Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Stuff and Nonsense

  • First full week at work is over and so I have 35 hours under my belt – which should equate to something substantial when I get paid in a couple of weeks. It’s not been especially interesting, but then it never has been – most of my time has been spent either stuffing envelopes, inputting data onto the student database system and photocopying. I don’t mind the first two bits but the last bit is made difficult by the existence of the Evil Bitch Photocopier From Hell™, which seems to take one look at me and then jam itself. Thus copying anything always takes twice as long as you want or expect it to.
  • The electricity supply to the whole of campus has been shut down today, so that two new buildings can be plumbed into the main fusebox, or something like that. By choosing a weekend in the middle of July the university is hoping that this will disadvantage as few people as possible, but it does mean there is no electricity anywhere on campus. This means that not only do all of the students in halls of residence have no electricity today, but all of the university’s IT systems had to be shut down yesterday evening and won’t be up until Monday morning. This includes the university web site, and student and staff email – thankfully most of my email now comes to my personal account, which is hosted along with this web site in Leicestershire (and has very little downtime). Though the shutdown has been planned since April or something, some smart fellow in university security only realised this week that turning the power would also de-activate the electromagnetic keycard locks on many of the doors around campus, so all academic buildings were locked manually (using good old keys) at 6pm last night. Hopefully nobody got locked in.
  • We don’t have major plans for this weekend. I think today is going to be quiet day – Hari is looking at doing The Ruins of Ahn’Quraj with her guild this afternoon and there’s the finale of Doctor Who tonight, which I’ll try to catch (or download if I don’t). Tomorrow we’re probably going to see Pirates of the Caribbean 2 at the cinema, and maybe have dinner out somewhere for a change.
  • Speaking of Hari and WoW, a tool called AV Voice Changer lets you change your voice when speaking on systems like TeamSpeak and Ventrilo. It’s aimed at female gamers who get intimidated by men on the system. This may have been useful for Hari in the past as another guild member told her to keep talking as her voice apparently made him “horny” – he was kicked from the guild shortly after. [Link via BoingBoing
  • I’m at work all this week – I have a training course on Thursday morning, and then on Friday Hari and I are going down to her parent’s house. I’m just staying the weekend but she’s stopping there for a couple of weeks – one of her aunties is getting married and she has some things that need sorting out there. We’re both going by train this time – we booked Hari’s ticket on Thursday and by leaving Bradford at 19:30 we could get all the way there for only £12 – about the same price as a coach to Birmingham, even with a student discount, and that doesn’t include a train fare for the last leg of the journey which can be up to £5. Just goes to show that booking in advance saves you money.


  1. I did wonder why I woke this morning to see lots of “connection timed out” messages on our new list server – most of our subscribers are addresses.
    Surely it’s a security risk having the locks disable themselves on a power cut? That said, it’s probably better than having people locked in during a fire.
    Hmm, the mp3 samples for that software are all mtf changes. That doesn’t inspire confidence in it working the other way round, but it is the direction I’d want. Installing Windows just to find out seems like far too much effort though.

  2. I think it’s safer for the locks to deactive in a power shutoff then to remain in a “locked state” (meaning people can’t get in and out). However, I do hope the uni has got a UPS on the security system so a potential thief can’t just disconnect the power (back-hoe “accident” anyone?) and help themselves to the contents of the uni.

  3. I don’t know much about the security system on campus, other than that it tends to require electricity. Some doors have battery-powered locks though.
    I know the central IT systems have backup generators, but again I don’t know how much power they supply (presumably only a couple of hours at the most). Whether the security systems have backup power sources I don’t know.

  4. That voice changer is brilliant. I don’t have much experience with voice-enabled gaming myself, except for one time when I was on Xbox Live and I just sang “It’s A Small World” to everyone within earshot. Most of them were horrified that a girl was on board. Hari’s experience sounds very common, though, so I’m glad a product like this has been developed. Plus, now we can sound like a Goa’uld!
    By the way, where’s your nifty captcha question from?