Yesterday I went for my course representative training in which we learnt about how the Hull University Union works, what we are expected to do to fit in to that and how to be a great, approachable course representative who gets things done for their coursemates.
We also learnt more about the university as a whole, our moral obligations to both the union and our fellow students. In addition to that we met a whole bunch of new people 😀
Part of the training was creating the monstrosity of a picture you can see above. It’s supposed to be the idealization of the perfect lecturer, each feature he has contains an alternate meaning:
- He has a big head and a brain protruding from it showing intelligence
- He has a captains hat & mustache to show he’s in authority and gets things done
- He has big ears to show he listens to his students problems
- The monocle shows he is classy
- He has a big smile to show he is easily approachable
- Under his suit, which shows hes professional, he has a superman outfit because hes great!
- He has a penguin on his shoulder, which was initially meant to be a parrot but im rubbish at drawing 😛 So it become the first and only penguin ever able to fly because of how inspirational the lecturer is
- He has a thumb up to show he actually solves problems
- And most importantly he has jet engines for feet to show how he quickly deals with issues
Course rep training was a fun experience and I can’t wait to start making a difference to the Department of Computer Science and the University as a whole, for the better 🙂
A few weeks ago I applied to be a course representative for Diploma Stage (Second Year) students within the Computer Science department at the University of Hull. Yesterday I received an email congratulating me on having been accepted as a Course Rep for the year :).
The role of a course rep is to interface with both their fellow students and the department/faculty in order to make sure the quality of life and education is as good as possible for each student. Therefore if you have any issues with anything on the course you shouldn’t hesitate to contact me or one of my fellow course reps through our university emails, or in person — this can be done confidentially.
My fellow student reps include my housemate James Czerwik-Hampshire as well as Scott Sanderson, Ryan Mitchell and Marty Hoyle
I look forward to trying to improve the department, starting with training next week!
Today was pretty good, and set me off on hopefully a very fruitful project!
The day started as most days do for me, with a mad rush to catch the bus to get to my first period lecture on time, which today was an IT and Professionalism Module Test, unfortunately that proved to be a waste of time as a design fault in the IT system (somewhat ironically…) stopped us from being able to log into the test page we needed on eBridge, so after 30 minutes of twiddling our thumbs the test was abandoned.
I then had an hours wait till an entertaining programming lecture with Rob Miles, followed by a Operating Systems lectures, followed by IT and professionalism — a busy 3 hour stretch.
After another hours wait in Sanctuary (the Hull Student Union bar) I headed to meeting room 4 of Student House for a seminar provided by the Oracle Education Foundation. Oracle is a huge multinational software company which owns a 42% share of the database market around the world. It is estimated that 80% of working people will have used at least 1 Oracle product today, a massive figure!
I don’t usually look favourably upon Oracle for the issues that have occurred with MySQL since Oracle aquired MySQL AB, however this seminar was absolutely fantastic and gave great insight into the technology sector job market and globalisation as a whole. Essentially due to previously undeveloped countries, such as India, suddenly becoming big in the technology coupled with remote employment (people working from home, anywhere in the world, with some “teams” spanning multiple continents) the amount of people applying for each Computer Science role has increased, meaning more competition — because of this each of us has to have as strong a list of skills and CV as possible.
Oracle therefore offer a competition to allow people to acquire and hone their skills and add to their CV, its called ThinkQuest as you may have assumed from the title. The outline of the competition is that you have a team of 1 – 6 as well as an adult (usually lecturer) team leader to guide you and you outline an issue that you feel needs solving, e.g. “children’s rights” and then develop a solution (either an application or website). The team who last year chose “children’s rights” as an issue created a website and games to raise awareness of the issue and came in second place.
Its a competition so it has prizes! These include
- Trips to San Francisco to meet top Oracle Developers for a week
- Money for your uni
- Chance to apply for a PAID internship
I will start this post with an admission, as anyone who has even spoken to me on the topic of Apple Inc or any of their products will tell you I really really dislike the company, their ideology, their methods, their attitude and their products. None of it sits well with my thoughts and feelings about computing. This isn’t an anti-jobs thread though — I must admit I was shocked and saddened to hear of Steve Jobs death when I woke up this morning and I think it is a great loss to the computing world and the world as a whole in some regards.
Perhaps the things that are most important that Steve Jobs and Co have left us are the popularisation of WIMP interfaces (you’re most likely using one now to see this post) and the idea of Hard-Drive based Portal Media Players — known to you and me as the iPod. Products such as smartphones, tablets and even app stores are great but Microsoft got there first on all 3 counts, Apple really innovated with the iPod and with pushing WIMP style interfaces though.
In the regard of how Jobs desire for “grandma friendly” computing really helped to push it to the masses I think he succeeded in his aim of “making a dent in the universe” and both himself and apple will be remembered for a long time.
In happier news though for programming 1 today I went well beyond the expectation in one of my frees and completed a WinForms based cinema age validation programme, which I will make available for a (rather pointless) download soon 🙂
As im extremely tired after 5 hours of labs/lectures today I bid thee goodnight!
Thanks for reading
Last night as I mentioned in my previous post I went to spiders with the Rock Society of the Hull University Union and Jess. It was totally different to any club or venue I’ve been to before. Its essentially a big house and garden in the middle of an industrial estate with 3 rooms, each dedicated to a different genre of rock, our favourite of which was the 60’s-80’s room which played classic bands such as Madness, The Selecter and The Ramones. We were also happy with the great variety of cheap drinks available — notably a special called The JUGular — a 6 drink jug containing two shots of your choice, two liquors and loads of soft drink — in our case Coke! It was so tasty, but also incredibly alcoholic! Yum.
