Yearly Archives: 2007

Out with the old…

Some generic updates:

Kitchen

All through December, we had our old kitchen replaced with a new one. There’s not too much to be said about this other than that it’s really quite big, really quite blue, and all of the appliances work far better than the ones that they replaced.

The bench tops are solid Tasmanian Oak, there are two ovens and an induction cook top there too — it all seems pretty good so far!

Christmas

Christmas and related holidays have been good for me so far: Christmas dinner was the last one to be held at my Grandparents’ house, it’s a shame to see the end of a family institution, but I suspect that future years will be just as good, even if the venue is changed.

My own presents consisted of a new camera (which my previous post alluded to), a FujiFilm FinePix S5700. It’s a Sub-SLR camera with a 7.1Mpx sensor, and a f**king huge lens, and with an appropriate amount of tinkering produces quite good results at night. I also got a new 80GB iPod Classic to replace my 20GB 3rd-generation one which died in early December.

Not so much a present than a purchase I made that decided to show itself up around Christmas time, but my Discbox copy of Radiohead’s new album, In Rainbows arrived on Sunday last week, and unpacking and the like has been an experience to behold: it consists of two CDs, and two 12″, heavyweight 45RPM Vinyl records, packed in a very artistic fashion.

The second CD contains a heap of B-sides, that whilst not having the sheen and polish of the “main” album, are still quite enjoyable and refreshing to listen to. In particular, “Last Flowers” is a stand-out track if you’re a Radiohead fan.

Health

Unfortunately for a computer-using person like myself, adjusting to work has led me to a quite severe bout of RSI, and so I took my holiday a week earlier to compensate for that; while it’s recovering itself fairly well, it’s still not ideal, and typing causes a fair bit of discomfort. Once I get back from Sydney, I’ll be taking a regular course of osteopathy in the hope that that fixes things.

Taste

I went to the Taste of Tasmania today with Tom from Work/Uni. Afterwards, we went past the Sydney-Hobart yachts, so here’s a customary photograph. The Line Honours victor, Wild Oats XI, is obscured on the far left.


End of year

2007 is finally drawing itself to a close, and I can definitely say that it’s been a good year. I made the transition from full-time school to full-time uni fairly painlessly, and my results this year have been better than any other year I can remember. New friendships have been forged, and old, lapsed ones have been renewed: thanks to all of you for making my year as good as it has been :)

2008 looks like it’ll start off just as well as 2007: here’s hoping!

Uni Wrap-up : 2007

Well, my University results for the semester are out. That’s quite good, as it means I can now post them for you to see!

  • KMA154 Calculus and Applications 1B: HD/98%
  • KRA114 Chemistry 1B: DN/75%
  • KXT203 Software Construction: HD/82%
  • KXT206 Artificial Intelligence: HD/87%

This brings my total for the year to 6xHD, 2xDN, 1xCR, and my total for my degree to 8xHD, 2xDN, 1xCR.

My Average mark for the year was 82% (for all 9 subjects) with a grade point average of 6.56, the average across my best 8 subjects was 84% with a grade point average of 6.75.

In particular, I’m really happy about maths, where I achieved a notional “perfect” score (i.e. more than 120 marks of 180), this appears to justify my intention of majoring in the field.

Chemistry’s also a good mover, which has improved by 7% since last semester: it’s nice to have the luxury of dropping a subject that achieves a distinction average, and that’s exactly what I’ll be doing: unfortunately, there are other areas that I want to study next year, and Chem will be the one making way for them.

That’s it: my semester all wrapped up. Uni resumes at the end of February with me studying KMA251 Algebra and Applications 2, KMA252 Calculus and Applications 2, KMA255 Operations Research 2, KXT303 Concurrent Programming and HPA291 Introduction to Logic.

Until then, that’s all you’ll be hearing from me on the subject.

Election ’07

Well, unless you’ve been living under a rock, or rather, not in Australia at all, you’d know that Australia’s Federal Government has changed hands in what appears to be a landslide.

Whilst I tend to keep this blog mostly apolitical, I think it’s worth pointing out why I think that this result is good, and what I hope will become of the next three years.

It’s not too hard a stretch to tell that I like computers, and therefore by proxy, the Internet. Unfortunately, Australia’s standard of Internet is very poor when compared with other countries, since we have suffered from artificially low ADSL speeds and artificially high prices due to an agreement made with Telecom in 1990 when our first high-speed links out of the country were laid. Thanks to the sale of Telstra, I believe that the pricing issue will never fix itself (at least for the foreseeable future), but it is still possible to fix the speed issue. It will be good to see Government investment in new communication infrastructure, which will hopefully bring our standard of connections well above what they currently are now (though, unfortunately, still well-short of world standard).

As a school student, I went to a school that was extremely well-sheltered by Government policies on Education, and so I never really saw the effects of current disinvestment in education. As a University student now, the scope of the issue has become apparent to me. I attend a small University, which due to its comparatively remote location, only really attracts students who have lived around it, at least as far as Australian students are concerned. This has meant that with disinvestment in the University, the University has, in the past five years, sought to increase its enrolment numbers from the local area.

Due to the small population base around the University, they are naturally seeking students from demographics that, if living in other states, would certainly not be seeking a University education. This has undoubtedly led to a reduction in the quality of the courses that are being offered, an unfortunate situation indeed. It would be good to see funding of Universities increase, such that my own University, and others like it do not have to worry about maintaining high student numbers, at the cost of a quality teaching programme.

Since the new Government has placed education as one of its pillars of policy, I hope to see the situation in higher education be fixed. Although I suspect that policies will focus more upon school-level education, since that is where the majority of the “family” vote has come from. Investment at all levels of education is important, and I hope to see more of it at a Federal level.

Whilst there were many other policies inherent in the campaigns on all sides of politics, I feel that none of them affect me heavily right now, and as such, I won’t make any comment on them. I hope that the current members of Parliament do their job well, legislating in the best interests of the entire country, as really, that’s what politics boils down to in the end.