Gareth’s blog

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Sunday

Robot friend

Si invited me to go to St. Andrews this Sunday as he was doing a short interview–style thing about his gap year in the morning service. Walking to St. Andrews was nice, the cycle bridge is still closed so I had an extended walk in the sun. I saw a lot more people going to church to, which was groovy. The service and NRG were really good. To the right is a genius drawing of the perfect robot friend, including large smile and eyes in the back of its head to look out for you. Splendid.

This afternoon I went to the station trying to get a few photos I need to send off and whilst unsuccessful was somewhat amused by the announcement “Can all bikes please be pushed on the platform, not ridden, this is a train station not a playground” and a guy trying to navigate through the cycle barrier in his car….

Monday, August 22, 2005

Statistics 3 and 4

During exams I managed to miss my Stats 3 exam, I accidentally turned up in the afternoon, about 4 hours late. Keith kindly tutored me and prepared me for a replacement Stats 4 exam in 12 days (doing a crazily good job, incidentally). A couple of weeks later the college received a letter as expected saying the module wouldn’t count and I’d get 0.

So when I got results on Thursday I was a little suprised to see I’d been given 100 for S3. Today I went into college to find someone to talk to and found Mr Thomas who tells me OCR seem to have changed their mind, though they haven’t used the score in the 12 modules for my A–level. Mr Thomas is amazingly inspiring...

Sunday, August 21, 2005

"This file has been blocked because it is potentially unsafe"

Si tried sending me some photos a couple of days ago via MSN and I started getting error messages like:

"[user] tried to send you a file (filename.mp3). This file has been blocked because it is potentially unsafe."

There’s a registry file available in a thread in the Mess.be forums, which disables much of the XP SP2 file security. Open it up and edit as appropriate before executing, and at your own risk.

Thanks to Catherine for helping me test this.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Work, today

Work was good today, if a little understaffed near the end. Jason found has found his wedding ring in a lady’s kidneys, which was fortunate. Max was his usual affable self and a few old faces including Nicky have returned, which is nice. It’ll be a shame when I leave Waitrose.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Chris and Rosie

I just got an e–mail from Rosie saying “me and chris are splitting up.” How lame. :-(.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Zizzi

Zizzi logo

For a congatulatory evening out we went to Zizzi. Great service, nice atmosphere and good range of reasonably priced quality food. There were somewhat deceptively unpadded chairs, though they weren’t particularly uncomfortable; the ‘Con Carne Piccante’ slightly hotter than I’d expected.

June 2005 exam results

So my 10th and final exams session is over and I’ve got my results. It seems strange that after 4 years I’ve finally finished A–level maths! Briefly I got 5 A’s and whilst not making the STEP requirement of my Cambridge offer have been given a place anyway! In more detail, my results:

A–level grades

  • Economics: A (505/600)
  • Computing: A (545/600)
  • Mathematics: A (515/600)
  • Furher Mathematics: A (556/600)
  • Physics: A (549/600)

STEP

  • Mathematics 2: 1
  • Mathematics 3: 3

and marks from the units that I’ve just sat:

  • Pure Mathematics 5: 98/100
  • Pure Mathematics 6: 95/100 [previous marks 68 and 70]
  • Probability and Statistics 3: 100/100
  • Probability and Statistics 4: 95/100
  • Rise and Fall of the Clockwork Universe/Investigation: 92/100
  • Field and Particle Pictures/Report: 90/110
  • Advances in Physics: 86/90
  • Economics of Development: 69/90
  • Economics in a European Context: 98/120
  • CPT4: 90/90
  • CPT5: 81/90
  • CPT6: 112/120

Which is a lot better than I expected, definitely after missing the S3 exam. Chris (who has had a haircut!), Si, Jonny and James all got into Cambridge but Dmitry’s going to UCL (Maths) and I hear Jialu wasn’t successful either, which is a real disappointment. On the plus side I think D’s content with it and it’ll be fun going visiting! Wing Yee/Catherine (Modern History at UEA), Megan (Law at LSE), Rosie (Oxford), Rich (Oxford), Cai (Maths at Warwick), Max (UEA), Sam O (Warwick), Sophie (Edinburgh) and Tom M-F (Latin American Studies at Liverpool) have got into their first choices and Will’s found a place at Oxford—his second choice. Nick doesn’t seem so happy about missing Birmingham’s offer and the prospect of going to Reading and seems to have ended up talking to some angry admissions tutors. Hopefully Reading will be good though, Holly [Waitrose] applied on her gap year and seemed to be looking forward to going so I figured it would be quite good...

Also, don’t try lifting your bike over railings when you’re out of practise.

Bike oil on shirt

Emmanuel College, Cambridge

I got two bits of post this morning. One telling me I’ve got 96p in my bank account and the other that I’ve got into Cambridge. Yey!

Results to follow a bit later.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Weekend away

So I’ve returned from a weekend away in Wales, which was quite nice. My grandparents, who we stayed with, have just got a new computer so there were lots of questions and bits for me to setup and install so I spent a wet Saturday morning in front of his computer. In the afternoon we went into Cardiff, and found out it was the Cardiff Big Weekend though the rain seemed to have driven lots of people away and there didn’t seem to be much big happening. Instead we went to an exhibition thing where everything was bilingual demonstrating either how little Welsh I’d learnt or how much I’ve forgotten and how similar a lot of Welsh words are to the English equivalent.

