a fictional blog as a kind of sub-real-time novella. Think of it as 24 in blog form. (Although, not on the same topic at all).

Anyway, off to print some notes & really begin the cramming.

Monday, May 02, 2005

A Productive Weekend all round

I love long weekends! The mayday weekend especially. In the same weekend you get the first day of summer, Monday off from college/work/whatever & alot of things done!

I cycled to work on Saturday & Sunday. Oiled up the gearing system and the gears stopped 'skipping'. Charles suggested that the reason they were skipping is because the chain twists when there's no oil on it. Had to buy a mudgaurd for the back wheel because my arse & back were soaked on Saturday morning when it was raining.

Drilled the wall and hung the mount for my punching bag this afternoon. Couldn't resist giving it a try, so I wrapped up my hands and had a bit of a boxing session. Must go back kickboxing this summer.

Got an email from Ciarsie there today. He put up some photo's with comments from NYC and Karen's 21st. Funny as hell.

Anyway, my exams start in 24 days. Yay!!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Panorama of the End Times

Exams are coming! Feck!!

Got the elusive bicycle pump attachment yesterday. Found out why they were so hard to track down too (seemingly, the company that imports them liquidated recently). Gonna cycle to work at the weekend.

Finished the software engineering project. Was quite basic & lacked major functionality. Hopefully a pass though. Didn't get any SWT done for it, but have been following the SWT intro course from the University of Manitoba. I like SWT, although the size of the jar file gets quite large when you include the SWT by default.

Sorted the stack of notes that had been sitting by the door of my bedroom for the past while. I thought it was this years notes, possibly combined with some of last years. Turned out I had notes from the very first day of first year of college in there too, along with bills and some other nastiness.

Felt good getting things done. I'm going to start studying tomorrow. Exam timetable should be published either by the end of this week or early next week. Roll on!

Monday, April 25, 2005

The neverending quest for a bicycle pump attachment.

Worked this weekend. With more success than last weekend. Only made it in for three hours Saturday last weekend and had to leave. Spent Sunday and Monday in bed feeling vile.

The ongoing quest for a bicycle pump attachment is annoying but fun. If you know what I mean. The hardware shop near work is closed at the weekend. The local hardware shop only had the attachment for racer (track) bikes. No good to me. The toy shop, which used to sell bikes but now doesn't, doesn't have them (not actually that surprising). One helpful person told me I could cycle down to the bike shop on the way to work. Yeah, I saw her point immediately. Why would I be looking for a pump attachment otherwise?! I'll probably stop by the bike shop when I've the chance. The really ironic thing is, once I get the tire's reinflated I have to cycle down to the bike shop anyway to get the gears fixed on the darn thing!!!!

Have been thinking more about the FY options. Probably going to pick CG & Mobile Comms. The prospect of messing around with phones in engineering mode is pretty cool.

Was talking to charles about the CG option. He seems to be interested in what it's comprised of. He told me that Buzz was going to be doing a vtm series on creating a crowd generation app using OpenGL. I'm well interested. It might be interesting to do a final year project along those lines...

Totally failed to get the point of Test Driven Development for the project due tomorrow until an hour or so ago. After I had written the code. Still have Unit tests to write, a report to produce and I need to clean up the source tree. Didn't attempt a GUI. My exploration of SWT proved to be very interesting though. I'll prolly keep that up over the summer. I'll also need to produce an ant buildfile. All this for a little under 11 hours time?

Good times, good times...

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Final Year Options

That's right folks, presuming I get my exams this year, next year will be my Final Year. Ever. After that, I will (by law) no longer be allowed to exist. It's a pity. I haven't even released my first project on the internet...

Anyway, Thursday & Friday had me attending two lectures specifically about the Final Year options for our course next year. In all, there's eight options available to ICT students and twelve available to CS students. The b**tards!

Among the eight I can choose from are:

  1. Artificial Intelligence II - Saturnino Luz

  2. Advanced Databases & Information Systems

  3. Computer Graphics & Virtual Reality

  4. Computer Vision

  5. Mathematical Modelling

  6. Systems Modelling & Specification

  7. Mobile Communications

  8. Internet Applications

So far, my three top preferences are CG, Mobile Comms and Internet Apps. I'm not quite sure if I want to do Mobile Comms or Internet Apps, but I definitely want to do the CG option. They're gonna offer courses based upon numbers of students applying for each. I hope that there's enough people for them to offer the CG option. Among the things taught in that course are OpenGL programming & 3dsMAX. Since Charles is into that sort of stuff & he's got all the 3DBuzz sorta stuff, I should have a little bit of a helping hand along with that.

