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23.9 one week later

November 17, 2011 Leave a comment

So, this time last week, I set myself the challenge of making up for all that I had been avoiding doing before, and generally getting myself organised and sorting things out. How has it gone?
Well, firstly and most clearly, I have done the work that was required of me. I had the things to present to my teacher on Tuesday that were on my list of things to do, and I finished my other project this morning in time to hand it in. Admittedly, it was not as good as I had hoped. See below for a very long, detailed description of what went wrong with the computers, I returned very early this morning, managed to get it to print, and then had only a couple of hours to finish everything else, so they turned out rather rushed and not to as good a standard as I had intended.
Meanwhile, as well, I have written out a new list of things to do. My old list I only looked at once every few weeks, and it had some vague ideas of what I should be doing, and suggestions by some of when within the next few days it should be done, then I would on occasion look through it and cross a couple of items off. The new list gives a few points for each day, dividing the work I need to do in the week up, giving me specific projects to work on every day, precise goals to aim for point by point, and if I can follow it properly and keep adding to it as I go, I should be able to get everything done nice and quickly, barring any more computer related issues.
Then, though, there come the less good bits, I am still putting many things off until later in the evening rather than getting things done nice and early, with the single exception of work that needs to be done within the next few hours. I have been struggling with typing recently. Last year I comfortably managed to complete the nanowrimo challenge as well as staying up to date on all my other writing projects. This year, all those other projects have pretty much been put on hold, and I am still struggling to keep up to target with just that one. OK, so the last few days I have been having to spend a lot more time than usual on my university work, that has not given me as much time as I would have liked for typing or for my other projects, now that I have finished this project and organised the work for the next few days, I can get that all more organised, or at least get more done.
Finally, I said I wanted to get into interacting more with other people, talking with my neighbours and classmates and so on, that has not happened so far, I think it might need another week. Trouble is, not only am I a generally shy and quiet person, I know that I am and so often do not bother trying to be anything else, and everyone else knows I am so they do not expect anything else of me, which just makes it, those few times when I do actually want to go to someone and say something, feel just that little bit more awkward and difficult. What I think I need is just to start small, exchange a few words with one person when there is noone else around for them to be talking to instead, and once I have reminded them (and myself) that I can talk, gradually build up from there. We shall see how that goes this next week, then. Meanwhile, having had a busy day, and then put everything off all evening, it is now getting rather late, so I shall end here and get ready for bed, I think.

