Tag Archives: students

Students. Gatherings.

I often have lunch in my local university chaplaincy building. It has a small cafe which does baked potatoes plus filling, toasties, that sort of stuff, but at sensible prices. The entrance to it is through a rather narrow staircase. As I was going in recently a large crowd were just leaving (after a lunchtime service) so I backed out of the way to let then through. Not one of them bothered to say ‘thanks’ or even just give some nod of acknowledgement as they passed. Ummm… Interesting. All, of course, ‘good Christians’.
We had a small Gathering here in Glasgow last Saturday. Depends a bit on how you define ‘small’, something between 20 and 25 local YouTubers just chilling out for the afternoon and evening. First a visit to a Dr Who exhibition, then a do-nothing time in Glasgow Botanic Gardens, and once the evening arrived retire to the Starbucks inside Borders bookshop. For about one third of them, their first Gathering ever, and they all seemed to enjoy themselves.
Busy time in work (university). Student projects all approaching deadlines, so am in demand, to help them on their way. Really does highlight those who make the effort, and those who just expect things to be done for them! One or two really nice projects coming to a ‘working’ condition. A couple of wireless remote-controlled submersibles, a small two cylinder two-stroke engine, designed, engineered and constructed from scratch, a baby hovercraft… it’s nice to see these reach finishing stages.
But for those finishing, in two weeks time they will be gone. This phase of life about to end. They’ve spent the last 5 years together as a group; studying, socialising, eating, drinking, (sleeping?) with each other, having come in as teenagers, leaving as adults. Very shortly they will be together for the very last time – never again to be as a group. Such is life.

Pre-Christmas, Birmingham Gathering

It’s Christmas time. The run-up was surprisingly pleasant. The swarm of students all wanting help suddenly dried up as report deadlines approached. They all diverted off to getting these written up and printed out in time for the end of the semester. No doubt they’ll make up for the lack of project work later, but that won’t be till next year – so I’ll enjoy the peace while I can.
That ‘strange urge’ to go down to Birmingham for a pre-Christmas YouTube Gathering got stronger and stronger until… Went down on the Sunday, Monday Gathering, and back up Tuesday. Each Gathering I’ve been to has had its own character and style, and each one has been great, and this was no exception. Thirty people there??? not sure on the exact numbers, but a good crowd, and I think everyone enjoyed themselves.
Thank you Eddplant for organising it.
Got to play with my new video camera there (early Christmas present) and the videos seem to have come out O.K. Got them up on YouTube by Wednesday.
This time next week and it will be the New Year!

Students, projects, and Gatherings.

Well, it’s happened. This sudden realisation by the students that this semester is almost over, reports need to be handed in and the January exams are now only a month away… and they have done bugger all on their projects! So yesterday I had this large swarm of creatures all after help and support, and of course, wanting it immediately. But I can only be in one place at a time; circuits take time to develop and construct; “things” take time to do. I had been hoping that this year might have been a bit different, I did have one or two students turn up early and they are now making good progress. However one does one’s best.
Last Saturday was across in Edinburgh for a small Gathering. Peaked at about 8 or 9 people there – quality rather than quantity – a really good day out. Shame it was so cold, but it is the middle of winter, in the middle of Scotland, so what do you expect!
There’s also an ‘all-nighter’ session in the Student’s Union this Saturday which I appear to have been errr… tricked into buying a ticket for. Probably will wimp out at about 2 a.m., must remember to make sure my video camera has fully charged batteries. The camera is a small solid state one, small enough to live on my belt beside my phone yet can still give an OK quality video.
Am starting to have ‘strange urges’ to go down to a pre-Christmas YouTube Gathering in Birmingham. When I first got word of it I didn’t bother about it – too close to Christmas and all the crowds that go with it, plus quite a bit of travel involved, but… ummm… maybe…
Guess I’d also better think about some Christmas shopping. I really can’t be buggered with this time of year – a bit too heavy going. But shopping must be done sometime soon.

Projects and EeePC

Getting stopped far more in the corridors of work now by the students all wanting help with their projects. There is a problem with some who have come in from a culture where they are used to having everything done for them, and therefore expect you (i.e. me) who is only a ‘mere technician’ (servant) to basically do everything for them such that all they need to do is to press a couple of buttons and get all their results. As far as I’m concerned, they can just FUCK OFF. It’s their project, they are required to research and develop it. I’ll do my bit to help, to talk about and to show alternative ways of doing things, to make suggestions and say how, if it was my project, I might go about doing it. But if they expect me to run around and do their work for them just because they are too up their own arses to get the work done, tough.

It’s nearly the end of November. In the city centre on Saturday and the place mobbed. Managed to get into my usual Starbucks for a coffee. While there some school kids came in and ended up sharing my table. I was using my EeePC 901, and that immediately got conversation going, especially as I was on YouTube. An unusually nice crowd of guys, so often the school kids that go in there are so immature and silly that it gets really annoying, it’s nice to meet a bit more of a switched-on group. Turned out that some of the people I follow on YouTube they follow too, so had a thoroughly nice 45 minutes of chat and running around on YouTube.

Sorted out the microphone problem I was having with my EeePC by downloading a slightly older (and simpler – no fancy 3-D pseudo-Dolby effects) set of drivers.

Halloween

There was I, quite innocently walking past the Students’ Union last Friday (Halloween,and the Union running a 12 hour – 8pm > 8am session) when I saw a couple of people I know who were on their way in, so stopped to talk to them. Then found myself tricked (yes, tricked I tell you, tricked again) into going in!

