Sunday, 28 March 2010


Plan to fail, fail to plan. So, here's the plan for this Easter Break.

29-31 March: Nothing much, except hang around London, Brighton and Portsmouth. Maybe Chichester? Mostly revision and packing stuff, because...

1 April: Aside from being April Fool's Day, I'm actually moving into the College Residence. So, I'll be quite busy the entire day.

2-4 April: Not really sure, but I know there's Easter Celebrations at St. Peters on Friday and Sunday. Which leaves Saturday open. Maybe work at the BHF shop?

5 April: Off to B'ham! Late afternoon trip.

6 April: Spend a day at the Bullring and the surrounding areas. Eat at the Balti Triangle? Cadbury World, if I feel like going there (I doubt it)?

7 April: Train from B'ham to M'ster.

8 April: Hopefully, walk around Uni of Manchester, and maybe getting lost in the city.

9 April: Blank, but if I can, I'd probably head to Old Trafford (even though I have very little interest when it comes to football), a couple of museums and libraries (as recommended by Lonely Planet). We'll see...

10 April: Back to B'ton

11 April: Church, and then rush ('chiong') through the textbooks before school reopens.

Friday, 26 March 2010


Been hearing/seeing some bizarre things lately.

Over the past 2 days, I've been heading to London after my lessons to meet Matt Lim (and Jitesh last night) for meals.

Yesterday, apparently, there was a murder incident at Victoria Station at 5.20pm, the station that I have to go through from Brighton to anywhere in London.

Then today, Matt & I were by-standers in two different things.

First, near Liverpool Street Railway Station (Old Broad Street Exit), we saw a lady (along with a few burly guys) chasing another lady who had stolen her handbag. Not sure what the outcome was, but I think she got the handbag back.

Then, at Oxford Street, just outside Urban Outfitters, we saw a crowd gathering around an accident involving a woman and a bus. From the looks of it, the woman was trying to cross the street, and in doing so, hit the front of a double-decker bus. There was ambulance, police, and the front windscreen of the bus showed cracks on the side closer to the door.

Talk about shell-shocked. Times 3...

Oh, and let's not even talk about that drunk girl that went on a bit of a rampage last Saturday and pushed me, some random stranger. Yeah, it's minor, but think of what could have happened had she pushed someone less forgiving and more likely to escalate the situation.

Stay safe, people.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Music Chart for the moment

Because I haven't done one in ages. This'll be a quick one - I have lessons at 2.20.

Music Chart for the moment - 11 March 2010

1. Chiddy Bang - Opposite of Adults
2. Ellie Goulding - Starry Eyed
3. Marina and the Diamonds - I Am Not a Robot
4. Black Eyed Peas - Rock That Body
5. Two Door Cinema Club - Eat That Up, It's Good For You
6. Imogen Heap - The Shepherdess
7. Florence and Dizzie Rascal - You've Got The Dirtee Love
8. Biffy Clyro - Many of Horrors
9. Owl City - Fireflies
10. Rihanna - Rude Boy

Oh, by the way, as a bonus, here's a selection of tunes that I've been enjoying, thanks to Spotify & iTunes (mostly Spotify, because I'm too cheap to buy them).

Albums in my Spotify Playlist
Vamipre Weekend - Contra
Jonsi & Alex - Riceboy Sleeps
Florence & The Machine - Lungs

Stereophonnics - Innocent

Mumford & Suns - Winter Winds
Avril Lavigne - Alice
Regina Spektor - Eet
Gramaphonedzie - Why Don't You
Brian Eno - An Ending (Ascent)*

*For all the Top Gear fans, this was the track that you would have heard while Jeremy Clarkson was lamenting about the "war against speed" at the end of Season 13, while driving that Aston Vantage V12 along the countryside. This track, on its own, keeps sending goosebumps down my spine, in a good way.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Study aids.

I don't think I've ever given sensible advice for studying. (That James Wee guy who did that whole email interview with me probably found that out when he knew I sleep in the weirdest of times.)

But this time, I'm actually giving sensible tips. Yes, I'm introducing you to 3 web tools that I think will help you in whatever it is that you're studying/working on. You might have heard of some of them, but if you haven't, read on. And if you've heard of the first one, I still want you to read it.

