Snow Day on Campus

Most classes have been cancelled and most buildings are closed. Yet Dundee University is amok with students. The snows that were nearly all melted have been replaced by a shower that having started in the early hours of the morning has only just yielded in the last few minutes.

The green outside the union is overlooked by a snowman towering higher than any student in attendance, having been constructed by dozens of large snowballs, each three times the size of a bowling ball. Here in the warmth of the School of Computing, an individual cannot walk to the shop without the compulsory snow ball fight as some form of right of way. Though the lack of classes, the campus is busier than ever.

A group of half a dozen roll by a snowball bigger than themselves with great care not to get trapped underneath. They struggle with the ball as they get it onto the green where after a great war of snow, the massive structure cracks in two. No spirit is lost as one student shouts “that can be the head” and the mass is turned into another figure to observe the days goings on.

Planned events come and go weekly on campus, but this unscheduled extravaganza has attracted more than any other will, at least until next snowfall.

Advent Eggs

It is the fourth day of Advent and I’m eating a cream egg. A most delicious cream egg it is too, why am I in such a good mood you may be asking. Well, other that the cream egg and the fact that it’s coming up to Christmas, I’ve just ordered a brand new MacBook, this means that the poor little iBook G4 that I’m currently typing on will soon be going into retirement, off to the computer after life, or as the case may be, my wife.

So how, I hear you scream, could I possibly afford a brand new Apple MacBook 2.4Ghz? Well it seems that the university believe I require it for my studies due to various aspects of my Aspergers Syndrome, a mental difficulty that I have and rarely speak of though it seems to merit a post when it wins me a finely achitectured laptop. Merry Christmas to me, my mind is saying. It’s like a sorry present, sorry you’re a weirdo that everyone hates, have a MacBook… ok then :-D

Trust your bank?

Sitting at my computer desk, the phone rings. This results in a mad rush as I run around, finding the controls to turn down the music. I pick up the phone and answer.

No one replies and so I repeat myself in case they didn’t hear me, nothing. Now a little frustrated, I start to conclude that it’s the third silent auto call of the week, then it beeps. With a minor amount of unmentionable language I start running about again trying to remember how to start the long forgotten fax machine. I get there and find the clever little thing has already brought itself out of its long hibernation and is happily purring away as it takes receipt of the fax.

After a couple of minutes, I realise, this fax was not meant for me.

I am presented with two pages, they contain a ladies name, her address, her telephone number, her bank account number, her sort code. Everything I’d need to set up some rather profitable bank transfers. At first I’m thinking that this is some sort of scam, then with careful reading I see that this was meant for a bank in Dundee, my hometown.

The first thing that occurred to me was that I should call the lady who’s bank account this belonged to. I did after all have her name and telephone number. On the end of the line is the ladies son, a gentleman setting up telephone banking for his elderly mother. He explains to me that the bank has been messing around and making mistakes all round but of course, he never expected them to be sending his mothers bank account details to random strangers living on the Hilltown. We arrange for me to send him the worrying paper work and so the matter is in his hands.

But it leaves me wondering. This is just one isolated incident, how many more have their been? How many more will there be? How many people could see my bank details and how many people would just ignore them?

Portable Expenses

So i’m writing this post on my phone and realising just how difficult that is, then again, it is nice not having to fold out my laptop and look for a WiFi spot whenever i want to write.

So i’ve checked on ebay and it would seem i can buy myself a full size bluetooth keyboard that fits in a pocket thus enabling me to simply fold it out and type where ever i am as long as there’s mobile reception.

So which one of you readers wants to buy me it?

Free WiFi access here, but from where?

Strange thing, theft, isn’t it interesting how we can all accept it as a crime, that it is wrong to steal, funny that the most part of us can say with all seriousness that we would not steal a thing… but is it true? In this digital age, how many of us have downloaded music without paying for it? More to my point, how many of us have connected to a person’s wireless Internet connection without first asking? If it’s ok for you, is it ok for a business?