I've got till the 5th of May to submit my choice. Pretty soon so. Only a coupla weeks left in term. Bummer. Gonna be the long hard road outa hell for this years exams I think.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

C'mon guys, lets stop the charade, it was grey smoke

I don't really care that there's a new pope. I'm posting about it anyway though, aren't I?

Well no actually. That was just to tease you into reading this post.

I've decided to tackle the '101 books' list over the summer, give the price of each book & the value I thought it had (from reading it), the total satisfaction rating will therefore be based upon the handy formula: (Price of Book) - (Perceived value). Each time a book is finished I'll publish it's results, followed by the current total satisfaction value. Somewhat like Dave Gorman's Happiness meter (I can't remember the exact name for it, but it was in the show where he followed his horoscope & his mate didnt & they compared their happiness...).

I could even expand it into a site of its own, letting people suggest books, rate them, for a period of time (like a month or two), then read & rate them, use an average cost for the book based on aggregate figures & every year publish a total figure (positive or negative)... It's an idea I may have to look into.

That's enough of me writing stuff then elipses though. Till next time.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Do you respect other people's passwords?

Today I was sitting in the computer lab in college. I was going between doing some code for a project, creating a PowerPoint presentation for HCI and some other things. After I got an email, I decided to update A Couple of Donkeys with some pertinent information that had been pointed out to me.

So, everyone knows that to update your blog you need to login. Right? Anyway, I was about halfway through typing in my password when I noticed that the girl sitting next to me was snooping, looking at the keys I hit while typing in my password. I rotated my head to look at her. She looked away quickly. How annoying is that? I've had to change my password now because of that snoopy-nose *****.

What's wrong with people these days that they've got to know everything. Even things which don't concern them in the least. GRRRR!!!! Get's right up my nose.

In other developments, we've added a new contributor to A Couple of Donkeys. We'll prolly have to change the subtitle from 'Viral Media Exposed' but I hope that the new direction the 'blog takes will prove to be interesting.

Watch this space for another exciting post, same bat time, same bat place, tomorrow or the next day.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Actually, its 101 books

The list I put up on my site yesterday is actually 101 books to read. One of the lads pointed it out to me when I was talking about it with him. Bearing this in mind, there's one more book I noticed shouldn't be on the list (because of the reason I gave for not wanting to read Anne Frank's Diary...). It's Captain Corelli's Mandolin. I'm not going to read it.

In the news the other day was an item about the IMRO (Irish Music Rights Organisation), the Irish equivalent of the RIAA. They're part of a legal action prosecuting 973 file sharers around the world. 17 of these people are from Ireland. They're sharing files on some p2p network or other. Are the people at IMRO completely stupid? Or are they trying to hit consumers where they've been hitting them for the past number of decades? In the pocket...

Instead of taking legal action against filesharers, these companies should be bucking the trend. It costs around €25 to purchase a single CD of music here in Ireland. A rip-off by anyone's standards. So, to combat the downturn (if any) in sales, music organisations prosecute individuals for sharing files, not lower prices, or display ingenuity, or talent...

Makes me sick.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

100 books you should read before you die, riiight...

Yesterday I was reading The University Record. It's one of the student newspapers in college. They've published a list of 100 books you should read before you die. You can get the list here [plaintext, approx 4kb].

It's not immediately obvious who wrote the list, or why exactly one should read these books. Having looked at the list myself, there are only three books I have deemed unreadable in my eyes. The other 97 are countable on my reading list. (Oh, I've read 10 of these, so the 'to read' count is currently only 87).

The three books I've deemed unreadable are:

  1. Anne Frank's Diary - Anne Frank [Reason: Too much 'lets re-live WW2' going on]

  2. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie [Reason: I just don't like Salman Rushdie]

  3. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte [Reason: Don't get me started on this...]

Besides all this, good on the record for being such a coherently published newsrag.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

If you haven't seen this yet...

then check it out. It's seriously cool, although I'm afraid I'll never quite understand why MIT students call studying 'tooling'.

NASA World Wind & other cool software

So today in our HCI tutorial (Human Computer Interaction) we were doing some stuff... as we generally do in tutorials. The lecturer had left her 17" apple laptop (lucky!) plugged into the projector & her screensaver kicked in. It was a pretty cool demo of software that tracks a number of sattelite networks and tells you where they're pointed at and what they're looking at or doing. Among them I noticed NOAA & GPS sats. The view rotated around the earth every couple of seconds but it was truly impressive.

