Thursday, 2 December 2010


It took a while, but we eventually got around to handing in details to be registered at the local doctors. We'd had the paperwork for a while, but seemed to have trouble getting it to the building. We finally got around to it a few weeks ago though, and set up some appointments (general check-ups as we're new to the place). 

Monday, 15 November 2010


Have slowly been unpacking since moving to Luton. I've been moving house at least once a year for the past five years while at Uni, so never really had a huge amount of stuff to unpack all at once, because I'd only have to pack it all up again a few months down the line. That and I'd usually only have one room to unpack into, limiting what I am able to bring along anyway. 

Thesis results

I got the results from my Masters Thesis/project the other day; I got an A3, so very pleased at how well I did. I only got one other A3 (HCI) in my Masters, and with the rest of my modules I got A1's. 

Sunday, 24 October 2010

End of the Masters

Have been quite busy since my last post, mainly focusing on my Masters thesis. Lots of writing and some last minute changes later, and it was gradually printing out ready to be handed in. Printing took a while (lots of appendix pages), but it was all eventually done and handed in (I handed it in on the original deadline as it had been pushed back a few days) on the same day I moved out of the Hatfield flat. 

Monday, 2 August 2010

Sonisphere 2010

Me and Liz went along to Sonisphere in Knebworth this year, got a weekend ticket each and, luckily had a friend from Hatfield also going, meaning we could get a lift in each day and not have to camp (Liz is mostly against camping). This did mean longer trips there and back each day, as well as a long walk to/from the car, but it was nice to have a comfortable bed to go back to in the evenings (and non-smelly toilets, which was the main bonus for me as I like camping otherwise). 

Monday, 12 July 2010

Archenemy vs Archenemy

Had some spare time this evening, so me and my girlfriend decided to play one one on one Archenemy. We played in the release for it, and got the other two packs that we didn't get at the release, and this was the first time for us to play some of the other decks. 

She opted for the Dragon deck that I played at the release (Its really fun), and I went for the Zombie deck as that looked fun that neither of us had played. All the Scheme cards we own were in one pile so she went through them and took out duplicates so we'd only have singletons of each scheme card while we played. As it was one on one, we shared the scheme deck and took one each every turn. 

We both started on 20 life, and agreed that the first player would still draw a scheme, but not a card for the first turn. 

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Fun with M11 Two Headed Giant

After a nice sleep in, me and Liz travelled into London for the M11 pre-release yesterday. As we had slept in a fair bit, we arrived in time for the Two Headed Giant, but no other events. Caught up with some people there while waiting for the event to start. The room had emptied a bit but that may have been because we arrived at about 4ish. 

Friday, 9 July 2010


Having recently read about a slightly different way of doing sealed, and having some ROE packs laying around, I thought I'd give it a go with a friend of mine after a lecture yesterday. The two main differences between the mini-sealed and normal sealed is that mini-sealed uses 4 packs instead of 5 or 6, and has a minimum deck size of 30 instead of the usual 40. OK, I think they're both the differences.  I think the rational behind the 30 card limit is that constructed decks are 60 card minimum, and 30 is half that. I can't seem to find the article I read about it, but Paul (who I did the mini-sealed with) knew what I was talking about so at least I didn't completely dream it up. 

Sunday, 20 June 2010

"All Shall Smolder in My Wake"

Went along to the M:TG Archenemy [1] release event in London yesterday; it's a fun format. The Archenemy has a slight upper hand, even though they have multiple opponents working together to defeat them, with some additional powerful effects happening each turn benefiting them. All is not lost for the team, as there are multiple people (and resources) working together to try and defeat their powerful opponent. 

By the time me and Liz got to the London venue, there had already been a few Archenemy games started, with two waiting to start so we joined one each. With four of us getting to an empty table, the Archenemy was randomly assigned (it wasn't me), as were the Archenemy deck packs (I got the Dragon one). 

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Short post on time

I don't know why but I was thinking about time the other day. Mainly about when the day starts - midnight. But as most people get up when its daylight, this means they've been sleeping for the first 6-8 hours of the day. Just seems a bit odd [1]. Daylight savings is another thing that confuses me slightly, coming up to winter it seems to suddenly take away any sunlight in the late afternoon, not really saving it at all [2]. 

