All posts by Erwin


Thus far, my Sunday has been quite boring. I woke up around 11am, got up, boiled some water, wash my face and brushed my teeth. I then had a rousing breakfast of a Powerbar and some warm water. I honestly love warm water in the mornings. As I ate, I sat down, surfed for news, and also watched the local news. It just made me sad.

I chatted on Messenger a bit and then before I knew it, it was 1pm. Still feeling hungry, I went to one of the kitchens here and heated up a can of soup for lunch. Then came, the boring readings.

As I mentioned before my CPSC 544 prof is assigning a tidal wave of reading. It’s so much, that she’s not even addressing a lot of the readings in class. This prompts me to believe these “readings” should be “references” and not actual testable material. However, I’m in a lot of trouble if she thinks all the readings that are assigned are testable material. There are only two days in between classes and so far, she assigns about 100-120 pages of reading in between classes. Not only is it just a Herculean task to get the readings done, I find it hard to believe anyone is retaining all info they read.

Here’s an example of how it’s going to be impossible to keep up with her reading assignments: on Friday, she assigned us to read Chapters 9, 10, and 11 from this book (approx. 80 pages!) which she freely admits that won’t be in the reading room until after the lecture for which we should have done the reading. So by the time Tuesday lecture ends, I will have to read the previous 80 pages from before, plus the 100-120 pages she will invariably assign for Friday.

Nic, a nice chap I’ve met at St. John’s, has recommended I begin doing a skim reading technique for this class: read the first paragraph and then the conclusion for each section, skim through the rest. This will become a necessity for me I believe.

Another beef I have about this class is that all the lectures are presented in Powerpoint form. Unfortunately, the slides aren’t posted on the course website until after the lecture. So, I have to sit there watching the slides which I don’t have. The professor teaches exclusively from the slides, so we don’t take any notes. It’d be nice to make little annotations next to the slides as she goes along, but since no one has the slides we can’t do that. Afterwards, we can print out the slides, but here’s where it gets ridiculous, some lectures have as many as 80 slides! I’ve calculated it where on an average week, I’ll have to print out 60 pages of Powerpoint slides for lecture notes. That’s 240 pages of notes for one month of class. In my undergrad days, I’d be surprised if I had 240 pages of hand-written lecture notes for an entire term in a class.

Well, after lunch, I tried to read this online book that was assigned to us. The whole document was setup as a web site, and I hate reading academic material on a monitor. So, I decided to print out the whole book. The whole thing was divided in sections for about 70-80 pages in total. I got half way through printing it all when I just got frustrated at having to read all this and to probably not discuss it in class.

I decided to read some stuff for my CPSC 352 Software Engineering course. I’m really enjoying this course. It was much more enjoyable.

After that, I started reading this online book. Four hours later, I’m about two-thirds through it, but my motivation is really low when I have no clue how important this material is. If the prof is going to gloss over the material, why the hell would I want to spend my entire Sunday afternoon reading this?

Now, if I were younger, I’d probably just continue to bitch about this, but I’m old and ornery now. On Tuesday, I’m going to talk to the prof and ask her two things: 1. can you please consider putting on the slides before the lecture? 2. why give us so much reading when it seems so little of it is addressed in class?

I’m going to try to finish this stupid book before Band of Brothers is on tonight, but it probably won’t happen.

Be glad you didn’t have the Sunday afternoon I did!


I was going to use my cell phone here, but the reception sucks. Something probably to do with the asbestos in the walls.

Anyways, I took the plunge and got an actual land line. Now if any of you care, and I doubt that many of you do, you can e-mail me and I’ll pass along my number.


So I e-mailed the guy that knew about the all the network traffic problems last night. He response was an eye-opener. I’m no network engineer, but what he told me was surprising. Apparently, St. John’s is on an unswitched network. Using any number of publicly and free software tools, you can monitor all the internet traffic on our network. He said it’s perfectly legal to do so since you’re not going in and rooting around inside anyone’s computer. You’re simply analyzing the data that’s coming over the network.

Well, I tried this right away. I went to, typed in “network sniffer”, closed my eyes and picked the first program my finger pointed to. In about ten minutes I was able to see what everyone was doing on Internet in my residence. Some people were using MSN Messenger, others were using Outlook, and most everybody was surfing the net. Here’s the interesting thing, I was able to also see what sites they were visiting.

To my dismay, at first everyone was visiting really innocent and productive sites, eg. Yahoo mail, Hotmail, NY Post online, TSN, UBC departmental sites, UBC student services, etc. Where was the porn? Where were the racy sites? I began to get bummed out. I couldn’t be the only pervert in St. John’s! I suddenly became very conscious of what sites I had visited recently.

Undeterred, I continued to monitor our network. About 15 min. later, everyone was still doing completely productive surfing. Then, it happened, two IPs on the network began listing porno sites as activity. Yes! I am not alone! Ha ha ha…

The lucky thing is that you can’t match the IP to exact room numbers. I’m not sure who has that list, I don’t think it’s public. Nonetheless, it’s a bit weird knowing anyone can see what other people are doing over the network.

Ok, I gotta go read some stuff. Take care.


So, sometime between 12am and 12:30am my internet connection crapped out. Everything stopped. I couldn’t do anything. About fifteen minutes later, I reboot and everything is fine.

An hour later or so, I get this e-mail on the St. John’s mailing list. One of the residents is looking for a specific port owner on the St. John’s network. In his e-mail he states that one particular port caused the gateway to shut down to due to a massive amount http requests from that port. Furthermore, he said that most of the requests were going to web sites that were unavailable. His message was a warning to that particular port owner that something might be wrong with their system.

I read that e-mail and forgot all about it. Twenty minutes later, it clicked in my head… wait a minute, how the hell did that guy know about the traffic over the network? How did he know what sites that port owner was trying to visit? Did he have access to network stats or something?

