Older blog entries for mathrick (starting at number 49)

Turns out that this MSKLC thing (which I downloaded to try and fake Compose key from Unix) is more fun than I suspected. First, the whole download process, with its braindamaged “genuine windows” stuff, which apparently wasn’t read by any English speaker before publication:

To share comments with and ask questions of other users of genuine Microsoft software, participate in the Windows Genuine Advantage newsgroup.

And then, I get to see this pinnacle of UI and HCI design:
<img src="http://mathrick.org/images/msklc_fun.PNG" alt="UI design at its peak" />

Now I finally understand the true benefits of Genuine Windows programme.

Sez M$ in the “advantages of genuine Microsoft software” (emphasis mine):

“You will also have access to new innovations and offerings available only to genuine Windows customers”

Cool. Now where do I sign up for old innovations?

I have just observed cat (successfully) hunting something down outside. That’s what I call the best of 2 worlds: the computer lab and contact with nature ;)

I wonder why WP insists on my own comments being spam. It seemingly does that no matter the machine I try to post from, nor if I’m logged in or not. Bugger.

Lots of everything going on, due to various circumstances I wasn’t able to post in the last week, so the amount of what should be written is rather large. Part of the reason was that I was sick last weekend, so instead of going for the announced cottage trip and having fun, I spent it lying in bed, not-really-able to think or write consistently. After that, I no longer had a computer available, so posting was rather out of question. And now you know.

Anyway, back to the stuff, in random order:

Bought myself a pair of bike lights, to be able to bike at night and not get fines from the local police. Turned out they didn’t work. Gone back to the big store I got it from (Bilka), and they have special section split out reserved just for the customer service. You just get a number in line, wait till it’s your turn, and settle your matters quickly and painlessly. Now, I can’t really compare it to Poland, because I don’t think I ever had to complain about a faulty product, but what I like here is the acceptance of the fact that shit happens, and someone just has to handle it, and its better for the business to do the dirty work, instead of relaying it to the customer. That’s still far too uncommon in Poland, sadly. My belief in the fact it’s a system, not an isolated occurence is strengthened by me having to cancel the cottage trip (due to the abovementioned sickness) just the next day, and it went even smoother than before – I just needed to make one call, I was instantly proposed to get my money back whenever I’m good enough to visit the office. Really a zero fuss system (even though in the end the lights stopped woring after few days, and I spent more on them I’d pay for at local “everything home and workshop” store for proper lights, but the customer service is still nice).

OTOH, I must say that things here are seriously fucked up. Honestly. For example, I missed one lecture because the timetable isn’t up for it yet (thanks to busted electronic everything system, which generated hellish delays all over the place), and I couldn’t login to “blackboard” system on Tuesday (again, busted system), and that was the only place where I could learn that first lecture is on Wednesday. So I learned that, on Wednesday after coming back from school.
Further, you’d expect that all these “e-learn” gizmos we’re supposed to use, SingleSignOn system (from Oracle, no less), account automatically created for every student would mean that I’m able to use the labs computers right from the start. Well, no. Instead I need to register with every institute separately, and of course, each has its own naming policy, acceptable passwords policy, policy on whether I’m regarded to be guest or full time student (which projects on my account’s name), hell, I even need to get Windows and Unix accounts separately in one institute! (But, not in another). Oh, and Unix in form of Solaris 8 is just a joy to use (even with Gnome 2.8 installed), becaus that fucking thing has no support for XKB. Which means no hope for Polish keyboard. Which means no school paper writing. Which means angry me, grrr. Fortunately, both institutes also have Linux labs, which is a lot nicer. Even though it’s Mandrake (or Mandriva now), which in turns means every menu and settings fucked up to infinity. D’oh.

Oh, and another lecture I missed because it overlapped with another class (from the same institute, nothing fancy like classes from different institutes), and, I think I found the Denmark’s single civil officer unable to speak even a word in English. But I wonder why she was placed in Folkeregister (National Register), which by definition deals with assigning CPR (sort of Danish social security evidence) numbers to the foreigners. And everything here is so damn expensive. Coffee is 12kr at the very least (I mean, coffee at the human-run place. Vending machines strangely enough have 4 kr for coffee, strangely because they have â^z kr for everything else). And the books I’m supposed to buy will easily amount to several thousand kr. Booo :(

I have just deleted all the legitimate comments instead of spam ones, including the comment with valuable piece of advice I haven’t fully read yet :(. It should just be allowed to shoot spammers in the face.

Just got back from welcome party at Uni. There was rector’s speech, then a speech from one professor researching globalisation, and then there was kindof party. That’s what I call international. We got Polish, Chinese, German, American, Hungarian, Danish, Korean, French, African, Norwegian and some other nationalities I have forgotten. Afterwards we went to the bar in the city centre, and now I’m beat. G’night.