Today I spent most of my time in Cottingham and Hull City Centre — with Jess — finding a reasonably priced place we could both eat which with her being vegetarian that was somewhat difficult. Eventually we settled on a small pub which offered a Sunday Roast Carvery for me and a Veggie burger for her. After that we spent a lot of time enjoying the compact, yet full city centre in hull which offers many shops, resturants and facilities. After only being here a week I can safely say Hull doesn’t deserve the reputation it gets, its an enjoyable place to live with great night life, friendly locals and a buzzing atmosphere. Unfortunately Jess also left tonight at 6:30 after a fun filled weekend of clubbing and student life! Fortunately ill be able to see her soon when she comes back to see the amazing Specials in just under two weeks!
Windows Phone 7.5 Mango running on the HTC 7 Mozart
As I posted yesterday I bought a HTC 7 Mozart, originally running Windows Phone 7, on O2 as part of a 24 month contract. Since then I have upgraded the phone to Windows Phone 7.5 using the slightly hacky method documented on WinRumours. The update has bought a lot of functionality that was missing from the original 7.0 release of the OS. Most notably custom ringtone support and multi-tasking, all of which are very well explained and reviewed on Ars Technica, so I wont delve into those so much — however I would like to bring to peoples attention some of the lesser of the 500 updates which I feel have a great impact!
The first thing I noticed when changing from 7.0 to 7.5 was perhaps one of the smallest changes to the OS — Emotions in text messages, whereas before the operating literally showed a string of symbols such as “:-)” if you selected a smiley face from the emotions keyboard it now shows some cool, single colour mango styled faces or icons depending on what you typed. Here is a collation of all the emotions produced by 1800PocketPC;
Another small but notable improvement was the fact that the phone now uses two different tones of your accent colour to differentiate between incoming and outgoing messages, rather than just using left and right. This is excellent UI design and makes reading texts a much more enjoyable experiance.
Other Aesthetic Changes
Another small aesthetic change is the improvement of the XBOX Live logo, which is now a lot more suited to the Metro Design the OS uses, before it felt ugly and out of place, but now it feels like a 1st rate application on the device. Yet another UI design change I like is the fact that Internet Explorers UI is now all at the bottom of the screen, rather than the top — this allows for a larger viewing area and in my opinion looks better. (IE also went from being based off of IE6/7 to IE9, a massive HTML5 powered difference 😉
Windows Phone 7.5 feels complete. In a nutshell it is what 7.0 should have been and is easily my favourite Phone OS due to its simple yet pretty look, mass of features and future potential (due to hopefully an influx of customers when Nokia release their device, and therefore an Influx of money hungry developers). I would definately recommend this OS to anyone — from tech savvy to totally technophobic — because it is simple enough for normal use (internet browsing, sending texts, making calls) but also extremely flexible for those who want a little more from their mobile device.
Thanks for Reading
(Unfortunately it was somewhat difficult to take a picture of me holding a bow and arrow, so here’s one of other people ;))
An integral part of University life is learning to do new things — its the entire reason I and everyone else is here, but this doesn’t stop at the subject you take or even academia entirely. This is where the Athletic Union and Societies step in and provide extra-curricular activies, trips and a great way to meet new people.
The AU had an event yesterday where all the different sporting teams showed up and tried to woo some new members into joining. As more of a geek than a sportsmen I wasn’t too interested, however I did pick up a free archery taster session leaflet which I used later today. Today was the turn of the societies, there was a good turn out with societies ranging from course specific — such as the Law Society and the Business Society — to political societies — such as Labour and Conservative — to religious societies such as The Islamic Society and the Christian Society. As you would expect there we’re also some random Societies such as HUGS (The Hull Union Go-Karting Society). Only two of those available really interested me, these were ComSoc, the computer society, and the Hull Rock Soc who organise nights out to local rock gigs and meet up to talk about rock music, fashion and news.
Today I decided it would be fun to give the free taster session of Archery a go as I had a day totally free of lectures. I met with the people who run the society at 1:45 outside HUU and we were lead to a large field on the other side of the campus which had 4 targets set up on it as you can see in the above picture. We waited for around half an hour for more people to turn up and then we were given the all important safety talk. Essentially do as you’re told and don’t hit anyone. After this we queued in front of one of the ranges, dependent on sex and height and then had to wait to take out thee shots. I missed the target with my first (I was holding the bow in a slightly cack handed fashion) and hit the outside blue and inside white with my other two arrows. It’s definitely a society I’m going to consider joining, I really enjoyed it.
After the archery I was starving so I went and had lunch and a pint of coke at the Sanctuary bar in the Student union, a hickory chicken and chips, a great choice! Whilst in the union I saw the O2 people, who are offering student deals all this week in the union on new contracts and PAYG phones. Being in desperate need of a new phone and coming to the end of my contract with the diabolical Orange I decided to opt for a 24 month contract (at £24 a month after haggling with the salesman — down from £27) with the HTC 7 Mozart Windows Phone 7 device. It looks like a beautiful phone and I shall review it once I receive it tomorrow!
Since then I’ve had a phone call with Jess and a Skype video chat with my family, both of which were very enjoyable. Tonight I plan to stay in and get on with some web design work I’ve been putting off for a while.
Thanks for reading,