22.9 computers again

November 16, 2011 Leave a comment

I need to remember not to use computers for my work, it has been my new year’s resolution two years in a row, and I always break it, with predictably bad results. Or at least, if I do have to do something computer based, I need to make sure it is early enough in the project that there is plenty of time to fix all the problems or, if necessary, to redo it all properly (by which I mean by hand, with a decent ruler and set of pens).
All I had to do was draw three pictures on three different programs and print them all on a single page. The drawings themselves did not cause too much trouble, though som parts took rather a long time, little complex details, especially trying to get the curves just right, but eventually I had them all done, then I had less than 24 hours until the work was due in, plenty of time to print it out, right?
The plan was, where I had done two pictures here and one at the university, I emailed my two to myself, so I could open them at the university and copy all three into another program to arrange them all and print. I got to the comouter room, the first computer I tried just refused to let me log in for no reason, so I moved to another, and this did not work. It seems the university thinks it a good idea to put different programs on each computer, with no indication of what is on each, so often I find myself trying to do something only to discover I need to move to another computer to find the right program. This time, though, the program was there, it just did not work. This particular one, there is some problem, on occasion it pops up with a message that a serial number has been found and needs to be entered, or some such, but whatever you do is wrong and it closes. Sometimes this happens after half an hour or so working, on this occasion it happened half way through loading over and over, until I gave up and moved to computer three.
There, I managed to extract the three images and put them into photoshop, which was surprisingly difficult, the program seemingly designed to be just a little annoying and overly complicated at every point, and there was no way of measuring the separate images to ensure that they were all to the same scale, but I did my best, it looked quite reasonably OK, if not quite perfect, as is usual with computer work, then I saved it and went to print.
And that is where the real fun begins. It seems photoshop doesn’t print any more, I go to print, nothing happens, and when I go back to try again, the option has been greyed out. So, I turn everything off and go to another computer, back in the main computer room. The same thing happens there, I visit the technicians, they have no idea what is wrong, but the file has not appeared in any print queue. Then they send someone over that has no idea what they are doing, I watch them trying a few things, move over to computer five, which is really old and slow, and everything takes so long to load, with the exact same result. Saving as a different format did not work, all the export options were suddenly unavailable, and copying the image into another photoshop file just broke the whole computer.
So, back to looking for another computer, the technicians having given up I decide the best thing would be to redo the whole thing again, but someone has been going around all the computers stealing the mice, even the ones padlocked to the computers. I find two that still have mice, one doesn’t work, the other doesn’t have the right program. By the time I had finally given up here, of course it was getting late, the shop I had needed to visit was closed, so I cannot get on with that part of my work either. That means, work due in early tomorrow, and nothing to show for the three weeks effort.
At least the other page worked, I did all that by hand, I had wanted to draw it, scan it into the computer and edit it there, but the scanned images were useless, they tell us to work on A1 paper all the time, but then only ever provide A4 scanners, so I had to scan lots of separate images, folding my paper up to fit it in, then piece them together afterwards, where they were not all quite the same colours, or even all quite the same sizes. Then, with that done, there was nothing I could do with the file, the background was slightly off white and so many different shades it would have taken hours to change the colours, to fit it to a different background image, even to rub out the little mistakes and replace them with the background colour. Certainly I could not actually colour in the picture itself. then, how would I go about fitting other images to it, they would all be so much brighter being taken from a computer, and how would I have the one I wanted such that it faded from one side to the other?
So, I gave up on that and worked on it all by hand, with a set of colouring pencils, and within an hour it all looked rather nice, less time, in fact, than it had taken me to get the scanner to work in the first place. Such a shame the other part is a computer drawing exercise.

I think, tomorrow I will have to be up and in the university really early, I can have another go at recreating that same set of images, I think I will try a different program, see if I can find any others that allow pictures to be imported from elsewhere, and I might try photoshop again, perhaps if I reduced the resolution of the pictures a bit, so that it does not take up so much space or take so long to load? Got to be worth a try, at least.

Meanwhile, yes, my laptop is broken now, only a couple of months after I got it. Every time I plug it in, it just switches off, so I have to run it on the battery and recharge it only between uses. Fun.

17.9 Before and after

November 11, 2011 Leave a comment

I feel I should put this up here, perhaps it will even encourage me to take it more seriously once it is official. As of yesterday, I have a new plan, yes, yet another one. I have given myself a week to try to sort out all those little things I complain about but never get around to doing anything about.
Yesterday was yet another day where I sat around thinking or flicking from one website to another just in case anyone had added a new comment in the last few minutes, or anything else I could think of just to avoid doing any real work. I ignored my timetable much of the time, I put things off until too late, and even then worked on them slowly and reluctantly. I am behind on my university work, and still not putting much effort into actually getting it done, and so on…
I am not going to expect myself to simply wake up in the morning totally different, I tried that before and it doesn’t work, so I am giving myself one week.
Next Thursday my second piece of university coursework is due in, I will have that finished on time and done well, and have made significant progress in all the various aspects of the next project. I will have gotten into the habit of working quickly and efficiently throughout the day, getting lots done for all my projects, university related and otherwise, leaving myself plenty of time to dedicate to whatever I want to do, rather than to waste simply trying to avoid work, I will have tidied up my room a little, gotten things organised, nice lists of what to do and when and how, will have ordered that book I have been meaning to get for a while, and pehaps, if all goes well, will have started getting to know my neighbours and classmates a little better. A lot to do, though really it should not be that hard, let’s see how well I manage in practice.

