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.