I don’t like exams

Two exams this week – MT264 and MS221. I don’t like exams, I’ve done the past papers and read over my notes but I’m still not looking forward to them.

Windows XP SP3 in Virtual Box

This post is more to jog my memory than anything else but as I mentioned in an earlier post the OU’s MCT department has a Microsoft DreamSpark Academic subscription.

Most modules requires some software. There are most always issues with Windows 7 or Linux and there are often licensing issues – Mathcad for example is only valid for the duration of the module.

So I use a virtual machine (VirtualBox) running Windows XP.

  • Create a new machine and install Windows XP.
  • Back up the machine to removable media.
  • Clone the machine for each module and install the relevant OU software.
  • Destroy the machine when the module is complete.

The version of Windows XP Professional on DreamSpark doesn’t have any Service Pack installed (there are three for Windows XP). Installing SP3 requires SP2, you can get all three from Microsoft.

Microsoft Dreamspark

I got an invite from the Open University’s MCT department to try DreamSpark:

DreamSpark is a Microsoft Program that supports technical education by providing access to Microsoft software for learning, teaching and research purposes.

DreamSpark is simple: it’s all about giving students Microsoft professional-level developer and designer tools at no cost so that students can chase their dreams and create the next big breakthrough in technology – or just get a head start on their career.

Microsoft’s DreamSpark Website.

Its been quite useful. So far, I’ve tried Windows 8 and moved to a more recent version of Visual Studio. I recommend it, certainly if your University has an academic membership its worth asking for access because there is a significantly larger amount of software available.


I’m just back from overseas, the Internet access was not good hence the lack of updates. With two exams in October (MT264 and MS221) I’ve got some serious revision to get on with too, so updates will continue to be sparse.

TU100 11J café read only

As the students await their EMA results, for me and Nicky TU100 finishes as the Café goes read only. Moderating has been an interesting experience. Thanks to all those who took part – there have been some great discussions.

All the best for their future studies, I hope you get the results you worked for.

Small steps

Back in October I started to develop some serious shin pain and began the Army’s rehabilitation process. A better process than people give credit for – put in effort, take it seriously and it has results. It just takes time. Today I got upgraded to a run/walk program – as long as I remain pain free I could be running in three weeks. I’ve missed doing a few miles after work.

Speaking of small steps, that’s how MS221 TMA 2 feels. I enjoyed Chapter B3 (eigenvalues) but there’s only one question on it. Iteration is half the paper! I’ve still to catch up with block C!

MT264 TMA 3 is due at the start of March – so I think I’ve another week where I’ve time only to train, study and sleep.

Thankfully I’m a couple of weeks ahead on TT284. I’ve kept off the PlayStation but MW3’s first map pack is out at the end of the month.

Invisible posts and the same complaints

I’m sure my posts on TT284-12B are invisible. Someone asks a question, I post an answer then three others post the same answer shortly before the asker thanks them. Sounds petty, I know, but I’m genuinely wondering if my posts are visible.

I’m tired of seeing the same complaints too. You might well argue that if people keep complaining there’s a genuine issue and there is – people don’t read the damn module descriptions. If the module description says the material is entirely presented on-line (which it does) then you’re on a hiding to nothing to complain you didn’t get a book.

University should be somewhere to meet people with similar interests, share ideas and see things from new perspectives. Perhaps its because I’ve been moderating a module that I’ve become jaded. I’m becoming less and less interested in interacting with other students.

TMA results for Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone, whatever your faith (you get the sentiment)!

MS221’s first TMA was returned yesterday. My tutor has a sense of humour – she gave me an extension, acknowledged receipt and within a day emailed me to tell me she’d given me a week’s extension on TMA 2 so I could “catch up more gradually”. I spent a few days thinking I’d totally screwed up the assessment but I actually got 93% – which I’m pretty damn pleased with (especially as I didn’t answer one part).