Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Oh no it isn’t…

What? No updates for two days? Yes, I know – I was a wee bit busy yesterday, what with visiting Northumbria University and then watching the pantomime at The Theatre Royal. That, and Blogger suddenly stopped working, so what I had spent 10 minutes typing never got posted. So here’s what should have been posted yesterday:

Just posting since I have a few free minutes. Northumbria was okay, though the accommodation didn’t impress me – the catered accommodation looked okay but being a slightly picky eater (I don’t go for junk food) I wanted to go self-catering, and their offerings looked rather too basic. And there are no in-room facilities for accessing the university network/internet – not even a phone socket. That means a trek over to the computer work areas – a minimum of a 10 minute walk, and there you have little freedom about what you do (checking a Hotmail account was specifically mentioned as being banned…. great…).
The course looked good, though; like most university computing courses it concentrates on Java but seems to offer experience with Windows NT 4.0 (which is what the University network uses) and some form of Linux – it used the KDE desktop environment anyway. It’s quite industry based too, and the third year is a compuslory work placement (I’ve applied for a four-year sandwich course).
I’ll be able to give a better judgement once I’ve been to a few more universities though – Newcastle is next. I also need to apply for my student loan pretty soon too, to make sure it’ll be there in September.

The pantomime was very good too – unlike most other pantos in this country it doesn’t rely on D-list celebrities and gladiators to use what little acting talent they have to prance around doing the same regurgetated plays every year. This one uses the same 3 actors and 2 actresses it uses every year (plus a few extras) and is written by Berwick Kaler (who always plays the dame); although it loosely placed on a traditional panto, it never truly follows the story. Take this years, for example – Jack and the Beanstalk. Although there was Jack, a beanstalk and a giant (also played by Berwick) who said “Fe fi fo fum”, it was based on a mountain in Skipwith (note: there are no mountains in Skipwith – in fact its almost totally flat). Most of the jokes have a local theme (some of the jokes made reference to the A64 roadworks and the selling of York City) and Berwick rarely takes it seriously (spraying water at the people inside the pantomime cow, for example). Overall, three and a half hours of great entertainment – and only £8. What’s more – it runs from the beginning of December to the end of February, so you have little excuse to miss it, though on most nights the theatre is full, so you need to have your skates on and book in advance if necessary. Oh no you won’t. Oh yes you will. It’s behind you…
Manchester University gave me an offer of a place for next year, taking my total number of offers up to 5 (out of a possible 6 – Edinburgh have yet to get back to me). Although it is the university I most want to go to, I may have to turn it down since they require an ‘A’ grade in Maths – something which I don’t expect I’ll be able to offer them. At the moment, UMIST (the neighbouring university to Manchester) is my first choice, followed by Newcastle, but this may change since I have yet to visit either university. But at least both have acheivable entry requirements.
CptSiskoX, one of my Xteq buddies, sent me this link – MS Word 6.0’s grammar checker against great works of literature. Makes good reading.

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