New to Owl Order? Click here for 2009's best posts! 00:00:00

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Cmc: Floppy Disks


Fact 1: You would need a crate to contain Windows 7 if it came in 3.5" floppy disks. The crate would measure about 0.5m on all three dimensions.

Fact 2: Getting a version of Windows without Internet Explorer bundled would save you some 10 diskettes or so.

Fact 3: Assuming a maximum reading speed of 1Mbps (125kBps, typical maximum speed of 3.5" floppies) and 0 diskette-changing time, one would need about 9 hours to install a 3.5" Floppy copy of Windows 7 on a computer.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Sights of UoN: Icy Jubilee

Note: Higher resolution images of all of the following photos are available. Click on the photos to view the high resolution images.

For those who despise photo-editing, stop right here, for a load of images are coming right up, half of them relatively heavily edited. I'm sorry, but snow's just too challenging for my poor old camera.

Paw-prints to Aspire
Frozen Jubilee Lake, with tracks leading to the "Lego Buildings" and the Aspire.

For those who stay, pull up a chair and pour yourself a warm cup of hot chocolate, for you're about to be treated with some 20 icy cold photos of University of Nottingham's newest campus.

Frozen pool
Pools beside one of the "Lego Buildings", frozen solid. The ice was literally inches thick.

Jubilee Campus, one of University of Nottingham UK's three main teaching campuses (excluding King's Meadow), is just a short walk away from my place. When the cold winter coated the ground with inches of snow and slippery ice, it really required more determination than I had to go any further than Jubilee for some winter photo-shooting.

Winter Walkway II

Winter Walkway

But hey, Jubilee Campus has nice sights too. Remember the little waterfall? No? Well here's a picture of it, taken in early winter.

Jubilee waterfall, early winter.

And here's a newer picture of it, taken during the peak of winter.

Winter waterfall I
Jubilee waterfall, peak of winter.

Well, looks like it wasn't really cold enough to freeze the waterfall over.

Winter waterfall II

Most parts of the lake were frozen, though. Take this, for example. The sight was refreshing, wasn't it?

Jubilee Lakescape

That's before hell froze. When it does, this is what it becomes.

Frozen Jubilee Lake

And then there's the Nottingham Geospatial Building. Before...

Nottingham Geospatial Building

... and after.

Nottingham Geospatial Building, Winter

Jubilee Campus library, before...

... and after.

Jubilee Library, Winter

Tracks to library
Heavily edited to bring out the tracks. The grayish patch at the bottom of the photo is an editing scar, probably owing to my lack of experience.

Who would travel to school on purpose when it was THAT cold, just to study in the library? If someone who would exists, that person has to love studying in the library as much as I wanted to catch photos. Looks like the only visitors to the library that time were, er, swans, according to the tracks.

Not that it wasn't already, but the National College of School Leadership, surrounded by water (or ice), became quite attractive during winter.


From all sides.

Winter NCSL II
Reflection on ice.

Winter NCSL I
Nope, this is neither a panorama nor an ultra-wide-angle photo -- the building was actually curved. Believe it or not, this is actually among the less-heavily-edited images today. One of my favourites.

The bald trees during winter really make good silhouettes. Well, these are sunset photos, but, believe it or not, both were captured before 4pm. It would be pitch black by 5.

Winter trees I

Winter trees II

Basically, everywhere I went, there's ice, snow, and more ice.

Hard as ice

Tetris in Winter!
Wanna play Tetris in the cold?

Snow tracks
Again, editing was required to make the tracks discernible.

Will I ever see snow again? Probably not, at least for a very, very long time.

Winter Road II
Heavily edited to improve dynamic range.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

How We Changed Technology

And how technology changed us.

Past, Present, Future (1)
Past, Present, Future (2)
Past, Present, Future (3)
Past, Present, Future (4)

Saturday, 13 March 2010

I C U, Icy Me

Note: High resolution images of some of the following photos are available. These photos are marked with [HiRes] tags in their captions. Click on the photos to view their higher resolution images.

Before coming to Nottingham. seniors told me "you'll be able to experience snow for the first time, with any luck". They made it sound as if snowfall is a once-a-year affair in UK.

The truth is, however, the past winter had been the coldest in UK since decades ago (1970s?). I guess I got quite lucky then.

[HiRes] Snow scenes are challenging to cameras, due to high contrasts, and this is simply too much for my old Nikon to handle. Also, the same ol' camera had trouble catching actual snowfall due to the lack of sunlight.

It snowed on daily basis in Nottingham during the peak of the winter. Unlike rainfall, snowfall is virtually silent, so I've always found it a little surprising to look out the window and realise it was snowing.

Snow Blanket
[HiRes] Peak of winter -- snow covered everything. I don't know why this picture deserved a HiRes.

As a friend mentioned, the fascination of snow is quite unexplainable. After all, we see those things every day in the fridge.

[HiRes] Close-up of snow.

Us people who have never seen snow before would surely be excited to find the world covered with fluffy white stuff.

Or to see big white flakes of dandruff falling from the heavens above. Someone up there needs better shampoo, I guess.

Thoughts quickly came. Snowball fights! Snowmen! Snow angels!

Snow Angel
[HiRes] Snow angel.

It's harder to build a snowman than I had anticipated. How did they ever make them so round? Stupid Disney cartoons involving Donald Duck, Huey, Dewey and Louie misled me.

[HiRes] An example of a better-built snowman. I obviously didn't built it.

"I'm Melting!"
The same snowman losing some of its shape the next morning.

The fun will eventually wear away though. And once that happens, things will not be half as funny any more.

The weather has to be freaking cold for snow to occur, and you wouldn't want anything else than to lie in your warm bed until, um, never. Try going out for two minutes without your gloves and your hands will start aching like they're crushed under a 2-tonne lorry. Your nose would leak faster than the underground pipes in Malaysia.

