zub: (Default)
2016-04-02 11:45 pm

Eight years!

Almost eight years without an update! That’s a record, even for me.

Okay, so my life has not quite gone as I had imagined it. The new job I talked about in my last post, in 2008, was surprisingly good, in hindsight. After a few years I joined EchoStar in Steeton, Keighley (outside of Bradford (outside of Leeds), West Yorkshire). That was great at first. There was lots of work to do and I was largely allowed to get on with it. That didn’t last, unfortunately. I decided to join a consultancy firm, but I find I have a completely different temperament to the one needed in that environment. After a year and a quarter in that job, I had lost all remaining confidence, but eventually I managed to pick myself up.

Just over a year ago, I then did a contract at a startup in Cambridge. I should watch what I say, but it just wasn’t for me, so I didn’t continue in that direction.

I now find myself living in Cambridge, meeting wonderful people, and hopefully building up to getting a job that I really enjoy doing. Assuming all goes well, I’m very much hoping to join an orchestra, and get back into running again.

Whilst I was living in Bingley and later in Saltaire, I had joined an outdoors exercise class at Roberts Park in Saltaire, called “Commando Fit”. It was great fun, I met lots of lovely people, and I did benefit quite a bit from the exercise. Would highly recommend to anyone moving to the area! We ended up doing running events, and in fact, the way I got roped into joining in the first place was to do the “Cumbrian Commotion” triathlon, consisting of fell running, mountain biking and kayaking! Never in my life would I have ever dreamt I’d end up doing something like that!

So, I’m trying to keep busy doing bits with Fuse (the Free Unix Spectrum Emulator) and also I’m working on a patch to GCC. Will have to see how that goes, but fingers crossed!
zub: (Default)
2008-09-16 03:22 pm


I spent Sunday feeling very, very ill. I spent Monday feeling very groggy. Today, I'm just knackered. Tomorrow, I'm hoping I'll be well enough to travel back to Derby...

Unfortunately, my access to teh Intertubes is now pretty much limited to my lunch hour at work — I should really shout at my landlord a bit more, as they really should have dealt with the phone wiring and the TV aerial by now. At least I have some TV reception, which is better than nothing.

The happy news is that [livejournal.com profile] abigailb ('morwench') has somehow conned me into playing Puzzle Pirates, which is great fun! Ooh, and thanks to the new John Lewis store at the Highcross shopping thingy, I now have a shiny new TV and a microwave oven! w00ts!
zub: (Default)
2008-08-31 07:48 pm


Ooh, I forgot to mention — I am now on the You Tubes. I'm not the best Tremulous player ever, and I wasn't playing especially well during that recording, but it's all good fun! :)

I've even gone and joined D-S-R-T, the "dark spirit tremulous" clan, which is only just getting started. Hopefully there'll be more to report on that in a month or two...
zub: (Default)
2008-08-31 07:19 pm

Moving to Derby

Yay, it looks like I'm moving into a flat! :)

Apart from some holes in the walls which have now been filled in, things have gone pretty well so far. Amongst other things, the settee was delivered today — it was a bit tricky for the delivery men to get it in, but they somehow managed.

Dealing with the letting agent was another matter, though. It would have been nice if they'd bothered to check that the flat was finished before handing over the keys. It would also have been nice if they'd given me the correct contact number for the landlord, instead of the private mobile number of one of the developers. Also, their lawyers should be ashamed of themselves — I can accept that contracts must be written in legal language which isn't always crystal clear, but don't you think 202 words in one sentence is overdoing it a bit? Well, at least I'll never have to speak to them again! :)

It'll be nice to live closer to work. Commuting from Leicester to Derby wasn't actually that bad, though — largely thanks to the lifts I've been getting to the train station. Still, it'll be nice to have an extra hour in each day!

