Wednesday, November 30, 2005

IT support

As someone who has grown up with computers (first: zx81), and been a bit geekish ever since[1], you get used to people saying "can you just look at my PC its not doing X".
So popped over to Wolverhampton last night to have a look at Colin's laptop and monitor.
Turned out that the non-working monitor was plugged into the wrong socket, while the lack of powerpoint on the laptop was solved by searching for it and running a presentation (just needed the serial number).
At least neither of them involved finding the power switch...

[1] Although as a chemist at UMIST you are far from being top of the geeks!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Hectic weekend

Yet another hectic weekend. But not all liberal democracy.
The biannual LD English Council was held in London. After attending my first in June I was sceptical of this body, as I couldn't see why/how it fitted into the federal structure of the party. But after this meeting I can see it as a big bear just waking up and stretching itself: we updated significant rules on membership and selection of parliamentary candidates. Hopefully the revised membership rules will help to prevent problems of entryism, a problem that has afflicted Labour for years, but has spread with the growth of the Lib Dems (there were tales of parts of the country where people held dual membership of Lab and the Lib Dems, which both party's have clear rules against, but incredibly difficult to stop as they are effectively rival organisations, who aren't likely to disclose membership lists to each other).
The meeting provided a useful chance to catch up with people (blogger Rob Fenwick passed through in Holborn), and meant that post meeting there were people around to celebrate Anders' 30th birthday in London. Unfortunately for Anders we missed out on food until too late and the evening came to an end sooner than expected.
At my age I really shouldn't sleep on sofas.
Sunday was an opportunity to test the rail network and the definition of "Any Permitted" route. Which meant breaking my return journey from London to Birmingham via Peterborough.
This was to stop off for sunday lunch with the (grand)parentals, and my brother & sister-in-law and my ever so cute 3 week old nephew (Toby Robert Radcliffe).
The second half of the return journey was the train ride from hell. Fortunately I managed to get a table seat. Which was luckier than some of the people waiting for the train who didn't even get on-board. The previous service had been cancelled because the Central trains staff "couldn't be bothered"!
Absolutely outrageous.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Back in the sixties they would have been occupying the VCs office if a Uni had tried to ban items of clothing. The design of some of Imperial's halls of residence have designed out the ease of occupation and riot (limited places to congregate, corridoors twist and turn etc).
If Imperial is anything like other Uni's then the staple fashion is the hoodie. Normally advertising a students course, year of study, hall of residence, or sports team! I could see several campus enterprises going bust.
And finally, when has a hoodie concealed a face? If it does, then how can the wearer see where they are going...

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Football Update

Fantasy: Last week saw me knocked from the top of the Office league, having been there since the 2nd week of the season. This was largely due to being unlucky in having defenders and keeper letting one goal in, while know one scored!
Academic Office in the Intra Mural leagues: The Office is currently running two teams within the 120 teams of the IMS leagues. Both teams are currently unbeaten after (13 games in total). Friday and today were the closest we've come to losing.
The Friday game was 1-0 to us, and a hard fought game against a quality student team. They always looked dangerous, but some simple but effective defense gave us the edge.
Tuesday's game today was touch and go. We almost only started with 5 as a couple of us were called to last minute meetings. Fortunately Paul managed to find a ringer with only 2hrs notice. SportEx were also unlucky, with their keeper twisting his ankle in the warm up. This meant they had to call in a last minute replacement as well.
The game didn't start well, with our usual shaky start, and conceding an early goal. But we went into the half time break at 1 all. The second half was all us. The stand in keeper gifted the 2nd goal by throwing it straight to one of our players. and being out of position. From then on they crumpled to a 5-1 defeat.
Man City: The adopted team is still riding high in the premiership. I'm still hopeful of us getting at least a top 6 spot, and european football next season. Pearce is turning out to be an inspirational manager.

Regional Conference and another 30th

Last weekend saw the biannual West Mids Lib Dem regional conference. Conference was good, although I spent most of it training people in being election agents.
The evening was spent celebrating a friends 30th. Simple plan: drinking in Moseley followed by dancing at the Moseley Dance Centre (MDC). Thought I was going to crash and burn early having spent the day at Reg Conf. But managed to keep going until 6am, and after watching the first hour of the test match!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Its Chemistry Week...

But you'd hardly notice it. The Royal Society is promoting a shoot out between two of the greatest physicists/mathematicians that have ever existed (Newton/Einstein), but no mention of any of our great chemists (eg Faraday after whom nearly every University chemistry block is named, although Birmingham has gone one better and has a statue...)
For what its worth my vote goes to Newton, having spent most of my PhD using newtonian mechanics to model the movements and interactions of atoms in molecules.

Whats on my desk?

Quite an old 21" CRT monitor
Various chargers

Will from now on unplug my rechargers when not charging, as well as ensuring that the PC speakers/amp are turned off when not in use.
I ought to look to replace the CRT monitor (for which I need to reset the power save options anyway), as its getting on a bit, and its got some colour issues. (A nice and big Dell TFT will probably replace it).
The stereo acts as a radio alarm clock, so has to be on standby.

Busy weekends

Have had a busy couple of weeks with most evenings and weekends being engaged in Council duties, or Lib Dem things.
Colin Ross turned 30 on 29 Oct, so spent the evening in Wolverhampton (after spending the day training in Worcester).
Last weekend was Mike & Max's 10th aniversary, so was in Manchester for the celebration. Mike is about the only person I see regularly from my University days. And I only met him during my third year (I was in hall in his old room, I he was in my old room. A bit like Eastenders, but the first conversation was, "if you ever want a cup of tea pop in").

What I'm not listening to ATM

Kaiser Chiefs - I predict a riot
Fortunately the tensions in Lozells and Handsworth seem to have subsided. The city came through the weekend of 5/6 November largely unscathed. With so many festivals (involving explosives) reaching a peak over the last weekend, it could quite easily have gone tits up very quickly.
As for the events in France, I'd be making sure that if I owned a car that the third party, fire and theft insurance was up to date...
I'll leave it to my academic colleagues to discuss this more fully, but I suspect that my friend Craig will have to rewrite his current module on Contemporary France.