Feb 22

So, UTAS, huh?

… A year ago, the mere mention of the name would elicit a muffled giggle from me. Not because I thought the name was funny, or because of the way it was spelt, or anything like that. Nope – it was because it wasn’t one of those Uni’s that struck fear into the hearts of all that entered it hallowed halls, you know? They say that it’s in the top 10 Uni’s of Australia. Then they go on to tell you that it’s number nine. Out. Of. Ten. :o

In other words, it isn’t one of those respected/well-known Uni’s, like Monash, or Swinburne, (RMIT, etc – the list goes on) – certainly not by me, in any case.

You see, the “master plan” for a while now has been to go to the University of Adelaide and study Dentistry – Adelaide because they produce the best dentists, and dentistry because medicine is overrated, or something to that effect.

If you’ve been reading freshbytes lately, though – you would have seen that I just wasn’t good enough. With a TER of 88.9, and some embarrassingly awful UMAT results, I fell well short of what I needed to achieve. Even UTAS didn’t want me to do medicine!

I’m kind of over that now – the UMAT results hurt more than the TER (missing out by 1.1 points still sucks a lot, though). So for now, it’s the “time to do something random for a year and then apply again for next year” time.

My idea of something random is something I would enjoy, but also be able to do decently in – for higher education entry, I need a credit average or higher, with a solid UMAT score.

Something random would also need to be able to be turned into a career later on down the track.

Naturally, the only thing that fits both of these criteria would be a Bachelor of Computing. Sure, some general science degree would have worked as well, but some people I know are already doing Computing. Being one to follow the crowd, I am now doing Computing as well.

Orientation day for us Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology guys was on Thursday last week, and it wasn’t too bad. A tour of the facilities, lunch, sitting down in lecture theatres, and all that kind of stuff that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

You learn a little – but, just like high school, the most informative sessions is always a chat with mates, or with past and/or present students. They’re the ones that can tell you what you can and can’t do, what to do and when to do it, and more!

Final word?

UTAS seems okay. I’ll still miss Calvin, though*.

Comments below.

* Actually, I might have to go back on that. Stay tuned.

written by Benny Ling \\ tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Feb 15

Thankfully, this isn’t a post about the abomination of a movie, All Quiet On The Western Front. I will gladly tip my hat to it for the title, though, and offer this advice: unless you’re a war-movie/history fanatic, stay away!

Phew. Now that that’s out of the way, we can get into some real business…

Right, so Calvin has, in the past, had some pretty wacky forums. For those of you that don’t know, forums are a place for people to share thoughts and ideas via posts, in things called threads, under headings of topics. (I’m using MacTalk Forums as my primary linkage for this post – they certainly don’t mind the extra attention, and it’s the only active forum I participate in these days… Whirlpool is better known for their alternate name, “Whingepool”, and OverClockers AUstralia have a funny registration system, and I just haven’t bothered. *sigh*)

Firstly, the one that started it all was the one and only, Calvin Spam. Started as somewhat of a joke by some geeky year 8’s at the time, (If you graduated Calvin in 2008, you would have been in year 7), it spread quickly due to the nature of the content that was on there. No porn or anything bad like that, just slightly dubious polls like “Do you prefer legs or breasts? And I’m not talking about chicken.” For some year 7s, it was all too much and the IT crowd from our grade were quickly sucked in…
Calvin Spam was open for all at Calvin to join – no exceptions. In hindsight, this probably wasn’t the best option considering the material that was posted there – but hey, I wasn’t the administrator of that particular forum.
From there, it was all downhill. Calvin Spam used to exist at calvinspam.tk – the island of tukelau is renowned for their free domain name service. Efforts to find this forum by our most experienced Google-users have proved unfruitful – for all we know, it could have been a website hosted at home…
Calvin Spam came and went, however. Due to the aforementioned nature of the content, it was quickly shut down.

Years passed. The same Year 7s when the original Calvin Spam were around were now in year 8, and their 1337 (leet, or elite) skills had greatly increased. It was definitely time for another forum, and thus, BWSonline was born. Originally standing for Blair, Weed and Smarty, it was formed by the then-IT contingent of the class of 2008.
Sporting a custom phpBB theme, in terms of popularity, BWS was quite exclusive – only a small, select group of students even knew it existed, and then, only several students were active participants in the discussions that happened there – everything ranging from the geekiest of geek-speak, to computer recommendations, the multiple *-FESK saga, epic posts by yours truly, huge Mac/PC flame wars, and more.
In terms of longevity, though – BWS lasted for quite a while. It wasn’t until one of the original creators fled the country to go to Indonesia that it well and truly died.
It still exists on the internet to this day – at the original address – bwsonline.awardspace.com. The orignal creators are massively thankful for awardspace for their free hosting, I’m sure. One of these days, I’ll make a copy of bwsonline and stick it on freshbytes – when I get around to it. Procrastination for the win.