Geez, with all that porn I’ve been looking at, my log of sites visited must probably make me look like a real sick individual!


If you’re like me, and let’s hope you’re not for your sake, you’re eagerly awaiting the DVD release of Episode II : Attack of the Clones. I am counting the days till November 12th.

Sure, you could start looking for a copy of the disc one leak, but why not wait two months for the real thing?

In the meantime, you can take a look at the Episode II DVD trailer. I snagged it off the site. It’s pretty slow with so many people getting the file. I decided to put it on my server. Right-click here and choose Save As (.asf / 8.9 Mb). You’ll need to have Windows Media Player to play the file. One other note, if you’re using Media Player 9, the file will screw up at the end. Use an earlier version of MP to see the really cool parts near the end. Enjoy!


It was an interesting day today. I had three hours of class time today: a one hour lecture, followed by two hours in a lab.

At the lecture, something neat happened. The prof was describing a software engineering concept. After he was done, the girl next to me asked me to clarify what he had just said. I was like, “Whoa, some girl in com sci is asking me, some clueless dude in mechanical engineering, to explain this com sci stuff!” I did the best I could to explain the concept, I’m not sure I did a good job in relating it to her. It’s neat that she asked me and that I was able to explain it to her because I was a bit apprehensive about doing all these com sci courses. This sorta validates that, yes, in fact, I can do com sci and I can keep up with the com sci students. Then another funny thing happened. The girl wanted me to put down my name and e-mail address so that she could e-mail me any questions she had… lol… I told her I doubt I could be much use, but I gave her my contact info… ha ha ha.

After the lecture, I headed straight to my lab. This was going to be my first lab in a long time, and even longer since my last com sci lab. Despite some minor network problems, the lab went quite well. I was keeping up with the rest of the computer engineering students. The lab was quite enjoyable, though easy, but it was a good intro to some software engineering tools. The TA was really nice too, and he explained a few things about Java that C++ programmers would need to know.

So, though I know it will get harder, I’m sure I can do this com sci material now. Yay!

Now for some random observations. As I walk around campus, I’ve noticed that nearly everybody wears their backpacks with both straps over their shoulders. Back when I was in undergrad, it seemed to me like less than half the people wore their backpacks with both straps. It just wasn’t done. Only if your pack was really heavy, or if you were a square did you wear both straps. Now, times appear to have changed. I remember a few years back, there were some news stories in the media about how children should wear both straps and that not doing so could cause back problems. I guess the kids that were around when those stories broke are now in university. Weird.

Here’s another weird observation. About two weeks ago, I was at Walmart at Lougheed Mall buying stuff for my new place. While I was there, I’m sure I saw a guy that I used to go to high school with. His face was very familar and I think he was in my math class or something. Anyways, it was no big deal and I filed it away in my head.

Well, twice now, I’ve seen the same guy leaving the vicinity of the Electrical Engineering building on campus. Everytime, I see him leaving that area and heading to The Barn, which is a coffee shop. The thing is, I haven’t actually seen him leave or enter the EE building, so I can’t really be sure where he’s coming from. Now I want to know.

And for my final observation, man, the chicks here at UBC are so damn hot!!! Ha ha ha…. ha… heh… ahem…


Wow, I just noticed this on the web page for the CPSC 544 course I’m taking. The first class was today, and the next class is on Friday. In the meantime, the professor wants us to read over 70 pages of material for Friday!!!

Whoa, I know grad courses required lots of reading, but 70 pages is a lot in about three days!!! This is going to put a dent in my free time. Geez, I hope this doesn’t limit the time I have to play games. 🙂


Ok, so this may not be a momentous event, but it kinda feels like one.

I have a lab in my Software Engineering course tomorrow. Tonight, I wrote some Java code for the lab. Well, actually, I re-wrote some existing code, but still it’s kinda cool. And, I really don’t know Java either, but I’m not letting that get me down. I haven’t written code for a class since my fourth year of undergrad, which would make it 1996. Woo hoo! Exciting!


The beginning of school can be hectic. I did a lot of running around again today. I had a class and a seminar, but together, they only lasted an hour and a half.

After that, I came home, had a shower, and ate lunch. That’s when the fun started. I then went to see a CS prof about her class. Next, I decided to buy a textbook I needed, so I trekked across campus to the bookstore. Once in the bookstore, I saw my textbook was listed as costing $183.00!!! This book was tiny. Nearly $200 for a single text, what a rip off! I don’t think I’ve seen a textbook costing so much before. Balking at the price, I went and bought some dividers for my binders. I paid at the computer section thus, bypassing the clueless newbies at the front of the store.

I decided next to see if the used bookstore at the village had my book. So off I trekked to the village. One sweaty walk later, I arrived to the used bookstore only to find they didn’t have my book. The library I decided might have the book, so I took the considerable walk from the village to the library. At the library, I used a terminal to find out that the book was out and wouldn’t be back for three days. Bummer. I put in a request for it, but I still had to wait three days.

Ah, the Civil/Mechanical Reading Room might have the book I thought. From the library, I took the long walk back to Civil/Mechanical to check out the reading room. There, I found out that the Reading Room did not have my text.

Being fed up, I knew it was time for pizza. So, I took another walk, from CEME to the Sub and bought a slice of pepperoni pizza from Pie’RSquared. And then I went home.

At home, I checked out and found that my textbook was being offered for half the price the bookstore was selling it for! What a total scam by the UBC Bookstore! So, I ordered it online and it’ll be here in a few days.

If only I knew beforehand, I wouldn’t have had to walk what felt like a marathon today!

Oh and another thing, have I told you how hot some of the women are here at UBC? 😉