I remember reading somewhere about a proposal to have a 28 hour day instead of a 24 hour one. This ended up as 4 days of working during the week (but longer days) and still 2 days of weekend. The main argument for changing it was because people are staying up late anyway and probably not getting enough sleep as it is. That and there aren't that many professions that really require the daylight to work. I am currently sitting typing this and it is pitch black outside, but thanks to the wonder of light bulbs, I can still work as if it were full daylight outside. 

On a similar train of thought, I wondered about changing global time to just one time. Switch to the 24 hour clock, and have all countries use the same time. So when it is 02:20 in the UK, it is 02:20 in Russia. The difference would obviously be how much daylight there is in that particular country. It would just mean that instead sunrise being at, say, 7AM, sunrise would be a normal occurrence at, say 13:15 in one country and 22:45 in another. Its not the time that would be changing, just how we humans are labelling it. 

OK, maybe that wasn't such a short post as I originally thought; I may have spent more time writing this (hah) then I initially thought I would. 

[1] I mean nowadays. I think the system being used is in place because 'midday' is the middle of the day (obviously), when the sun is the highest in the sky, back when sun dials were being used it might have made a bit more sense. But then again, if using a 12 hour clock, midday comes at the highest number and not the middle one...

[2] I know, I know, it moves to the morning, but come on, who gets up that early? Pfft. 

Semester B Grades

Grades for Semester B were released last night, I got an A1 in Software Engineering Practice and Experience, and an A3 in Human Computer Interaction (I think I had an A3 in that one as we got coursework marks back, it being a coursework only module meant I could work out what I thought I would get, and I was right). 

Very happy about the results, as they are added to the 3 A1's I got in Semester A, so it's looking good for the Masters. 

All I've got left to do is complete my Masters Thesis; I have the whole summer to do this, and then that is the entire course completed, in a week or so short of a whole year. 

Back to working again

Just finishing the end of the first week of starting my Masters thesis. Had a fairly basic specification to start working with, and after a meeting with my project tutor I started on a few basic UML diagrams [1]. Been sorting out other meetings with other people involved. Filled out an ethical approval form, which I didn't have to do last year as I wasn't going to be interacting with people outside my course, luckily as I'll only be conducting simple interviews, all answers I gave matched the 'automatic approval' answers, so that should get back to me with little delay. 

Found a load of potentially relevant journal articles about the subject I'll be working on. Have read 3 or 4 so far I think. Fairly in depth (I guess that's IEEE articles for you though), requires a lot of concentration to follow it properly, so I'm going to have to get back into a concentrating mind set (I've been doing not much for the last few weeks). Been going through with a highlighter pen so far. 

Basic outline of project is as follows: look into various technologies to allow the automation and digitization of some (currently paper-based) forms, to allow different parts to be completed by different people at different times etc. This means I'm going to be mainly looking at workflow systems, probably Sharepoint, probably X-Forms (which is a standard from the W3 yet to be fully completed, I think), maybe pdfforms or whatever the pdf version is, and I might look into Google Wave as that's been opened to the public recently. Will have to see as the project progresses. 

[1] Never been too keen on UML, I guess now I get to use it in an actual practical scenario to see if it useful or not

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Life, The Uni, and PSiFA

It's been a long five years. But good ones. It is strange to think that five years ago I was doing A-Levels and getting ready to go to University, not knowing what to expect. Granted I've not completely finished my time here yet, it is the end of the academic year for most of the other students who went to Uni in Hatfield this year. This, along with going to the last PSiFA this academic year, got me thinking about my time here, and how the end of the (academic) year has crept up on me [1].

A lot has changed in the last five years. I have changed. I have lived in many different houses with different people. I have studied a large variety of different things covering a large range of my subject. I have met new people, lost contact with some, but still talk to many frequently, even though they have moved on from Uni.

Some things have stayed the same, or at least been somewhat constant. Friends I have had have been excellent, as have experiences I have had during the last five years been equally enjoyable. Some of my interests and tastes have remained the same, while also expending and finding new things.

Something else has been a constant throughout the last five years, initially new when I first arrived at Uni, but it has became a big part of my life. This is PSiFA. PSiFA is the Sci-Fi and Fantasy (and Anime, and Horror, and Cult, and board/card game) society at the University of Hertfordshire, and is the main focus of this post.

Thursday, 27 May 2010


Its gotten sunny recently. Which is always a good thing as its somewhat rare in Britain. I have even been without a jacket or coat for a few days (although I can't seem to find my jacket currently). Got some ice pops especially, they're really small, but came in large amounts so I usually go through about two at a time (which also means I get twice the flavour, huzzah!).