BWSonline was the precursor to a couple of things… one of which was calvinspamII. By this time, the class of 2008 was in year 10, and calvinspamII, designed as the second iteration of the great Calvin Spam, was created by yours truly in an attempt to revive the forum fever at Calvin. By this time, BWS was dying a slow death – the number of posts per day were slowly dwindling, as was the number of active users.
By all accounts, calvinspamII was seen as a competitor to the exclusive BWSonline – like the original Calvin Spam, calvinspamII was open to pretty much everyone, although only full privileges were granted to registered members. Guests could only read parts of the forum – and the more controversial sections were sealed from prying eyes.
Also like the original Calvin Spam, calvinspamII was based of the free phpBB forum software, and if memory serves me correctly, was served by whoever was the first result in Google after I searched “free phpbb hosting”… Oh, the shame! One click was all it took to take down the infamous BWSonline, and within weeks, usage soared – in terms of popularity, calvinspamII eclipsed both the original Calvin Spam and BWSonline in a matter of weeks, thanks largely in part to threads with such names as “BLING & KV”, “Pick Up Lines”, and “BAG OUT ALL GINGERS HERE” – as well as the diverse range of other topics – school, subjects, sports, movies, music – calvinspamII had it all.
Thanks once again to the island of toukelau – their free domain name service made calvinspamii.tk far easier to type than calvinspamii.s1.bizhat.com – which now does not exist.
Unfortunately, by the time we reached metric forum fever had died at Calvin again – it was clear that the users had had enough. Even more unfortunately was the fact that I didn’t get a backup of the calvinspamII database for posterity – I would have loved to read that epic “BLING & KV” thread again… :P

Finally, finally, finally, came the Freshbytes Forum. It has been more than quiet over there – due in part to a lack of plugging. I haven’t been telling people about it enough. It’s not entirely my fault, though – I think that general forums have had their day. Unless you have a very specific target audience that are the kind of people that like to discuss their interests online, then you’re so outta luck if you think you’re going to make it big with a forum. Sure, when I was at school calvinspamII worked because in Computing, I would plug calvinspamII away, and people would log on, post some random images of ginger kids, and when Computing was over, they would log off again. No one bothers to go online and actually discuss stuff on calvinspamII when they’re not at school, and yeah – that’s pretty much how it died…

So, where to from here? I’ll leave Freshbytes Forum open over at forums.freshbytes.com.au in case you have a burning desire to discuss something, but you have no idea where to say it? Make a thread over at Freshbytes Forum, and give the link out to everyone you know.

For now, though – the message is loud and clear:

All quiet on the forum front.

written by Benny Ling \\ tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Feb 09


One year has passed since the introduction of freshbytes.

What a year it’s been: an absolutely huge learning curve for me, but I’ve loved every moment of it. The Web is a huge place, and I’ve just dipped my toes into it.

We’ve had our highs. We’ve had our lows (it’s all quiet on the forum front – more on that later). Most of all, though – it’s you, the readers that make this place what it is.

This isn’t just some place to come and read words on a webpage – hopefully, it’s a place where you’ll find moral guidance, some words of wisdom (speaking completely from experience counts as wisdom, no?), laughs, as well as food for thought. Hopefully, you’ve experienced all four from here this past year, but if you haven’t, drop me a line telling me what you think, and what could be improved, and I’ll endeavour to try and encompass your needs.

That goes for pretty much anything, by the way… If you think there should be more games, shoot me a line, or comment on the miscpage.

Speaking of games, some of you have noticed the lack of games on freshbytes. Previously, I would have said something like: “Never fear, the games are still there, you just need to look in the right places!”, but being far wiser than I was a year ago, I now realise that not all of you are geeks and look in the source code for links to obscure pages. No really – I’m kidding. There really is no secret – if you clicked on a particular paragraph of the post where I mentioned that the games where taking a leave of absence, then you would have got some funky pop-up saying “You step in the stream, but the water has moved on. The page you are looking for cannot be found”, or something to that effect.

I’ll stop blabbling now, and just give you the link to the games page: here. Oh, and it’s also at misc.freshbytes.com.au – so remember either one, because they both go to the same place.

Well, I hope you’re loving the new look freshbytes. Unless I find something horribly wrong with this theme, or I just don’t like it, it’ll probably stay this way for a while – and by that, I mean at least a month. If you think the new theme is cool, try dragging the sidebar widgets around. They move! Insane! The only thing they don’t do is drag from one sidebar to another – so you can’t move the Wall from the right to the left, for example. Yeah, I know. Some stuff is broken, or looks horrible. I’ll have to fix these over the coming days – mmm, more fun. /sarcasm.