And worst of all, the roads.

Tyre Tracks
Tyre tracks in Jubilee Campus car park, University of Nottingham.

Snow itself isn't that much of a problem, other than emitting the 'crunch crunch' sounds upon stepping on it. The problem is when friction creates enough heat to melt the snow into water. The water will then re-freeze into ice, making roads slippery. Water also seeps into small holes, creating cracks and potholes if it freezes over and expands.

Imagine walking for 500m and slipping once every few steps.

Travelling may be impossible in extreme conditions, and there were talks about extending the Christmas breaks in January (which didn't come through, if you were wondering).

Icy Bus Stop
[HiRes] Faraday Road bus stop, right beside Raleigh Park, where I'm staying. This stretch of icy pavement was where I slipped the most back then.

For these reasons, the roads and pavements have to be gritted regularly over the course of winter. Salt lowers the freezing temperature of water, melting ice, and small sand particles (or grit) help increase friction to permit travelling. Unfortunately, the roads in Nottingham weren't very well gritted, and as I said in Twitter, I've never had that much trouble walking since I was, like, 5.

Railroad in Winter
[HiRes] Railway tracks, covered with snow. Find the snowman! (It's the very same snowman shown in the two pictures above.)

Nevertheless, this may be the only winter I get to experience in my entire lifetime. I figured it's worth freezing for an hour or two and a few scratches on my knees to catch some photos before the opportunity goes away forever.

[HiRes] This photo looked good in my head, bad in my camera, yet turned out well after editing. The big red seal sort of spoiled it though.

Coming up soon -- Jubilee Campus in winter.

Winter Road
[HiRes] Winter Road. My favourite photo of the batch. I have no idea how one tells temperature and hardness by sight, but the road looks quite hard and cold. Notice that it is also slightly reflective.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010


I love programming. Ever since I started my first language, Visual Basic. Then I took up assembly languages, C/C++ and Java.

But that wasn't enough.

Two days ago I started experimenting with JavaScript (JS). JavaScript is a scripting language designed for webpages. Since then, I have written a Yahoo! meme reader, which I happily embedded into this very blog, replacing the previous Twitter reader I took from someone else. Next I animated the Big Red Seal, lighting it up when a cursor hovers over it. Then I added a JS clock right above the Cbox.

The JS clock came with a message saying "Is it midnight yet?". Because at the stroke of 12, something is going to change...

Is it midnight yet?

As you may have guessed, I wrote this because JS programming took much of my time, and I haven't got my next blogpost ready yet. Nevertheless, enjoy your early (though extremely small) Easter egg!

Saturday, 6 March 2010

I Love.

Note: High resolution images of some of the following photos are available. These photos are marked with [HiRes] tags in their captions. Click on the photos to view their higher resolution images.

[HiRes] My shoe, captured using Sony Ericsson Xperia X1i.

I Love myself. I am probably wrong, but I think I'm the best person to be in this world.

I Love my family. With them around, nothing can possibly go wrong.

I Love my friends. They can turn even the most boring evening into a full-blown party.

I Love gadgets. Cameras. Phones. Computers.

I Love being healthy. Four perfect limbs, sharp hearing, eyesight. They give me freedom.

I Love Earth. Beautiful sights, fresh air, warm breeze -- I recycle and conserve electricity to make sure these don't go away too soon.

I Love my life.

Do you Love?

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Sights of UoN -- The Millennium Garden

Note: High resolution images of some of the following photos are available. These photos are marked with [HiRes] tags in their captions. Click on the photos to view their higher resolution images.

After a few posts in London, I thought we'd return to Nottingham for a while. Doesn't mean I don't have any other London photos to share though. Just a slight change of taste.

Millennium Garden
[HiRes] Ring-shaped pool of the Millennium Garden.

The Millennium Garden is a relatively new addition to the University Park Campus. Located at the very heart of the campus, it is never too far away from, well, anywhere. Click here to see a map of its exact location -- the cross in the centre is aimed directly at the Garden.

Millennium Garden Plan
[HiRes] Some background on the Millennium Garden. Click on the image to read the text.

Law Building
[HiRes] Law building, just beside the Garden.

The view there is awesome. Green grass. Big, tall trees. Colourful flowers. Butterflies. Throw in good weather with warm sun, this is possibly one of the most attractive places in University Park.

Millennium Garden
[HiRes] And a maze. Where's the hedge?

There's a small, shallow ring-shaped pool too, called the Clock Pool. I guess it's called so because the tree in the centre and the many small fountains kind of turn it into a sun dial. But it reminds me more of a Pokéball. I don't think fishing, canoeing or swimming are recommended here, though.

Millennium Garden
[HiRes] Part of the pool.

The benches there are useful for enjoying the fresh air with a lunch box.

[HiRes] Two benches, not far away from Millennium Garden. The steel would be cold in winter, though, hope you don't mind having chilly arses!

Or a camera.

Millennium Maze
[HiRes] Blue Brick Maze.

The view was so astounding even the lousiest photographer could come up with something nice.

[HiRes] There's this globe in the centre of the Garden. It is the object that attracts the most attention in there. Funnily I only got very few satisfying shots of the globe, compared to, say, the pool.

One glance around and I knew it'd be good for panorama shots.

Millennium Garden Pano
[HiRes] Panorama shot of the Millennium Garden, stitched from 3 images.

How wrong I was. It wasn't good. It was awesome.

Millennium Garden Pano
[HiRes] Another pano, stitched from 2 images.

Millennium Garden Pano
[HiRes] Stitched from 3 images. Great view, but looks kinda empty. Some parents chasing after children on bikes would be nice addition.

Click here to see more University-related posts.