Well, we managed to find a bit of space in an upstairs bar (the Barony was heaving), but after about an hour I found myself feeling quite out of place and uncomfortable, being one of the few not dressed up for the occasion. Luckily home is only 15 minutes walk away so I escaped out, came home and managed to generate up an all black clothing rig and zapped my face with some white makeup, and with blackened eyes. (Anyone asking as to why I happen to have white and black makeup at home will be rewarded with a swift kick in the nuts!) Back to the Union and feeling a lot more like joining in. Left a little before 2 am generally having had quite a good night. Some of the guys and girls there really had made an excellent effort. Tried to do a live BlogTV session from there, but the sound was buggering me around on my little net-book. (More on that later perhaps.)

So, once again, hoodwinked into doing things by horrible student-type creatures. Ummm….

First TFI

It’s nearly the end of September, so Uni is starting again shortly. Seena few familiar faces around the city, the Student’s Union is filling up, and yesterday was the first of the new season’s TFIs. Though it was reasonably full, I’ve seen it fuller. But this is just Freshers’ week, not all the serious TFI head-cases are back yet, but a few were there! Be curious to see what it’s like next week when everyone’s back for lectures. Did get a couple of web-cam type video clips taken of some of the TFI stuff, and uploaded them to YouTube. Should get one or two views.
It’s a good thing most parents haven’t figured out things like YouTube yet – they’d probably have a fit if they saw what their lovely little offspring get up to after a few beers too many!

Get the right crowd in TFI and in the right mood, and the atmosphere in there is Absolutely Amazing. It doesn’t happen so often now (since a change in drinking policy), but when it does, then it’s just so awesomely mind-blowing.

I’m off to Cornwall for a couple of days. Make a nicebreak from here. Though made sure I should be back for next Friday!

BlogTV

Thought I would try something a bit different. Uni has not yet restarted, but the students’ union Games Room bar is starting to fill up again – especially on a Tuesday. Guys and girls are heading back into the city getting accommodation sorted out, quite a few of the local colleges have restarted, and those guys use the place too. So I thought I’d take up my lap-top (never go far without it) and a small USB webcam, and see if I could go live from there via my stressedtechnician BlogTV account.
First tried networking by using the local wireless set-up, but the university firewall blocked enough of the channels used by BlogTV to stop it working. So plugged my phone to the lap-top and used that to go onto the internet.
Pleasantly surprised as to how well it worked. My phone typically downloads at around 1 Mbps and uploads at around 330Kbps. Watching the data feed, upload speeds to BlogTV varied from say 80Kbps when there was no movement or change in the picture, to around 250Kbps when there was a large amount of activity.
Kept it going for about 20 minutes. Somehow managed to get 6 viewers, which surprised me considering this was done unannounced or anything like that. One commented that they thought the place looked very sterile, rather like their school cafeteria! Mind you, they were getting a very restricted view. Might give it a try again next Tuesday, probably between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.
But it did show to me the flexibility of mobile internet stuff.
(Mind you, if I’m going to wave a webcam at half-pissed students wanting to show off, I’d better keep a finger near the Kill Transmission button!!!)

Management, or lack of it!

In the beginning was the Project.
And then came the Assumptions.
And the Assumptions were without form.
And the Project was without substance.

And darkness was upon the face of the Students.

And they spoke amongst themselves, saying, “It is a crock of shit and it stinketh”.

And the Students went unto their Supervisors and said, “It is a pail of dung and we can’t live with the smell”.
And the Supervisors went unto the Professors, saying “It is a container of excrement, and it is very strong such that none may abide it.”
And the Professors went unto the Head of Department, saying “It is a vessel of fertiliser, and none can stand against its strength.”
And the Head of Department went unto the Dean of Faculty, saying “It promotes growth, and it is very powerful.”
And the Dean of Faculty went unto the Principle of the University, saying “These new Projects will actively promote growth and vigour of the University with very powerful effects.”
And the Principle of the University looked upon the Projects and thought that they was good.

And the Projects became Policy.

And darkness continued upon the face of the Students.

Surprised!

Bloody Hell, nearly crapped myself.
Looking around YouTube, jumping from channel to channel (as you do), I found myself on one or two slightly more unusual or fun (and if you think I’m going to tell you my definition of ‘fun’, NO WAY, ha!) when I suddenly jumped a channel and saw… that’s errr… thingy… what the fu*k, bloody students! But on the other hand this could be interesting.

Should he be reading this I’m sure he’ll know what I mean when I say “are you going to do it?”. If Yes, then you’re braver than I am!

Summer

It’s the summer, so it’s raining. And I need to get up onto the roof to do some work.
Shit.

As it’s summer Uni is relatively empty, but there’s still plenty going on. A couple of PhD students’ experiments are getting to a stage of requiring a lot of technical support. Also usually over the summer many of the undergrads get placements in industry. But this year there seem to be fewer industrial placements going, and for some reason this year there’s more funding available for research and placements within the university. So it’s relatively full of those little horrors who, having pissed me off during the semester, won’t even give me a summer break but are still here.
Shit.

It’s also exam re-sit time. (Was going to say ‘Hahaha…’ but I guess that’s a bit cruel, so I won’t.)

Oh, I knew there was something else bugging me about students…
As for being text’d at 9:30 at night; things that start with ‘Sorry to bother you…’ Ahhhh…. can’t even have my evenings in peace and quiet!!! (Had it finished …but I’ll buy you a beer…., now that would have been so much better.)