First, I need to share the revelation that struck me just now and left completely baffled. For a while now I’ve been getting strange symptoms – the internet connection to my computer was going awfully slow, and more often than not ended in timeout, while my rommate’s was going all smooth (even if a little not-too-fast, but that was normal slowness resulting from 16Mb link being shared by entire campus, not the hellish thing I was experiencing). I started suspecting there’s something wrong with how my ethernet socket / IP assignment / whatever is configured, and all the symptoms seemed to confirm that – move to his socket, and all’s going great. Back to mine – welcome to the world of pain. So I got the admin come over and see, checking shortly after that the problem persists, but mysteriously everything started working normally. It looked like everytime I wanted to report that, and moved around to check, the matters would come back to normal. I started suspecting some kind of DHCP lease timeout (which would further strengthen my theory of faulty conf on the network’s side) and tried shutting down the machine for entire night to see if it’ll help – nope. I couldn’t understand for the life of me what’s happening. I discovered the cause accidentally when moving around with my disk I normally keep in USB case to roommate’s machine to read my ext2 partitions (the machine I’m using had some problems). Turns out it’s the disk – every time I connect it to USB port, the net connection dies. Remove the plug – everything back to normal.

zOMGWTF FUNKY!!!!!!11!one!!!!eleven!!1

Anyway, back to your normal scheduled programme. Been at “Orientation Day” yesterday, some useful info about Uni, some people met. Tired at the end of day, but we still got to the bar in the evening, to play some table football. There’s a pair of Czechs who beat the crap out of us regularly (although we still get to win sometimes). Grrrr.

PS. I still hold that net configuration over here sucks some arse, as all the SMTP outbound traffic is blocked. But that’s “normal” kind of misconf, and something to sort out with admins by the means of civilised dialogue, not heavy, 2x4 and spiked kind of dialogue.

So. I wanted to get around the city and look for cheap bikes today. Instead, I got flat tyre and spent entire time I had allocated on first attempting to fix it, and then getting new one and changin it. Ghrr. Also, the laptop I’m using right now has danish keyboard, in small notebookish layout to that. And some genious invented having “Fn” key instead of Ctrl, and Ctrl slightly to the right. So I need to aim to the right when I want to hit Ctrl-Backspace, which often results in Alt-Backspace instead. Which for some reason means “delete everything” in IE (yeah, I’ll be installing FF ASAP here). So first half of this post has been already typed in 3 times. Yay for great ideas. Now I need to finish before I run out of battery juice, because I have the laptop, I have the power adaptor, but I don’t have cable to connect that adaptor to the mains :>

Wow, an update. There haven’t been one in something like… 4 months? That means I had to delete several thousands of spam comments before doing anything :(. I need to finally update to WP 1.5, hopefully it’ll cope better with spam. Honestly, I’d like to just have my spamassasin but for blog, and a way to delete all the spam comments at once.

Anyway, I’m in Denmark now (been here since Thursday). Thanks to Socrates/Erasmus programme, I’m in Odense (take a look at the coordinates which should be somewhere close to this post :), as an exchange student. So far it’s very cool, if you have ever seen kids books illustrations of typical Danish town, there’s a news for you: it’s all true. The houses really look like they do on pics, most are small and very, hmm, cute. Also, the interior design seems to be universally good, you just don’t get to see badly arranged houses.

The city is all crazy about bikes, Odense being one of the biggest Danish towns is also the most bikified one. You can get by bike everywhere. And you have special bike lanes on every street, including roundabouts, which is something completely uncommon in Poland. That’s the part I really like about it, although I still don’t have a bike on my own (I will be going to town to look for a bike tomorrow). What totally beat me was young woman, with two small kids, doing quite significant shopping, and then riding home by bike. Turns out that with a basket, kids seat and a trailer you can do it.

There’s still a lot to do before the term starts, good thing my “buddy” (the person you get assigned to help you get around in the city when you arrive, sort out the paperwork, etc.) is a very nice guy, and extremely helpful. Thanks to him, I have a bike before I get my own, same thing with a computer (I don’t have a laptop, and couldn’t really take my desktop with me here).

One very noticable thing (besides everyone speaking Danish) is that you can get away with English almost anywhere. Even the old ladies walking with dogs will tell you you don’t need to be afraid in English once they notice you don’t understand Danish :>. Another is that Danes really like their Danebrog, there’s a good chance to see a flag on every street, and about every other shop is called “Dansk something” (the rest is called “Fynsomething", Fyn being the name of island Odense is situated on). Quite similar to Americans and their love of Stars & Stripes, I think.

That’s enough for today, I need to get up early tomorrow and look around the city for a cheap bike.

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