Sunday, 29 November 2009

Oh noes!!

*annoying popping sound*

The program 'McAfee updater' is trying to access the Internet!!! OMGWTFLOL!!


*annoying popping sound*

McAfee is out of date! Oh noezzz what shall we do?!?!?

I shit thee not. Well, perhaps it wasn't worded quite like that, but that's how I choose to read it. Yes, McAfee SecurityCenter (bloody American spellings) has finally caught up and realised that the most potent threat to my computer is, in fact, McAfee SecurityCenter. And not just because it's designed by people with dodgy spelling skills and space-bar-aversion; no, apparently it's trying to access the Internet. Not only that, but it's antiquated as well! (And for some reason it's of the view that downloading the latest version would solve this.)

Usually, when it starts complaining about updates, the resolution is a simple case of clicking 'install updates.' However, since the latest SuperAwesome McAwesomeUpdate (NowWithEvenFewerSpaces), its very components are at odds with one another all of a sudden, and such an endeavour is obstructed by anti-virus anti-productivity red tape. So what happened? Well, allow me to retell a tale whose horrors shall play upon your very bones like some form of poorly-tuned percussion instrument. Yes, I know that didn't make any sence.

Upon restarting (which I was compelled
to do by a big impertinent pop-up which repeated its demand like a child seeking sugar), I was immediately affronted by a torrent of McWhineBoxes. Every single one was from good ol' McAfee, asking for yet another of its components to be allowed access to the Internet. I honestly wasn't aware that it comprised so many discrete processes, but there we go. I suppose it serves as an example of the lengths programmers will go to outrequire the latest hardware.

Now, at least that can be easily dispelled through an hour or so of mindless allowing (during which period I may unintentionally have allowed
Internet access to thousands of malwarez without noticing). However, another more pressing issue remains: McAfee SuperFireWallPlus isn't intalled!!! Or, at least, the middle-right portion of the SecurityCenter window believes that. The bottom-left portion knows it's there, but is keeping that to itself. Why? It's simple; the two portions have fallen out:

Now, one question remains. What did this new and glorious update actually add, to counterbalance the inconvenience of having to exhaustively allow every single one of McAfee's myriad sub-processes, and at the expense of the program's capability of determining its own integrity?

A new splash screen.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Imperial postmortem

Straight from the gargantuan sprawling mass of over-urbanisation that is London, I return! Now, allow me to spin for ye a tale of terror, adventure and outright ravery.

To begin with, I was ludicrously early - once again Google Maps has presumed me to be a lethargic snail made of concrete, and the journey from the underground station to Imperial College which it estimated as taking around twenty minutes took a mere five (if that). I planned the journey such that the twenty-minute walk would leave around fifteen minutes cushion-time, which could always be spent faffing around outside the university, but ended up spending a whole half-hour wandering around the area. It was a larf though.

Someone at Imperial has found out about my passion for procrastination, and as such my interview was one of the last. The first three hours were spent being shown super-spiffy demonstrations (including a balancing robot!) and being told how awesome the university is at everything (they might not have been lying here). And then followed the interviews.

Everyone in the group I was in was being interviewed simultaneously; however many the interviewers took a while to get there. And so we were left sitting around a table whilst the interviewers gradually came and picked us off, one by one. That was probably the worst part.

The interview, when it came, wasn't all that bad. Naturally I have to be quite vague about it, however. There were a few questions about my personal statement, but they seemed to be mainly out of interest - for example, "what sort of pieces does your jazz band play?" Two of them actually led into him explaining some of the things they've done at the university. Of course, there was a significant portion of maths in the middle of it all. I was mainly deriving the golden ratio in various ways, and each time I got there with a bit (sometimes a lot) of help from the interviewer. Generally I think I didn't do too badly, although I did make a few shameful mistakes - most notably, when I said two ratios were equal but then spent ages pondering what do do next before the interviewer had to explicitly point out that ratios can be expressed as fractions. And I had actually done just that for the previous question. Aah, mind blanks...

So, to summarise and conclude, the interview was largely not what I'd expected and the maths was fairly-hard-yet-doable-eventually. Not a clue whether I'm likely to get an offer or not; it really could have gone either way in the interviewer's eyes. But I believe offers/rejections come through in around two weeks or so. Thus Time, the omniscient (yet unforthcoming) being that it is, shall eventually tell.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Imperial College London interview tomorrow...

Eep. Fear and pre-emptive terror shall ensue.
Well, I'll be sure to post here afterwards to say how badly it went. And then maybe I can get on with ExeSketch!

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Got an interview for Cambridge

Quite surprisingly I've got a massive amount of notice for this one - apparently they don't normally tell you until the week before, thus forcing you to spend vast quantities of cash on train tickets. It's not until the 10th of December, a full four weeks after the one at Imperial (which is rapidly closing in!). Now, by D00ve's Law (given a particular timeframe T, the time spent procrastinating is (19/20)T with the remaining period spent actually working) that gives me 1.4 days to prepare, which seems reasonable enough. But firstly, the Next Wednesday interview must be prepared for. Updates to come when it's over!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Once more out of the gloom

It's time for...

So, what's new this time?
Well, to start off with, here's the UCAS application situation:

Cambridge - Acknowledged, and allocated to Jesus college
Imperial College London - newly-added choice; invited for interview
Edinburgh - Acknowledged
Glasgow - Unconditional offer!
St Andrews - Acknowledged

So even if all four of my other choices reject me, I can at least go to Glasgow!
Annoyingly I have a long wait before I'll hear anything else. Edinburgh and St Andrews have both explicitly said they won't make any decisions until the UCAS application deadline (15th January) at the earliest, and St Andrews is notorious for not telling anyone whether they're in or not until the absolute last minute. I believe Cambridge don't generally send out interview invitations until around the end of November, so it'll be a while before I hear anything from them (I'll update here when I do).

Imperial College, however, have been terrifyingly quick to reply. I added them to my application just last Saturday, and received the invitation to interview on the Wednesday! It's for Wednesday the 18th, which from now gives me around nine days to get ready - master all the maths I've done in school, and be AWESOME at everything I've even hinted at on my personal statement. This as well as working out how to get down to London in time for the early afternoon interview without spending too-many-hundred pounds. Slightly worrying, but it's thankfully being counterbalanced by the still-strong 'yaaaay, I got an interview' feeling.

Once again I'm terribly sorry about the lack of any ExeSketch progress, but at the moment I'm going to have to focus on being able to explain how I did it instead of coding ahead on regular polygons. However, I do have an algorithm for regular polygons worked out in my head. It's just yet to adopt any tangible manifestation.