So far, only a few hours in, I have dedicated quite a bit of time, at the expense of following my previously worked out timetable, to catching up on the university work I have been putting off. Keep on like this and I will soon have caught up there, though it does mean all my other projects get put off to later in the evening again, and I will be rushing to get them done before bed again, especially since I have been back most of an hour and not even started any of them yet…

16.9 no work

November 10, 2011 Leave a comment

I was going to come on here and say this yesterday, when I could comment that my work on various projects was not going quite so well as I had hoped, but it has gotten worse since then. Some annoying computer trouble yesterday took up a lot of my time, even though really I could have just mostly ignored it, anyway, the result was that I got rather little done all that day, and found myself late in the evening rushing to do anything.
I am still attempting this Nanowrimo thing, but though I am managing it moderately well, only with some difficulty and nowhere near as well as last year’s effort. I have to hope, then, that I start to get into the story now and can write more the next couple of weeks. Meanwhile, I have been all but abandoning all my other writing projects, something else I would like to change, if I had enough time.
On the subject of not enough time, though, I also have a lot to do for my university work. I am due to show some to my teacher tomorrow afternoon, and so far I have done nothing more since they last saw it. This is my last chance to show them how well I can actually do before I have to hand the work in next week, so I wanted to have quite a bit done to a high standard, I guess I will be very busy tomorrow morning, then, four hours from when the art shop opens to when I have to have it ready to show. My other university work is not going that well either, moving along slowly, less time put in to it each day than I had hoped, I have a list of things to have done by Tuesday, and have done none of them.
Trouble is, things keep cropping up that aren’t on my timetable and leaving me behind schedule, or things take too long, or I just can’t be bothered to do something, and as soon as anything like that happens, it puts the whole rest of the timetable off and all my plans fall apart. same has happened today, more computer related trouble, I cannot see how to fix it, so I have about given up, moved over to my tiny laptop, and decided to write this to get myself back into the habit of working and to effectively put the rest of the day behind me.
Then, all I have to do is work hard the rest of this evening, get back into my timetable tomorrow, finish all my work on time, and finally get around to ordering this book I want. Apparantly it was out of stock in the first place I ordered it from, so I had to find somewhere more expensive, and they refused to accept my card details, even though there was nothing wrong with them, which then means the next most expensive place after that, I think.

1.9 good and bad

October 26, 2011 Leave a comment

So, where did I get up to last time, ah yes, Sunday, missed chances and taking new opportunities. Well, three busy days since then, not a huge amount done towards that idea of making progress on my peronal projects. I have ordered a book that should be able to help me with one, at least a little bit, I spent Sunday evening and much of Monday quite motivated and intent on getting stuff done, but yet failed to find enough time for everything, what with being doing my university work until quite late, then finding that working through my current story ideas was slow and difficult given how little planning and research I have done recently, meaning that took up all too much of the remaining time. Anyway, by Tuesday whatever was motivating me had seemingly worn off, since then I have been struggling to concentrate on anything at all.
Then today, I went to visit my family for a couple of hours, and coming back the trains were a complete disaster, as always, one I was on was cancelled entirely, forcing us all onto another going roughly the same way, until that was filled to the top, then that was cancelled as well, leaving us all stranded in the middle of nowhere, the other trains increasingly delayed as we stood around waiting for another going anywhere near where we wanted to get. So, now I have only a few hours left of this evening to do everything I wanted to do, and missed out entirely a nice little meeting with a bunch of other aspiring writers in the area, which I had quite wanted to get to.
However, some good news, I have suddenly come up with what could be my best idea for a story ever (not that that is hard) providing, that is, I can do a lot of planning before I start, developing interesting complex characters and so on rather than just rushing in with the start of the actual story and hoping the needed complexity creates itself as I go. I have some quite interesting ideas so far, and will be forcing myself to not start writing until at least January, unless it all suddenly comes together perfectly before that. I have this theory that I could start a blog under the name of the main character and effectively create part of the story there as it would be happening in the real world, and as I plan and write the thing. Though, without revealing too much, I would need to be sufficiently sure of certain things before that, and that could take sme weeks more at least. Though, that does effectively prevent me from starting too early, I guess.
Anyway, now I have to try to make up for lost time this evening.