I’ve just checked my emails, and reviewed the afternoon’s news using the WiFi connection that is clearly advertised in this Costa Coffee in the center of Perth. I sat down, opened my laptop up and was automatically signed on to the open network, I opened up the wireless menu to check I was signed on correctly to find a list of three networks available, expecting to see a network name such as Costa I am surprised to only find three generic looking names that are the sign of a basic network with little expertise managing it, a home network. Confused I step up to the counter and ask the barista which network I should be using, she smiles and tell me just to try the one with the best signal, after spotting my raised eyebrow she explains to me that “We just use the ones that other people have running upstairs.”

A little shocked I go back to my table and look up at the picture on the wall that tells me that this is indeed an Internet enabled cafe.

So why does a company like Costa Coffee feel it’s ok to use someone else’s wireless internet access that has been paid for with the owners money and advertise it to the public as their own freely distributed account? Is it not stealing?

I enquired with some as to what their beliefs on this matter were, it was surprising to hear just how many thought it was perfectly fine to use other peoples internet access. Now I’d like to point out that I am not a hypocrite and so I must confess, I have regularly used other peoples’ internet access, I have often sat on a bench and connected up to a near by network without any knowledge of whom it belongs to. I usually justify this with an excuse like I’m just checking my emails or reading the news. I generally think it’s ok to use peoples internet access, but I think there is a limit where as some of the people I spoke to said that they don’t actually have internet access at home but that they take it from the neighbours wireless connection.

People pay for their internet to work at a certain speed and a person connecting to their access point won’t take away from that as long as they’re not using it for heavy use, such as gaming, or downloading large files. But then, if a large amount of people are connecting at the same time as is the case in Costa Coffee of Perth, then there is no way that the access point can be running at its full potential, so the justification is gone, because yes, I may be checking my emails, but then so are two other people behind me, and those guys in the corner are playing multiplayer computer games with each other using the same network, so this establishment is running a fully operational, illegal internet cafe and all the while, the owner of the wireless router we’re all connected to, is wondering why they can’t download a simple file in less than twenty minutes.

I’d like to finish my rant with this small point, Costa Coffee of Perth, you have a phone line, you can run a WiFi network for less that

One Stop Up

I’m used, now, to receiving odd glances from strangers in public wondering what I’m up to, what’s so interesting about a thistle, or a motor cycle parked down an alleyway. Often I’ll be asked questions by curious passers by who obviously think I’m a member of the local newspaper. I usually just tell them they’ll read about it later or that it’s just artsy rubbish and I won’t bore them with the details, you see, I’m an amateur photographer, and I take my camera everywhere I go.

As many like me will tell you, the day you forget your camera, that’s the day you see the most tremendous shot, the one that you will never again be able to capture, and it’s true.

Since August I’ve been planning to capture the morning sunrise that can only be captured early on a January morning, my plan was that I’d catch the bus as usual everyday to college and on the day that the clouds have gone wandering and the solar cycle matches the exact time of the buses journey that the distant star’s orangey glow spreads over the dew on the meadows towards the road, I would hit the bell and capture the landscape in the short few minutes that it exists, of course, it just so happened that this day did finally arrive after five months of waiting and of course, I’d forgotten to charge my camera’s battery the night before! This being a battery that only needs a charge once a week with my usage and I let it run down, I hopefully checked the scene over the next few days but the clouds had returned from their vacation and had no plans of moving soon.

Since then, I’d been having a bit of “Photographers Block” where I just couldn’t spot a decent shot anymore. There’s a world of beauty to be captured through the lens out there and the key to a good photo is to be able to spot what to the naked eye looks just ordinary and through capturing it in a rectangle some how show it as something spectacular. The problem with a photography block is, I could no longer do this, having started to feel like the shot that I dreamed about had just blown past, the motivation that powered that vigilant eye had gone.

Now for a while I’ve had canvas prints of some of my photos on the wall in my living room and for a while my friends and family that visit have told me that I should take them to places in Dundee and try to sell them, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do but something I’ve always thought of as just a dream, well today I finally decided to try it out.

I took one of my prints off the wall and stuck a label on the back stating it was one of a limit of fifty I’d be willing to print, I took the advice of some friends online, valued it at