Sunday was much hotter, sunny infact. My grandparents didn’t go to chapel so I didn’t get the chance to try and follow their service! We went to a BBQ for Kate who’s leaving to go travelling in a week having completed her two years experience after qualifying as a radiologist. It was nice to see a few people, though it’s also strange how little we seem to know them. Everyone seems to have holiday plans for around Christmas as well so it might be a while until we see each other again! I’ve had a bit of an experiment with the (very few and not particularly good or relevant) photos I took by uploading them to a Flickr set. The site seems to be mentioned everywhere so I thought I might as well have a go, and it hasn’t turned out too badly.

This morning I saw Giles from Welsh, which was nice and have spent the day opening many many Word documents and making them look beautiful!

Buying from threadless.com

Cemal showed me threadless.com in mid-July while we were doing computing revision. It’s been sitting in my favourites for a while and I’ve rated a few designs. Last week “Loch Ness Imposter” was printed so I thought I’d order a print and give threadless a go.

I ordered on Monday morning, a day later my order was processed, the order shipped on Wednesday and arrived this morning. A week isn’t bad for global delivery but three–day despatch isn’t amazing. For $8 postage it would be nice to have order tracking really, but the total of $23, roughly £13, was reasonable. The shirt looks fine, here are some photos.

Back Front Folded shirt Loch Ness Imposter shirt Close up of neck

Thursday, August 11, 2005

August 11th

I had a nice–ish weekend. On Saturday I was on Deli all day—12 hours—with Max, whih was great, turned a mundane day into a rather good one. Holly, Kerry and Carl came in to Waitrose in the evening as well, so it was nice seeing them to. Unfortunately Jason lost his wedding ring and no one could find it, which was bad. I’m not in for a week and a half but hopefully it’ll have turned up in someone’s dinner.

Sunday was good, 13 of us, significantly more than the 8 of us the week before. Robert talked on John 7:47-52 and I milled away the afternoon tidying and lose ends, enjoying the end of my brace–free week before getting retainers fitted on Monday. They’ve been quite painful this week but are better now. I’ve been seriously contemplating following Sam K in trying to eat sandwiches with cutlery. I don’t remember it being particularly successful mind.

Last night I played tennis with Si, though Si was a bit tired after gym and basketball earlier meaning I did’t suffer too much. The guy shutting down seemed to be playing all the tricks in the book to get us out on time, we were clearly the last people there, the lights being turned off as we left each court and corridor.

Over the weekend I’m off to Wales for a day too see relatives, and it’s a week until results...

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Thunderbird and Firefox

I’ve been using Mozilla’s Firefox and Thunderbird for roughly a year and six months respectively and have had these comments lying around as a draft for ages, so thought I might as well post them.

First impressions of Firefox were good, and of Thunderbird not so great. I was a bit of a reluctant convert to Thunderbird, but coping with 500+ spam messages a day had got beyond Spamhilator’s capabilities and I needed to find something that would sort the spam problem and still remain stable.

So, I'm referred to Thunderbird attracted by it's free–ness, acclaimed spam filtering, recommendation from Simon, Jon Hicks’ involvement in the project and it being a Mozilla project. They made Firefox, which is superb.

Anyway, there are a few things that I don't like about Thunderbird. Lots of stuff didn’t seem intuitive, certainly not if I were a novice, but a few observations from installation and a bit of use.

  • When importing some of my e–mails from Outlook Express, my previous mail client, a bunch of—it would appear randomly chosen—e–mails were assigned crazy dates 06:28 on 06/02/2101 and a few junk mails 00:00 on 01/01/1970. This means I can’t order my e–mails by date (without putting the affected e–mails in a separate folder), but this doesn’t solve the problem as Google desktop search bunches all my e–mails together. I understand corrupt/missing header information isn’t Thunderbird’s fault, but some dialog telling me what’s happened, or letting me set some sensible dates would be nice. The date’s still appear fine in the messages in OE.
  • Changing the Account Name in the Account Settings box doesn't change the name on the left hand side until you click OK and re-open the box. Refreshing the form details is needed here, more an annoyance than a feature request.
  • As a target Outlook Express replacement, before I feel safe letting my (grand)parents lose, I’d think about the following:
    • There’s no ‘send and receive’ style dialog, which initially seemed quite strange. Having a visible option to disable the dialog would be fine, but no dialog doesn’t give the assurance of current progress—very useful when sending a large e–mail on a slow connection.
    • When viewing a message, pressing escape doesn’t close the window.
    • Alt + S doesn’t work as a shortcut for sending e–mails.
    • The import process creates accounts where e–mail addresses each have their own inbox. It’s a nice idea, but not what OE provides by default. For users with more than 1 e–mail account a brief option in the import screen would be really useful.
    • There's no password box on account settings, which is where I’d like to be able to enter my password, and click to “remember password” while I’ve got all the relevant information to hand as I’m setting up accounts.

Having said that it’s free and has performed amazingly at eradicating spam. Firefox has improved loads to, though Chris tells me he’s still waiting to be able to re–arrange tabs before he makes the move.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Sam’s 18th

Even after years at work it still suprises me quite how angry someone can get over the pricely sum of 60p. Anyway, Sunday was Sam’s birthday and he had a party in the evening. It was great to see Sam and loads of other cool people again and the evening was great. It didn't rain, and Andy provided his usual genius entertainment. I’ve noticed recently how much being at Hills Road meant I saw less of people at Netherhall, hopefully keeping in touch will work out better this year! A few photos from the evening are available in the photos section.

On Monday afternoon I had my braces taken off, and I’ve a week free of braces until I get retainers fitted next week. It feels strange, but good!