Had my birthday a few days ago (25th May), found out it was the same date as various other things. I turned 23, although I've not paid too much attention to birthdays for a year or so. Spent most of the day relaxing (finished coursework the other week and had no exams, so waiting to start my Masters thesis), although as I'd been doing that for a few days, I'm claiming the last week or so as an extended birthday relaxation fortnight. After the last summer, its nice to have an extended break (last summer I finished exams, started work the week after, finished work and started back at Uni after a weekend, so not too much time off). With good intentions I wrote down a short list of things I could try and get done, but so far have done about a fifth of them. 

Anyway, the main reason of this post is look at all the various other things that also happened on my birthday. 

Magic: The Gathering Game Day (London 2010-05-22)

Went along to the Magic: The Gathering Game Day in London last Saturday (22nd May). It was a standard tournament[1] and, while I had played standard decks both casually and occasionally in sanctioned events, not at this level of competitivness (its a game day, so not that competitive in itself, but like I said, I've not really played much competitive standard matches at all). The main reason I say its more competitive is because its the first time I have had to provide a deck list at an event. Just about got there in time and signed up. There were 18 other players I believe. 

Decided to play a deck I had made a few weeks ago, lots of goblins, and a few burn spells basically. I think its fun to play, although it is very prone to running out of steam if games run on too long. Have changed the deck a little since, but will note down what I think I played[2]

Masters year (Semester A and B)

Masters Year

This is going to cover what I've done so far during my Masters year, which should complete my 'trilogy' of posts catching up from when I used to write blogs. 

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Final Year

After finishing my placement, I moved out and back to Hatfield almost straight away, myself, Simon, Adam, Dave and Shane had found a house between Uni and Asda to live in for the year. 

Cucumber Software House

The name 'Cucumber Software House' comes from a team exercise in first year, when we were in a group and the lecturer (perhaps foolishly) allowed us to pick our own group name; 'Cucumber Software House' was what Dave shouted (after me and Shane had tried to make a backronym [1] out of rude words) out and it stuck. 

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Third year (placement)

Picking up where I left off (I believe some-when around the end of August), from September 2007 (seems so long ago...) I started working for a years placement at Anritsu in Luton. The degree I was doing at the time included a sandwich (mmmm) placement year, and that was to take place between second and third year.

Before starting work, myself and Dave (who also had a placement there) went looking for houses and soon discovered the main difference between student renting and non-student renting. With student renting, houses are allocated for a year ish (about 9 or 10 months usually) and are allocated from January, for that September. This is because the academic year is fixed, so student will all be started to move in at the same time, for 9 or so months, and all move out again over the summer (so the landlords can fix up any issues with the house (*cough* hole in the wall *cough* simon *cough*) for the next lot of student to move in). Unfortunately for me and Dave, anywhere that doesn't rent to students, will only give you about a week from reserving a place until you move in. So even though me and Dave were trying to be cautious and make sure we had somewhere to live for a year in advance, we had to wait around for ages until just before we were to start work for us to find somewhere. Luckily we managed to get a place reserved for two weeks before moving in, and I moved in about a week before starting work. We had a nice little place, about 5 minutes walk from work, 5 to 10 minutes from Luton town centre (although right at the top of a fairly steep hill), and fairly close to one of the bus stops of the Uno bus route. The flat itself was a living room and kitchen on one floor, and two bedrooms and bathroom up some stairs, with the flat itself being part of a larger house.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Blog re-start

Used to write blogs a few years ago on MySpace, the last one apparently being the end of August 2007, right in between the time of the summer after my second year of Uni finishing, and starting placement for a year. I guess I stopped because of a mixture of :
a. working full time meant I had less times to both write blogs and do things to write blogs about, so kept to the doing things without the writing about it
b. more and more people I knew started moving over to Facebook, so I was spending less time on MySpace

Thought I would start again, for no particular reason, looking at posting irregular updates (i.e. whenever I have free time/motivation) about nothing in particular (trying to think if I can make this sentence any more vague). If this is anything like how I used to write, each post will be filled with tangents (mainly in (probably nested) parenthesis), potentially somewhat lengthy, and I may end up arguing with myself, but oh well. As I can't see any smiley face icons in this editor, that it something that will be missing compared with my previous blog posts :( but I'm sure I'll do fine without.

Well, enough of the introduction, I've got about 3 years to try and remember and write down to catch up...