Apparently I need to get some sort of 'Life' to fill those hours with, but I'm not sure how to do that... :)
zub: (Default)
2008-07-22 10:53 pm

Phones and keyboards

Hrm. Well, I really need a new phone. My Nokia 3310 is nice enough, but it's getting a bit dated. The main problem with the 3310 is that I need to charge it a bit more frequently than I'd like. I also really want something that I can tweak easily, which will also play Ogg Vorbis files. I might get a Neo FreeRunner (a.k.a. GTA02) but I'm not sure if that's at all risky... perhaps I should wait for a GTA03. OTOH, I could just carry on using the 3310 until the Openmoko software works reasonably well. I just can't decide...

Oh, one thing I should probably have ranted and raved about by now (i.e. I'm about to start being really boring!) is the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard. I had long wondered why keyboards had their keys placed in such a strange order. It turns out it's to slow you down. Ugh. Well, I've been using the Dvorak layout for about two years now, and aside from the fact that it's probably saving my from the dreaded RSI, I've found that it's just made typing effortless. Yeah, it was a fair amount of effort to switch, but we really shouldn't be teaching kids QWERTY. It's nuts.

A very quick example of how Dvorak is easier is the command "grep -i '^[asdfghjkl]*$' /usr/share/dict/words | wc -l" which yields 154 on my machine — that is, 154 words (out of 74000) in the word list can be typed entirely with the middle row of keys. The Dvorak equivalent, "grep -i '^[aoeuidhtns]*$' /usr/share/dict/words | wc -l", shows that 1969 words from that same word list can be typed entirely with the middle row — as 'AEOUIDHTNS' contains the eight most commonly used letters in English, this isn't too surprising, really!
zub: (outdoors)
2008-07-22 09:20 pm
Entry tags:


Camping turned out better than expected! The journey was a bit of a marathon — I left Leicester on Friday at 9:09, arrived at Blaenau Ffestiniog at around half-past two, and found that the rain and mist was really rather bad... fortunately, I was very kindly spared from having to camp half-way up on my own in the mist on that afternoon (thanks so very much!), and so I went up on Saturday morning. Not really knowing the way, I headed straight through the marshy bits and got my feet utterly soaked, but I reached the campsite in the end, with a little help and encouragement!

After that, things only really got better — the weather cleared up — on Monday morning, I even managed a quick dip in the lake — and to top it all, I'm not even aware of anyone getting food poisoning! :)

I took lots of rubbish photos with my new camera (a Fujifilm FinePix J50, which has a 2.7 inch screen!), and I'll try to upload the least rubbish of these soonish!
zub: (Default)
2008-07-05 02:15 pm

((r = r * 1103515245 + 12345) / 65536) % 32768

Apparently I should post more often. (Sorry, [livejournal.com profile] tea_cantata!) This is still not as impressive as my previous piece of idling, from March 6th, 2002 to September 28th, 2005, though.

Well, anyway, in the last few years I finished my MSc, then spent a while doing some fun things including helping to get Fuse (the Free ZX Spectrum Emulator) running on Windows — and now I've got a job doing telecoms-related development in Derby!

I've been experimenting a bit with a camera (and I've uploaded some of [livejournal.com profile] ioannab's excellent photos, too), and we've also been tidying up the pond — thankfully, the water lily's plans to take over the world have now been halted!

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] grimgrim and [livejournal.com profile] cherade9 for putting up with me during DebConf7 — and afterwards, when I was initially unable to get back home from Edinburgh due to some severe flooding! (I'll have to try to do the full touristy thing in Edinburgh some day, as it's a really nice city!)

And sorry, [livejournal.com profile] jorallan, I really will finish the Debian/Ubuntu packaging for Fuse. Some day. I Promise... :)
zub: (Default)
2006-01-31 07:11 pm

Strange Dream

I had a very, very strange dream last night: I was trying to pay Opal Fruits (now "Starburst") into my bank. They were very polite, but told me that they couldn't accept sweets as legal tender, and I ended up feeling really lost. It wasn't that they were worth much — it's just that I'd been paid some Opal Fruits and I wanted to get rid of them.