1. Google Docs.

We all know that Google Docs is amazing as a Microsoft Office alternative. It's got most of the features, plus it's online, with more collaboration features, and free.

Well, what you probably didn't know is that it can be used to do forms and surveys! Yes, all you JC students with your project works and Survey Monkey stuff. You can use Google Docs to create surveys, embed some code that it generates on a website/blog, and the responses get tabulated "automagically" in a nice table. Just follow the instructions on this link and collect those quantitative/qualitative data (it's a form tool, so it can collect both.)

I tried using it to collect the study hours from the people in my cell group last time (N422), and it worked quite well, except for the part where some people didn't really key in their details. But the point is, people used it, and they didn't have much problems. So, it should work with your project, too! Give it a shot!

2. (or else, )

I've tried this tool ages ago, and then I stopped using it after 3 log-ins. But recently, I found myself actually using it as a handy go-anywhere bookmarking tool that I can use for saving links to articles that I can share during Psychology class (see my page for an example of a real-life application of this tool - I saved 2 links for my Psychology class, which was doing Gender Behaviours).

The basic idea is that you put links into in the same way you'd put into your bookmark bar. Then, when you're on a different computer, those bookmarks will be on a handy website, ready for you to access. You can also use it to share links with others, or subscribe to certain tags. The MacBreak Weekly Podcast team used to (and I think still does) use to gather news stories and picks to talk about during their show by asking people to tag "MBWideas". That's one possible application of this web tool.

Go ahead. Try it. See if it meets your needs.

3. Dropbox.

Dropbox is to the thumbdrive what is to the bookmark bar, and what Google Docs is to Microsoft Office. It's an online storage solution. And a generous one, too. 2GB for free! And, if you introduce 4 other friends to Dropbox via a referral programme (click here for my referral!), you could get up to an additional 256MB*4=1GB!

It's really handy if you're too lazy to dangle a thumbdrive wherever you go. Just make sure there's an internet connection on the PC where you intend to access the files!

There you go! I hope that helps!

[p.s.: I'm on the school PC. For some reason, it forces me to type URLs in posts manually, but allows hyperlinks. That's why I only post full links for those which I can remember in my STM/LTM. Sorry if this post looked a bit "phishy".]

Warwick - To Firm or not to Firm?

I promised Daniel Lim that I would write a 'post or something' after I've gone to Warwick. Well, here it is.

The Warwick Report...
What do I think of Warwick? Well, first off, I'd like to start with the negatives.

The Negatives.

It's a campus university. Some say it's the most 'Campusy' of all campus universities in the UK. What does it mean? Well, your social life and whatnots will all occur within the campus. To put it in another way, it's a bubble. That's because you'd hardly have a reason to get out of the Uni premises and into Coventry. There's not a lot in Coventry, as far as I'm aware, and you're quite probably going to live in the accomodation within the Campus in the first year, which further isolates you from the rest of the city.

(Oh, you have to move out of the Campus accomodation in year 2 & 3. But they have various services to help you find accomodation in Coventry, Kennilworth, or Leamington Spa. The Campus Tour Guide that I had, a 2nd year student, lives in Leam, and he said it only takes about half an hour by bus to get to the campus.)

However, there are upsides to living in a bubble.

The upsides.

Yes, you are in a bubble. But that can be good, too. There are banks in the uni, there's lots of places to grab a bite (one cafe in every department, if I saw correctly). There's an Arts Centre, which does play host to some great acts from time to time. There's a sports centre for your sporting needs (membership £100-ish a year, apparently). There's a post office, a few barbers, a bookshop, a library with online services accessible from the web, etc. The uni is quite self-sufficient, I think you'd agree.

And yes, it's in Coventry. But if you zoom out in Google maps, you'd find that Birmingham is just a 15-min train ride away, and London isn't too far, either - 1 hour on Virgin Trains. Compare this with Exeter, which is 2 hours + from London.

The accomodation is relatively cheap by UK Uni standards. £70-120/wk for campus accomodation, and when you move out to Leamington Spa, you're not in London, so rent isn't going to be overly expensive either.