I was talking with Richie about it & I asked him if he had seen NASA's World Wind project. He had, we talked about how impressive it is & we both wanna download it. I thought it was a gig or so to download but it turns out that the requirements are 2gigs of HD space (to store the data) & the actual download is only ~170mb. sucky thing is though, .NET runtime & DirectX are required also. For an opensource application it's not really endearing itself to the opensource community with those requirements.

missed going to the gym today & yesterday. heading there tomorrow. also was talking to cha, watch this space for bortTV! that's all I can say for now though...

oh yeah, before I forget

today started out utterly beautiful. sun was shining and all that. then the weather came along & decided to spoil things. got a little sunny in the evening time too.

btw, check this text generator out. it's a fairly decent replacement for Lorem Ipsum

Got it from a post on BoingBoing

buildtools, debugging & general java messyness

so today in our Software Engineering lab we were playing around with Ant, a java buildtool. Setting up the environment variables was tricky (but nothing that couldn't be sorted fairly easily after a couple of abortive attempts...) and the coding of the build.xml file was straightforward enough, javadoc'ing through ant is a PITA though. no matter what I tried, ant kept giving me some cr*p about Packages & Source files being either missing or unspecified. Since we've got to build our final project for the year using Ant I reckon I'll try to get javadoc working before the end of the week. Also need to start learning the basics of gui building using java. I spose I should also start learning to debug with eclipse.

Two questions. Why did they decide to teach us Java? (As opposed to C++, Python etc...) Also, why didn't I do Computer Applications in DCU instead of ICT (which only gets me a B.A. Mod, not a B.Sc.!!!) in Trinity.

They'll probably never be answered though. So feckit.

The Java MMU simulator is due on friday. PHUN! Going to hopefully get most of that done tomorrow. I get the feeling it may be another PITA though.

Been proofreading some more LinuxNetMag articles. Took a look at their site stats. An average of 55,000 visitors a month! Fairly impressive.

24 getting really good. SkyOne just showed hour 0600 - 0700. Gonna be real good.

Still looking for work placement this summer too...

Sunday, April 10, 2005

shuffle still behaving oddly

but, fortunately it seems to have started to charge. leaving it plugged in as a removable disk seems to let it charge ok. picked up a USB 2.0 hub. now i'll be able to have my memory stick, my webcam, my palm, my wireless usb connector & a free port all hanging outa my computer!

went into the 'official' apple dealer in dublin yesterday...the guy I was talking to obviously had no clue about the shuffle. when I asked him about a dock for the shuffle he looked at me blankly for a moment and then replied that "there was no such thing"... also when asked about a charger he said there was none (which is true) but he failed to mention the fact that apple sells a battery pack for the shuffle. this is what wrecks my head about people working in computer related stores that have no clue about computers, they can't sell anything worth sh**.

from this moment on, I refuse to buy anything from anyone who doesn't know about their products. and yes, that means no more fruit or vegetables unless the individual in the shop knows where they came from & when they're in season. (not)

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Seemingly, my USB ports aren't 'high-power'

So, for the last number of days, the battery indicator on my iPod shuffle has been 'amber'. Personally I think its more of an orange colour. But I've been 'charging' it first of all using a USB extender cable (no effect), then directly into the USB port (none either!). Apple sell a dock for $30 (no doubt around €50 here in Ireland, what with markup & general 'we want to rip you off'-ism) but I assume that this is a USB extender in disguise.

I've google'd for a solution and found these results. There's also the 'USB-battery' version 2 from Hack-a-Day.

I'll be working tomorrow, which means I'll be in town & can find something there. No way am I going to let the shuffle run out of power & have no music to listen to on the DART. I mean, someone might talk to me or something... scary!

Other stuff that happened, the Maths test was on today. Five exam style questions to do in an hour. Got two of them but I totally blanked when it came to a proof I had supposedly learned off (thanks brain!) and couldn't explain another question well at all. Attempted all of them so hopefully I'll pick up some attempt marks too.

Thinking of resurrecting the Palm Pilot (m515) I have but haven't used in ages. That, and some of the other hardware I have lying about. I'll have to upgrade the main computer (legion) during the summer. And sort out the operating system situation, and save for an iBook (all the hackers have them now...), and get driving lessons, and get a driving license, and save for a car, and on and on and ariston...

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Am I missing a day?

So all day today I've been marking the date on the upper right hand corner of my pad as the 6th of April. I don't recall the 6th being yesterday AT ALL! I think there's something going amiss here.

In other news, stress from studying for this darn maths test is giving me lovely big headaches. Fantastic!

Check this out: YaGoohoo!gle. Someone decided to get the best of both worlds by mixing Yahoo! and Google search results together. They appear in two frames, one either side of the screen like pages in a book. Pretty darn cool!

Well, back to the study...

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

I'm not on the Rich List this year either!