In other news, I gave a talk on open source software a while ago, for final year students at DMU a while ago, which went quite well. Many of them had never heard of open source or Linux before, so hopefully that should encourage a good number of people. Semester 1 has finished, and semester 2 has just begun. Unfortunately, I'm still trying to regain all that lost sleep due to exams.

I'm now playing an awful lot of Urban Dead, and I seem to be gaining a Wikipedia addiction, which was just a matter of time, really.
zub: (Default)
2005-11-12 07:47 pm


I graduated on Tuesday — hooray! The ceremony was a lot shorter than I'd expected, and as I was melting underneath my suit and gown, that may even have been a good thing. I met a few people that I hadn't seen in quite some time. The lady next to me had been studying in Malaysia, and had come to the UK especially for the ceremony, which was rather interesting!

I've done my first two bits of coursework, and everything seems to be going well. Unfortunately, though, I'm studying data network theory for the fourth time, so I'm trying to avoid boredom by learning about things like OSI, X.25, DECnet and so on. I should be able to stay interested, so long as I can find something to code.

[livejournal.com profile] jen_f and I watched Serenity (the Firefly film) not so long ago, and it was great! I really ought to get the series, though.
zub: (Default)
2005-10-06 11:49 pm


I enrolled on Monday — everything went well. I got my new student card yesterday, with a new photo. The good news is that I am no longer the disembodied head of Harry Potter (never wear a white T-shirt) — I am now Professor Snape! (Apparently this is a good thing!)

I met Nick today, who I've not seen for a long time. He's starting his final year, which is great news!

Today was "Data Networks" day. Apparently, I've covered much of the syllabus already, which means I'll probably need to go into extra depth, so that I stay interested in the module. Yesterday was "Telecommunication Systems" day, which was entirely new to me. Hopefully this balances out, or something. :-)

The bus ride home took longer than anticipated, as somebody decided that they'd cause a scene and hold the bus up for twenty minutes, rather than pay the full bus fare. Admittedly, the fare from the next stop was less than half the price... but it's not really fair to blame the bus driver, and I don't see why the other passengers and I should have to suffer!

Tomorrow, we do "Digital Signal Processing", which I'm really looking forward to. Hopefully, I won't be too far out of my depth.
zub: (Default)
2005-09-29 02:26 pm

New colours!

Waaay too geeky — sorry!

zub: (Default)
2005-09-28 05:49 pm


I finally have my degree result — a 2:1... It's a huge relief to have finished. I've also been accepted for DMU's MSc Multimedia Communications Engineering course, which looks fun. I'll be learning about digital signal processing, and even some hardware design!

I'm trying to find out what the name of this tune is. Does anyone know?
zub: (Default)
2002-03-06 07:24 pm


The mudmeet happened over the weekend. We got slightly drunk in the house, then some of us went to the Dungeon where we danced to good music and got more drunk, leaving shortly after 02:00 (after singing happy birthday to Dale, of course). We then went to another house where we burnt stuff and watched the Grand Prix, and returned home to sleep some time later. I didn't get nearly enough sleep, partly due to [livejournal.com profile] abigailb feeling quite ill. Rosie bought a card and choccies for Dale who was already up by the time we got back. Then randomness happened, followed by train catching. It was a lot more fun than I can remember, as usual.
zub: (Default)
2002-02-28 07:49 pm

Oxfrog meet

The CSS Oxmeet was good. Got to the Oxfrog station ten minutes early. Spent half an hour waiting for [livejournal.com profile] slovakia and [livejournal.com profile] tea_cantata to arrive. Learnt to eat noodles with chop-sticks, or at least tried to. Was blodified at some point. Hair dying failed to work again, although black hair isn't too bad. At some stage the meet-inna-pub began. Wibbling happened for a few hours, followed by food and more food, yay!

