Revision isn’t doing so bad…

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I brushed up on my Programming last night, and I’m one-third of the way through my Systems (I’ve finished RAM and I’ve nodded my head at CPU). I don’t really want read back up on mobos and expansion slots, but it’s my first exam on Friday coming.

Life is pain.

I don’t have any exceptional plans for tomorrow, so after I get back from town I will probably tuck into mobos. QPI again. -_-

by Mark -


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I am a helpless romantic. I see our world through kaleidoscopically-tinted glasses. It’s the inevitable result of being an introvert whose nose spends every free moment buried in a novel. I’m biding my time until Caira settles down enough that I can ambush her classic children’s books like The Hobbit and Goodnight Dune.

The above, however, is no confession. I am rightfully called a “bit odd” on a regular basis.

So here’s the thing: I can’t stop categorizing programming languages and computer programs with magical spells and cantrips. I just can’t. I’ve tried. I rationalized that all I am working with is an abstracted intermediary for binary code. That didn’t help. I began to look upon binary as Binary, the all-consuming God to whom all of our scripts and code are just penitent prayers.

So with that confessed, I need a spot of advice.

When I went back to school, I picked Systems and Networking for my course because I never imagined myself to have any kind of aptitude for programming. However, since the start of the year I have….not so much developed this brilliant talent for programming, as I have shown that I have an excellent grasp of what our class is up to and where the course will be going.

Now, a fair of this is my age: I’m in there aged 30 as a mature student. I’ve had a decade of rubbing shoulders with some brilliantly intelligent people at 091 Labs and elsewhere to give me a head start in this area. I completely expect people on the course to flower over the next few years and leave me choking in the dust.

That is not of concern.

What I’ve found is that I really enjoy applying mathematics in programming. It’s a wonderfully challenging in a bloody hard kind of way that I relish. It’s an outlet for creativity, and creativity is an area where I do excel in.

On the other hand, there is Systems. I’m as eager to learn about hardware as I am software, but I’ve started to see the general layout of that course over the next three years and honestly, I think most of it will be boring: At least half the course appears to be rote memorization of the makes, models and features of computer hardware parts. Boredom is a big, dangerous thing for me. I’m mercurial, fickle of attention and very easy to bore. If I get bored, I will probably wind up completely losing interest and ultimately failing my course.

For the time, I’m on top of all my work. No worries there. I’m doing especially well in creative areas – my C# and Photoshop projects aren’t due in for a few weeks yet, but they are done and dusted.

by Mark -


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Bulshytt: (1) In Fluccish of the late Praxic Age and early Reconstitution, a derogatory term for false speech in general, esp. knowing and deliberate falsehood or obfuscation. (2) In Orth, a more technical and clinical term denoting speech (typically but not necessarily commercial or political) that employs euphemism, convenient vagueness, numbing repetition, and other such rhetorical subterfuges to create the impression that something has been said. (3) According to the Knights of Saunt Halikaarn, a radical order of the 2nd Millennium A.R., all speech and writings of the ancient Sphenics; the Mystagogues of the Old Mathic Age; Praxic Age commercial and political institutions; and, since the Reconstitution, anyone they deemed to have been infected by Procian thinking. Their frequent and loud use of this word to interrupt lectures, dialogs, private conversations, etc., exacerbated the divide between Procian and Halikaarnian orders that characterized the mathic world in the years leading up to the Third Sack. Shortly before the Third Sack, all of the Knights of Saunt Halikaarn were Thrown Back, so little more is known about them (their frequent appearance in Sæcular entertainments results from confusion between them and the Incanters).
Usage note: In the mathic world, if the word is suddenly shouted out in a chalk hall or refectory it brings to mind the events associated with sense (3) and is therefore to be avoided. Spoken in a moderate tone of voice, it takes on sense (2), which long ago lost any vulgar connotations it may once have had. In the Sæculum it is easily confused with sense (1) and deemed a vulgarity or even an obscenity. It is inherent in the mentality of extramuros bulshytt-talkers that they are more prone than anyone else to taking offense (or pretending to) when their bulshytt is pointed out to them. This places the mathic observer in a nearly impossible position. One is forced either to use this “offensive” word and be deemed a disagreeable person and as such excluded from polite discourse, or to say the same thing in a different way, which means becoming a purveyor of bulshytt oneself and thereby lending strength to what one is trying to attack. The latter quality probably explains the uncanny stability and resiliency of bulshytt. Resolving this dilemma is beyond the scope of this Dictionary and is probably best left to hierarchs who make it their business to interact with the Sæculum.

I’m going to start pasting this into the introduction of every report on technology that I am given between now and 2014:

In American author Neal Stephenson’s 2008 science fiction novel “Anathem”, the author conjectures the inhabitants of a parallel world, Arbre, using words and phrases for situations and items that have no precise analogue on modern-day Earth.

I mentioned that because one of the words Stephenson created was “bulshytt”. It does not precisely have the same meaning as our word does; instead bullshytt is used to highlight (among other things) market jargon that tries to talk-up a product by either combining words; e.g. an advanced packet filter might become “PacketFilter™” or “Intel Advanced Packet Snoop™”.

Documentation regarding Intel’s QuickPath was laden with bulshytt. Bulshytt seemed to complete crowd out usable information in many cases, to usable information’s profound discontent. In writing this report I have endeavoured to pierce the bulshytt, to lance bulshytt’s infected boil, and from there distill Intel’s QuickPath down to its actual operational mechanics, sometimes at the expense of brevity.

Fair warning.

by Mark -

Random interlude: The metrics of an exam result

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We had our first random Photoshop exam last week. We received our results yesterday (Sunday). For lack of anything better to do before I have food in my belly, I’ll break down the metrics:


  1. Our aggregate score was based on two differently-weighted components – the theory and the practical. I am just looking at the aggregate, rather than looking at how everyone did on the different portions.
  2. I am also only using non-0% scores. A 0% represents somebody who missed the exam. If you turned up and made an effort, you were scored.


Total # of participants for all classes: 81 
Lowest individual score in any class: 30%
Highest individual score in any class: 95%
Average result for all classes: 53.5%

Games Development:

Total # in class: 28 
Lowest individual score: 30%
Highest individual score: 95%
Average score for the class: 58.4%

Systems and Networking:

Total # in class: 14 
Lowest individual score: 30%
Highest individual score: 95%
Average score for the class: 48.2%

Web Development and Creative Media:

Total # in class: 15 
Lowest individual score: 30%
Highest individual score: 85%
Average score for the class: 44.3%

Software Development:

Total # in class: 24 
Lowest individual score: 40%
Highest individual score: 90%
Average score for the class: 63.1%

by Mark -