Archive for December, 2008

Alex and I have both been busy with TMAs this week, so the weekend seems to have passed in an intensely-studious blur. At the moment I have quite a few days where I can barely manage simple day-to-day stuff, so whenever I have an episode of prolonged lucidity I tend to seize the moment and do as much TMA work as I can! I like to leave blog posts for those not-so-lucid moments 😉

Continue reading


I haven’t been doing much M257 work this week, but I’ve been helping Alex out with his S104 stuff. At the moment he’s reading Book 4, the chemistry one, and this week we watched a video about how various metals react with water. Now, I vaguely remembered from GCSE Science that a piece of calcium will fizz and whoosh around if dropped into a container of water, like this:

Continue reading


Probably very, very behind the times with this, but couldn’t resist after seeing a Wordle image on Sciencewomen. Here’s what you get if you Wordle this blog:


It looks like I’ve written “M366” more than “M257” – it’ll be interesting to see which course is mentioned most frequently next year, when I’ll have M257, M366 and MS221 on the go at the same time!

And thankfully it’s a distinction! I wasn’t expecting the result until Friday, but after reading a post on Open University Etc that mentioned MT262 results, I took a deep breath and loaded up my MT262 course record page:


I was actually anticipating a much lower mark, as I assumed that doing well on the TMAs had made me complacent – very pleasant surprise to see that my exam score isn’t that far below my average for the TMAs!

Continue reading


Bees are awesome: they're relevant to M366, and they make great subjects for macro photography!

I signed up for MS221: Exploring mathematics and M366: Natural and artificial intelligence yesterday, so my bank balance is now £720 lighter, and my schedule will be 16+ hours busier from February onwards!

Apparently the maths course starts one week earlier than the AI course, but oddly enough the AI course materials have an earlier estimated delivery date – not that I mind getting the books early, to be honest I’d like to have them as soon as possible.

I’m looking forward to the maths course most of all, probably because I’ve got more details about it than I have for M366. This page shows all the unit book covers and contents lists for MS221, which I found really helpful when deciding which courses to do next – I’d love to find a similar list for M366, if only to whet my appetite for the course.

I’m about a third of the way through Unit 9 of M257 at the moment, which seems a lot more straightforward than previous units, so I might even be able to get this book finished by the end of the week. Ideally, I’d like to have Unit 10 done by the end of December, so that I can spend January going back over my M257 notes and getting more practice with the topics I’m least confident about, such as:

  • input/output
  • layout managers
  • emailing my tutor without obsessively proof-reading my message eleventy billion times before hitting the Send button

This week I’ve been sloooowly working through the Sun JDBC tutorial, which I finally finished reading this morning. I did intend to pick up where I left off with Unit 8 of M257 as soon as I’d finished the JDBC stuff, but I got sidetracked by a post on Slashdot about functional programming languages, which led to me deciding that now would be a great time to start learning Haskell.

Continue reading