Monthly Archives: October 2008

YouTube Gathering

Had some awesome week-end. Wanted to go down to London just for Saturday, so thought I’d try the Megabus down overnight Friday night, getting to London around 7:30 in the morning (so solving any accommodation problems), have the day in London, returning on the Saturday midnight run back up to Glasgow.

Well, it may have been cheap, and it may have solved the problem of paying London overnight hotel prices, but basically it was crap. Uncomfortable cramped seats in a vehicle that did not lend itself to encouraging sleep. Shit, an interesting experiment, but not one to repeat.

As for London, it was for a YouTube Gathering. A cross-section of YouTubers, some famous with thousands of subscribers, some just everyday users, all meeting under the London Eye at lunchtime, just to chill-out with each other for the rest of the day. Spent time around the Eye area, moved to Trafalgar Square (and suitably invaded the lions), across to the Science Museum (got in a little before closing time- just), then back to the Eye, the party generally splitting up around 10:00 pm. Met some amazing guys and girls. Managed to do some live uploading to BlogTV, though screwed up on the sound. Made various videos, now up on YouTube. A ***totally brilliant*** day out.

EeePC

Bought myself a new ‘toy’ an EeePC 901. Amazing little device. A 1.6 Gig processor with 1 Gig RAM for under £300. Slightly larger than A5, or similar to that of a hard back book.

Seriously excellent screen.

There’s been a lot of criticism of the keyboard, but if you want a machine to be that small, then you’re just going to have to live with small keys, and I’ve found it perfectly workable. It does take a bit of getting used to, but that’s tough and you quickly adapt. Battery life of around 6 hours, or allowing for a lunch break, a working day. If you want to carry its power supply, it’s very small and light.

O.K., so I’ve not had it for long, but it’s done everything I’ve asked of it. That includes using it to transmit live onto BlogTV (using my mobile phone’s data connection for internet access). However it is NOT a replacement for a desk-top or ‘standard’ lap-top, but if you just want something small and light to take on your travels that will do internet and office type stuff, or as a way of providing kids with relatively cheap (portable) computing power, ask no more.

Week 3

O.K., so we’re only into week 3, but by the end of this week we’ll be 1/4 the way through the semester already. Funny really, each time I mention this to the students, and then ask them ‘what have you learnt in this first quarter’, they all turn round and find some quite novel ways of expressing themselves back to me.
One or two are (at last) starting to think about their projects, I hope they get their fingers out soon, or we’ll have the usual thing of everyone turning up towards the end, wanting everything engineered and made up for them, all at the same time!
Anyway, by the end of next week it’ll be 1/3 of the semester gone! Oh well, exams before you know it!

Semester start.

Well, Uni’s started again, and the place is full of the usual crowd of lost souls wandering around (cluttering up the corridors) trying to find their lecture rooms and the like.
The computer labs have filled up. Not much study mind you, but lots of on-line games and catching up on YouTube and BeBo. There’s always one ‘silly game’ which becomes the favourite for that year – by this time next week it should become apparent what it’ll be.
I guess I’ll have to admit that it’s kind of nice to see some familiar faces around, and find out their marks from the previous year’s projects, especially those that I was involved in.

I’ve found I can split the students into three distinct groups:-

A minority group who really should not be here. The amount of effort they put in is minimal, and expect everything to be done for them. They’re usually easily spotted – when they hit a problem they don’t understand, their reaction is to say something like “…but we haven’t been taught that…” No, or little effort to discover or to find out, just expect everything to be handed to them. Sorry, this is not a school with ‘teachers’, but a university where you are expected to get off you arse and do some research.
They also very rarely bother to say ‘thank-you’ when people help them. Most will get through the course and get their degree, but…. Oh well.

A majority middle group of good guys and girls who get on and get their stuff done. Generally an O.K. group to work with. They’ll get through their courses, probably with mixed marks – though usually in the mid to high area, and end up with some nice jobs. Good for them.

Then a final minority group who really do make the effort. They are usually, but not necessarily the brightest, but really do knuckle down and when they hit a problem they don’t understand, their reaction is to go and investigate it and sort it out themselves. When they do ask for assistance they usually want to know how to solve the problem, so they can then go and do it themselves, rather than just to be given the answer. This crowd, I must admit, is really good to work with, and from whom I learn lots. The sad thing is that they will end up with the same overall type of qualification as those who really made bugger-all effort, but got through the system. Such is life.