Wednesday morning, I took a bus into campus to meet with Richard Cocks, the Just-Off-Campus group coordinator and hence my thesis supervisor. I was slightly late and hence rushed into the seminar room where there was a meeting in progress. I stumbled into the room in confusion because I didn't recognise any faces and wasn't sure I was in the right place. The chair of the meeting asked if I was there for "sponsorship". I mumbled "yes" and he said I could take a seat. It turned out that the meeting was for the planning of this year's ITEE school expo.
I sat down and listened blankly to the last few minutes of the meeting, figuring I'd come to the wrong spot. I quietly wandered out behind some folks after it finished and checked down the hall, then when I was convinced I was in the right building I walked back and said I was looking for someone. Yes, he was right there in the room. :P He directed me to a chair and continued his conversation with the guy who held the meeting. It was quite interesting. They discussed how important an "image" and marketing is in the business world. One story was how a guy in the UK developed a plastic sleeve that attachs to a car windscreen and holds one-use parking permits. It's only a piece of plastic but it's sold in a large flashy box for 5 pounds.
My thesis supervisor is essentially a marketing guru who looks for uncharted market niches and develops a concept or product to fill them. So you can see that the hour and a half I spent listening and learning from him was interesting indeed.
He told me that a new syllabus is in place for the Engineering final-year thesis this year. It's geared towards having a completed thesis at the end, whether it be a product or purely theoretical. After all, it's no good teaching students that they can get away with having a project half-done by the deadline.
The marking scheme for the thesis is thus: There are four categories, and each is split into subcategories. The lowest mark achieved in any subcategory caps how many marks can be received for that category. Say my lowest is a "2" in one subcategory. The highest mark I can receive is two points higher, ie a "4". (Grades are a 7 point scale.) The lowest category mark caps the total mark for the thesis, and in this particular example the highest I could get for my thesis would be "5", one point above the "4" grade for that category. It's to encourage students not to neglect any aspects of the assessment. Generally what happens in schoolwork is that students do a "risk assessment" of the trade-off between effort and marks received, and hence if something that doesn't count much towards the overall grade for the course is failed, it's not perceived as important. I have been guilty of this many, many times in the past. Many times I have gambled on getting a high score in the final exam for a course simply to pass that course! Sometimes I get it, a few times I haven't. Hopefully, the marking scheme for the thesis won't screw me over. *talons crossed*
I've got a bunch of things to research on my topic before the semester starts. I wrote them down so I wouldn't forget them. I also need to read over the previous years' theses on the NetVend project to get a good "feel" for the project. It looks like it'll be a fair amount of fun, as well as hard work and learning. Richard did tell me that I should be thinking about a contingency plan if my module works but the other parts of the vending machine (i.e. other students' projects) don't work. And considering my experiences with the dreaded Team Projects, it sounds like an excellent idea!
A little belatedly (the event was postponed twice), the usual suspects gathered up at Hog's Breath Cafe to celebrate dilph's return to Brisbane (and perhaps a belated 21st bash). Sebkha and I were the first to arrive as usual. We were fifteen minutes early so we wandered around the nearby streets to kill time. He showed me the Windmall Cafe across the road and informed me they served possibly the best pizzas in Brisbane, so I'll definitely have to check them out at a later date.
We didn't have a booking but eventually we were put out the back (same place we were sitting for Stephen's 21st). Dilph showed up late and took a seat at the far end of the table - same seat next to Sebkha that I took until he and Ben got to talking at length about things Java, Unicode, etc. All of it over my head, which is why I moved to sit opposite Stephen instead. (At least that way I had more than one option in conversation.) Finger food arrived and Stephen once more called me a cannibal for eating chicken breast. :D Anyway, poor Dilph was sitting there pretty much by himself whilst the two tech-heads chatted away and he didn't look too happy so I moved myself again in order to chat with him. (That did throw the waitresses off later when they returned with our meals.)
I guess I should point out what I had. Hickory Smoked Prime Rib steak with fries and salad(!!!!!*). Dessert was a banana split. MMMmmmm!! Delicious as always. :> (* Yes, what is the world (whyrled?) coming to when I'm finally eating salad. And ENJOYING it, too! Rabbit = food, not rabbit food!! The mind boggles..)
We shuffled off to Abingdon street. Enterprise was starting on TV in ten minutes when we arrived at Bingo's place, but we decided to go for a 7-11 run instead (despite the fact it wasn't a 7-11 anymore, and they didn't sell Jolt!!.) When we got back it was about 11pm, hence I'd already missed half the episode. Steven was watching "Ship In A Bottle" (TNG) on tape instead of Enterprise, I thought it'd be ... I dunno .... there was another TV in the lounge room but I didn't want to touch it. Sebkha and I trundled next door to have a look (we got accosted mid-trundle by Cameron, who was heading off. He gave us invitations to some fancy dress thing, to which Sebkha replied he "never really understood the whole costume thing".) Heathens!! Snowy was watching anime on her TV (Bubble Gum Crisis, whatever that is) and I was too afraid to venture further into that residence. By the time I actually got back to Bingo's and fiddled with the TV in the lounge, I just caught the closing credits of Enterprise "Broken Bow part 1". :p Rrrrrr!!
Dejected, I slumped down in front of Steven's TV and watched the rest of "Ship in a Bottle" (that IS actually one of my favourite episodes). That was followed by an episode of Voyager. I forlornly hung around after that finished, then
Bingo dropped me home and I proceeded to kick around online as I usually do. Much to my annoyance, I discovered that Enterprise HADN'T been taped by my brother last night. It turned out that the family were pissed off at him because they were trying to watch some skiing event on one channel whilst Jeff was trying to set up the VCR to tape Enterprise on the other channel, and he ended up taping the skiing by mistake. :P Smegging heck.
Jeff then said he had both episodes of Enterprise sitting on the Aptiva's hard drive (in .avi format). He told me that they didn't play properly (that they got stuck about 30 seconds in), and sure enough it did. The good thing, though, is that the Aptiva is running Win2k, so I just increased the process priority to "high", and then to "realtime". That did the trick! I got to watch the first episode of Enterprise finally! :D Unfortunately, "realtime" does funky things to the OS, and the mouse wouldn't respond when I attempted to fast-forward the opening credits. SKIES that is a horrid theme song!! Star Trek themes are NOT supposed to have lyrics to them!!
Anyway, I thought the episode was quite interesting, and there were several amusing parts to it (such as their excitement over how fast the Enterprise could travel - nearly Warp 5!) I think they might have said 4.5, actually.
My brothers and I played cricket again this afternoon, and I managed to get my medium-pacers to go at medium pace. :P That included one caught-and-bowled to dismiss Rodney, and I was pretty pleased I caught it. It was almost a reflex action, which goes to show that my catching practice pays off. :>