28.8 thinking on missed chances

October 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Yesterday evening, I spent perhaps too much time thinking about opportunities I had missed before, and things I had wanted to do but now couldn’t. Just little things I would have liked to have done growing up and now am too old for. After a while, though, I did get onto thinking of other missed chances, those of projects postponed or forgotten for so long, of leaving things to the last minute and then not getting them done, and I resolved to work harder and get more productive stuff done each day, rather than just coming up with ideas and then putting them all off.
So far, it has not gone wonderfully well. I managed a little more today than usual, but still it has been to long since I actually bothered to edit any of my completed stories, for example, or to actually sit down and plan those I should be writing now, so I just keep going with those I have ideas for, occasonally research difficult points in the others, and wait until I get an idea. Not the best way of writing, but having left it to the last thing at night, I often do not have much time for anything else if I want to reach my target for the day. Today I did not do much better, but I am working on it, and getting there slowly. I think perhaps the time has come to start sorting out some sort of timetable to work from the next couple of weeks. It has worked well before, setting out exactly what I am going to do, up until the point where after a few days I deicde I need to do something a little different, and then it all starts falling apart around me.
Anyway, that is me, I sit and think about random things, decide to make a significant change to my life, and then don’t really bother more than starting typing about an hour earlier than I usually do. Well, never mind, always tomorrow I can try to do better, as I keep telling myself.

Oh, except I am busy all day tomorrow with some university thing, and on Tuesday, and then Wednesday I have to go and visit my family, and then meet with some people here in the evening. But Thursday, perhaps then I can make up for not having much time for my other projects then? If I still remember.

27.8 and some more

October 22, 2011 Leave a comment

So, not much going on in my life right now, getting my university wok done, bit by bit, otherwise the same as always, spending some time each day writing my various story ideas, time wasted trying to draw and so on, boringly usual stuff. Hence partly why I have not bothered coming on here much lately.

However, there are some intersting things going on elsewhere at the moment, and I thought, whilst I have stuff to be putting off, I might try commenting on them. So, the war in Libya, going quite well, it seems, though I have not yet seen much on the news about how well the new government is actually doing at running the place. Then again, no sign as yet of the division within the rebel forces, leading to the civil war I predicted earlier, though it is still early yet, most such rebel governments manage to last a few months before the real trouble starts.
Then, what of this news, things traveling faster than light. It popped up at just the right time to fit into my theory lectures, which are all about progress and change and uncertainty about what reality is, very interesting if not much linked to architecture. So, it seems the new theory is that they were not going faster than light, which is still impossibly, they only slipped outside of reality for a moment, into some other dimension where time and space work differently. This might, then, be evidence in favour of this ten-dimensional string theory that has been hanging around for a while, which suggests that there might be many more dimensions than we know of, just that we are unable to see them. Also fitting nicely into the following lecture, as did the idea that the whole universe is made up of different forms of energy, and that all that differentiates them into separate objects are our minds.
So yes, interesting news of late, shame about my own life. I was thinking earlier about opportunities missed before, things I never got to do whilst growing up, but sitting here typing this, I am thinking about opportunities missed later, about how perhaps I should be making more effort to do something useful with my time now, such that I have less cause for regret later on.

One final note, nanowrimo is coming worryingly close, I still have not started planning for it, I have only the roughest idea what might happen, but whole new places need to be added to the series, lots of new characters, interesting plot lines created, and existing ones resolved satisfactorially, and if I have not worked enough of that out in about a week, I will have to once again try to make it up in rather a rush, which only occasionally works out well, and never in a sequel before.