Also, it's the Unbiversity of Warwick. It has good reputation within and outside the UK. Which probably helps explain the diverse mix in the Uni.

The good rep also comes with its own perks. Lots of major employers will come down for career fairs. That's really useful in a competitive job market.

Oh, and they have a really awesome-looking pub (The Dirty Duck).

On Academics...
(You can probably research more about this on your own from the Warwick website and the various Good Uni Guides, so I'll just post what I learnt from the Open Day.)

From what I gathered during the Open Day, the University's research have received high ratings. This is important as it means you are learning from the people involved in the cutting-edge of the latest developments in the subject you're studying.

For Accounting & Finance, they bring in people working in the trade from time to time, e.g.: to teach on Taxation. And the degree is well-received by major accounting bodies - ACCA might allow up to 8 exemptions (out of 14 exams), depending on course choices.

For Economics, I've heard (from Shu-Yee :p) that they've been bringing in other Sciences into the subject, rather than just numbers. Think Psychology, Sociology, Biology, and Maths all combined into Economics. That's the 'in' thing at Warwick.

One thing I should point out though, before you get all excited about studying these things - Exams still form a major part of the Uni system here. They have project works, essays, and other assignments, but there's no escaping from exams. But then again, I think most UK Universities are reliant on exams, so if you choose to come here, you're going to face them eventually.

Did I mention the library? They have a digital catalogue of journals which are accessible from your computer (so you should be able to access them during the holidays), and they're starting to bring in eBooks, so it's good to hear that they're still improving.

Closing Statements...

Warwick is not a perfect university. But I can see myself going there. My only dilemma now is whether to make it my Firm or not.

If Yes, then I have to decide if I want to do the stupid thing of making Exeter my Insurance, or do the sensible thing by making Manchester my Insurance.

If not, then Exeter will be my Firm, and Warwick my Insurance.

(Requirements: Exeter: AAA, Warwick: AAB +C/b, Manchester: AAB)

I'll think about it before May comes. But for now, I really think I should go to Warwick.

(P.s.: When picking accomodation, try and avoid Whitefields - it's really near to the Student Union, which can be nice if you're a party animal, but not during exam time. Can get a bit noisy.)

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Stuff I've been hooked on recently.

This is going to be one of my meta posts - I just post a random list of stuff that I've been hooked on, and you get to try some of them.

Yep. It's that simple.

Anyway, Let's start with Music.

Been listening to a few artistes that I've recently been introduced to / come across. Ellie Goulding, Marina and the Diamonds, Stereophonics, Phoenix, The xx. At the same time, I'm getting hooked on stuff that's been in the middle of my commute playlist - in other words, the part that I never really get to on a normal day, beacuse I set my playlist to be so darn long. Florence & The Machine's "Dog Days Are Over" have been ringing in my ears.

Oh, for all the Imogen Heap fans out there, she's jsut uploaded this track called "The Shepherdess", created and recorded 'live' at her recent gig in Shepherd's Bush. Do go over to her website and download it if you have a credit card - the proceeds go to a local hospital in London. Apparently, Immi's trying this out - recording tracks and selling them on her site, giving the proceeds to a local charitable organisation of her choice.

Moving on, let's talk about iPhone Apps.

As many of you know, I've been using TuneIn Radio and Sleep Cycle really really often recently - probably the most used app, along with TweetDeck, Facebook, Engadget and The Guardian apps. Games-wise, I've gone geek again, recently - World Maths Day 2010 is on my phone, people. And if you have never downloaded Toobz-Free, where have you been? It's probably one of my favourite free apps on the App Store.

There's also Riddim Ribbon, which just added... drum roll, please.... .... ... 1 more track! Well, when I say 1, what I really mean is 1 remix of 2 BEP tracks - Imma Bee, and Rock That Body (another one of my 'hooked-onto-recently' tracks). But at least we know Tapulous is working on stuff for Riddim Ribbon. So go get it!

Oh, and if you're in the UK, and you're looking for the best rail guide app, there's no looking elsewhere - National Railway and CrossCountry are both great when used together. One's £4.99, the other's $0.00. Get 'em both when you're planning a train journey/checking train times!

That's all for now. Gotta rush to class!