Due to not-enough-sleep, I was quite drowsy and miserable on Sunday. Walker's Marmite flavour crisps were good fun though. I have just bought 4 each of Marmite, Cheese and Branston Pickle, and Heinz Tomato Ketchup, and I've also got some chocolate. Yay!

I ended up sleeping over instead of coming home yesterday. That was a mistake — I got three and a half hours of sleep. And I had a test at 0900. I left at 0840ish, running all the way to campus — I got there on time, so test decided that it'd start late. Being so tired, I didn't quite finish it, but I think I've done fairly well anyway.
zub: (Default)
2002-02-19 11:53 pm


Quite a bit of activity in the last week... The mud's web site is available again, complete with bug tracker, so I might even fix some bugs. I discovered that someone I know from DMU is one of [livejournal.com profile] abigailb's old friends from college. I'll see if we can invite him round some time. Abi's party happened on Friday — plugging a computer into the hifi was a really neat idea, although it's a pity that we don't have it connected to the network — it didn't get in the way too much though. I stayed up way too late and got slightly drunk, meaning that I had to catch a later train on Saturday.

I got down to Cambridge eventually, and caught the bus. I got off at wrong stop though, and it took about half an hour for people figured out where I was, and then I was taken to the nice warm flat, where I ate delicious food and listened to strange music. My hair refused to be dyed dark red — I'm going to see if I can get a strongish purple dye for the meet this Saturday. I think we then went shopping for Green Stuff (TM) amongst other things, but I was too busy freezing to death to take much in. The Green Man meet was good — there was too much merrymaking to describe in full detail here, but I met quite a few people. I did manage to get semi-drunk on three girly drinks, so I can't remember as much as I'd like to, although I do remember that the chocolate-coated coffee sweet things were very nice. When we got back, we stayed up really late watching the Magic Roundabout (partly due to the coffee, no doubt).

I can't remember too much from Sunday, due to the sleep deprivation. I do remember eating nice eggs+beans+chips, and then meet various new people at the flat-warming. The Green Stuff was a very strange drink. I caught the last train home and did some spodding for a while before falling asleep. Got in late on Monday. Oops. Plett had mysteriously appeared when I got back, which I wasn't expecting, so I stayed up listening to more music and drinking leftover beer. In short, it was an eventful week — slight pity that I can no longer remember many of the actual events.
zub: (Default)
2002-02-11 02:22 pm


Yay! The mud is up and running again! Might be a while until I get around to doing much for it just yet, but I'm dead happy too see everyone again — yay! There's evil talk of a mudmeet in a few weeks, too — this, in addition to the other meets that I've agreed to go to, implies much catching of trains. (Looks like that rail card was worthwhile after-all, then.) And my cold has pretty much ended, so I should be back at uni tomorrow! Yay all-round, then!
zub: (Default)
2002-02-02 06:51 pm

New Journal

Well, I've been persuaded to start this journally thing, then. I don't know how I'm going to stop people from falling asleep at their keyboards though — maybe I'd be suprised? *shrug* — Anyway, what's going on in groove town then?

Well, I went to an AFPmeet, but I could only stay for two days. I had a great time — I've tasted Maya Gold, which is simply the best chocolate ever. Also, I've heard some of the music of the Arrogant Worms, whose album I must buy a copy of. Quickly.

I've decided that if I'm going to be going to AFPmeets at all, I should read the 'froup, or at least the off-topic posts — I'm dead scared of spoiling books that I haven't got round to reading yet (and yes, I'm fully aware that the way to deal with this is to buy lots of Mr Pratchett's books and read them all. :) )

Semester Two started on Monday. Seems like the modules will be much more interesting than those in the first semester. (I might even have do some work!) I got very high on chocolate on Thursday. By that time I still hadn't caught up on sleep from the weekend. And then I decided to have a drink. I was a bouncy, noisy and knackered Zub, and I've still not recovered... Ooops. Hopefully I should feel a lot better in a few days, but I fear that I might have caught a cold now. Ouch.