For those of you know may not know about The Rich List, it's a list of the richest 1,000 people in the UK & Ireland. You may or may not also know that again this year, I'm not on it. "Why?," I hear you ask. (The Rich List is published by The Sunday Times).

It's because I don't have an estimated net worth of €23million. That's the least amount of money you'd need to be worth to get onto the top 250 Irish millionaires, if you want to get into the rankings of the UK one you need to have a net worth of £31million. That's alot of dough.

Someday, though, be it because of a favour an editor owes me, or because I made it big-time with something or other, I'll be on that list. I wouldn't rule out the latter, but the former definitely seems more likely.

Another item to go on the list is to build myself a dry laboratory (one consisting of computers, a wet lab being a proper science dealy with chemicals and other stuff). I was reading an article in Wired Magazine recently about a guy that used a Midi-sequencer-like program to play around with DNA using Computers in a dry lab environment. Think of the possibilities if you had a computing cluster (possibly like a Beowulf one, or perhaps a Stone Souper Computer)...

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Baby's got a temper

Not getting the sleep I need. Keep sitting up at night in front of the computer. Not good.

Was thinking about how I'm going to get a linux box running. I've got a feeling that I should leave it till after the exams to start messing around with the boxen. Probably going to write an article for linuxnetmag about resurrecting deadhead. (It's a headless thin-client I've been messing with). I need to decide whether I should put a graphics card in it or use the on-board graphics memory & stick something more useful inside...

Got the topics we covered last term in Maths. These are all potentially on the test on friday:
- Tree proofs
- Referential Transparency Proof
- Modelling Arithmetic
- Modelling boolean algebra
- the Substitution Lemma
- Existential Equality
- Consistancy & Completness

These are all Lambda-calculus topics. Not exciting.

Went to the gym today. First time since going back to college. I'm quite sore, but it's a good soreness. Last time I was in the gym was February 9th. That sucks. Thinking of changing over to the 2nd of the 10 workout plans I have.

To do:
- finish reading The Abs Diet
- start actually eating to that (what I've done so far is good, but not enough)
- sort out college stuff
- secure a job for the summer (that pays decently)

Oh yeah, the Trinity Ball was launched the other day. Lineup looks sucky enough, here's hoping for a good one next year.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Darn cats

So, as you may know, cat mating season starts round about now. I came home from college today to find a tomcat stalking the cat that lives with us. (notice i didn't say my cat, it's not mine...) I made a quick decision and decided to cockblock the tomcat, if he wants it, he can get it when I'm not around thank you very much.

First day back in college since March 5th. Last night I was thinking, "I'd much rather be going to work tomorrow than college." It's getting bad, 6 weeks of lectures, a week for study and then exams. If it were up to me, I'd find a job and not bother returning. But it's not. Only the belly-button fluff can tell me what to do now...

The shuffle is going really well. Really tempted to do some modification on the thing. That'll have to wait though. Needless to say, if I do start modding it, my first stop will be here.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

The 'Next Blog' button rules!

In order to have a look at other people's blogger blogs I've been using the 'Next Blog' button on the topbar of my blog.

Just read the latest post on Murk's World and I had to quote from it:
"It reminds me of a little triffle my father spun off one time, when, reflecting upon the stark realities of the fairer sex, he was heard to remark: Never trust something that bleeds for a week and doesn't die."

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Sleep patterns, etcetera

mmmm, sleep.

got a full eight hours last night. i slept for about three and a half the night before, then worked for about twelve hours knocking down a poured concrete wall using a lump hammer & chisel. as one of the lads in work said "like building the pyramids"...

it feels good when you sleep for eight hours straight, have a couple of dreams and wake up refreshed.

installed the guyPod shuffle too. rockin' on my way to work this morning. (it's a guyPod now, by the way. like Yorkie bars, it's not for girls).

thinking of starting to offer computer maintenance & tutorials. prolly print up some cards and post them in the local supermarket. i've heard you can get quite alot of business that way.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Procrastination rocks!

I find myself doing the most mundane things to avoid college work. I cleaned the house, thought about cleaning my room & proofread an article for Now I'm posting on the auld blog. Avoidance is becoming an issue.

I've got six more weeks of lectures, one for study and then five of the toughest exams I'm likely to do until next year. What am I doing?

Not studying, that's for sure

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

First post

In retrospect ones first post will always come back to haunt them, so I've deleted mine...
About this Blog
I'm currently playing around with the Layout for my site so if there are any glitches or weird bugs please bear with me. I'm slowly but surely cannibalising someone elses work and making it my own. Going from spiderman to something else altogether hopefully. Any comments please email me: nocent -at-
I'm a fightin', f*ckin, pinchin', robbin', stealin', fleecin', eatin', drinkin' man.