Now even though I use a Mac, I’m not a designer person. While I can write CSS, I could never do as good a job as the people over at Blog-Oh-Blog! (for Limau Orange, the previous theme) have, or even the people at MangoOrange, for the current i3Theme. There are a whole host of awesome three-column themes that I’m currently experimenting with as well, so if you visit freshbytes and it the theme has changed or something has broken, don’t worry. I’m just messing about, which will happen late at night because apparently, that’s the best time to get things done!!

Right, so that’s about it, then.

Comments below.

written by Benny Ling \\ tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Feb 03

Yes, yes, I know.

I haven’t had a post on here in a while. For those who have absolutely no idea of what I’ve been up to…well, I’ve been on holidays.
No, not the same kind of holidays that most of ‘us’ are on now. A genuine holiday away from home.
Last week, I enjoyed myself in Scamander while it was nice and warm (borderline friggin hot). I quite enjoyed it, mind you we got out of there just before the hottest temperature was recorded there ;-) .42.2 degrees C, I couldn’t think of a better place to be in hot weather, mind you!

So, now I am up here (Ulverstone) with broadband access, unlike the free dial-up we got at Scamander (SLOW). And this would be the worst location to fry in the heat. Ok, maybe that’s not true, there is air conditioning here.

But anyway, on Saturday I went to watch my older cousin play 2nd grade cricket for Ulverstone in Burnie. 3 caught-behinds and some fantastic cricket shots by the better batsmen in the team, nothing better to watch. If only….if only the canteen was open all day and it wasn’t so bloody hot. That day, Burnie recorded a temperature in the 30’s which was higher than most of the temp’s in the state! Overall, a good days spectating.

Sunday was a little different. Cooler temps were a nice change, but the Ulverstone cricket ground is no more than 800m from the house at which I am staying. This time I was watching my younger cousin play 3rd grade. 1 caught-behind, plenty of ‘chirping’ and a steady 22n.o. with the bat later, it was a good day.  Mind you, for the group of which I hang out with, it would be a very different experience. These cricketing guys are fairly social beings, their friends hang around the club rooms to watch their mates and their mates’ mates play cricket. A little different to what I’m used to, that’s for sure. Offtopic for a second, but a good beer afterwards went down really well, I kid you not :-) !

Boag’s Classic Blonde, or something like that. Very nice. Even better when you don’t pay for it :D .

A good weekend of spectating cricket, and then to head home to watch the Aussies play cricket and Federer and Nadal in the Tennis…a really great day to watch sport. YUM!

Depending on what happens this week, I may not be able to publish another post. I’m away until Saturday, unless something changes. Hey, this looks like my shortest post in a while, WOW! Less than 450wds, wow.

Catcha later,


written by Chris Jacques \\ tags: , , , , , ,

Feb 01

Ignorance, Part II

Blog, Misc Comments Off

Firstly, I’d like to apologise. If you’ve read freshbytes before, you would have realised that I’m actually sick of people who want an iPhone just because everyone else has one – those people that think it’s just a matter of popping into their local iPhone reseller, handing over some plastic, and then popping in their old sim card and off they go, all without any knowledge of iPhone plans, data charges, iTunes connectivity, or anything like that.

In actual fact, though, there are plenty of people who will walk into a store and buy their iPhones, and then walk out again. Just like those people that walk into a store, ask for “this, this, and this”, deny you of any other add-on packages, deals, hand over the cash, and walk out again. For now, I’d like to term these people “decisives”. They know exactly what they want (as well as what they don’t), and are always more than happy to shop wherever they like.

In days gone by, I would have mistakenly taken these decisives as “impulsives” – those people that buy things that are cool, in, or just any gadget that is a “must have”. They’re the ones that follow the crowd, go with the flow, and buy things on impulse.

However, the difference between the two couldn’t be more marked – the decisives are those that have done their research, and in the case of the iPhone example, they’re the ones that know exactly what they’re getting into when they embark on their iPhone journey. They’re the ones that have read every review, talked about the pros and cons online and with friends, and actually gone into a store and tried it out for themselves in-store. When they’re finally happy with their choice, they walk in, buy it, and walk out. Done deal.

I guess it’s my fault.

I’m sorry that I haven’t been able to recognise the two – when you think about it, it’s kinda hard to tell the difference without pressing further, ‘cos with either sale, you’re not doing much talking. It’s more of a customer-based thing, and I’m more than happy to let them do the leading. Sure, I’ll mention things like AppleCare, our excellent Service centres, and the fact that we’re the largest Apple reseller in the world (apart from Apple themselves), but in the end (if they’re the decisive customer I make them out to be), then they’ve already made their decision; they already know what they want, and what they don’t.

Sometimes I can be an ignorant fool – but hey, that’s life, and sometimes, just sometimes, you just have to deal with it.

So deal with it, and stick any comments you have down below.

Note: Benny is yes, still on holidays. Once again, this post was brought to you care of WordPress’ excellent publishing tools, which allow Benny to write stuff, and then set it to publish it in the future.

written by Benny Ling \\ tags: , , , , , , , , ,