OK. I didn’t die.

Yes, I’m still alive. 🙂 The Internet connection at work went down, and I don’t have a connection at home at the moment as the computer connected to the Internet is getting repairs done to it. And my own computer doesn’t have a modem (don’t need one anyway). Hence the lack of posts for a few days.

Both UnrealIRCd 3.2.5 and ircservices 5.0.58 were released while I was connectionless, and can be downloaded from the relevant sites (the links are around here… somewhere…). I should have the Win32 build of ircservices up by this time tomorrow – you can get them from the unofficial support forums that I run. And yes, the nameservers have finally been updated (!!!), so that site is back online.

I didn’t play many games at the LAN, by the way. They decided to play mainly Unreal Tournament 2004, which my poor old computer flatly refuses to run. So I spent half of the time watching Smallville episodes. I need my new computer…

I have some rather disturbing news regarding Michael Cullen (go a few posts back if you don’t know who he is – I’m too lazy to post a link). I still couldn’t get hold of him, so in total desperation I pulled off the relevant details off the CTI system and got in contact with his mother. Apparently the wheels fell off at home and Michael is now staying with ChildLine in Hillcrest (no real suprise to those of you who read my previous post). Which means that he no longer has access to a computer. Now that has totally jeopardised the project that we were doing, since Michael was the one and only coder that we had. So I’m now getting a Java programmer in who’s going to have to pretty much start from scratch. Fortunately, this guy is GEWD, so it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Except that deadline looms…

I kind of feel a tad bad ripping Michael off now, not realising the situation that he’d gotten himself into. But then, he probably needs it.

I’d better end on a nice light note. Some students were asked the question: is hell exothermic or endothermic. This is what one guy wrote…

First, we postulate that if souls exist, then they must have some mass. If they do, then a mole of souls can also have a mass. So, at what rate are souls moving into hell and at what rate are souls leaving? I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving.

As for souls entering hell, lets look at the different religions that exist in the world today. Some of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to hell. Since, there are more than one of these religions and people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all people and all souls go to hell. With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in hell to increase exponentially.

Now, we look at the rate of change in volume in hell. Boyle’s Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in hell to stay the same, the ratio of the mass of souls and volume needs to stay constant.

So, if hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter hell, then the temperature and pressure in hell will increase until all hell breaks loose (i.e. Hell is exothermic).

Of course, if hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in hell, than the temperature and pressure will drop until hell freezes over (i.e. Hell is endothermic).

So which is it? If we accept the postulate given by Ms. Therese Banyan during my freshman year, “That it will be a cold night in hell before I go out with you,” and take into account the fact that I still have not succeeded in having a relationship with her, the second case cannot be true. Therefore, hell is exothermic.

The kid who wrote it was the only one who got the marks for that question.

I’m going to DIE after this long weekend…

Tomorrow is a public holiday in this part of the world. I should be chilling at home… but I’m not. To start off with, it’s my graduation ceremony this evening. And no, you can’t come. I’m only allowed two people to accompany me. Then, there’s another CTI LAN this weekend. It starts on Friday – there isn’t a set starting time, but it’s pretty much whenever they reopen the roads from the Comrades Marathon. The LAN ends on Sunday at 11:00, but I’ll be leaving on Saturday night as I have other commitments on Sunday morning. Then, I’ve got my weekly church service on Sunday night. Nothing unusual in that regard, only that we’ve just learned a new song, and I have to sing it. On my own. *shudders*

If you’re a gamer in the Durban area reading this, and you want to come to the LAN, it’s at 36 Essex Terrace in Westville. Entrance is R40, with R10 refundable when you clean up your mess when you leave.

A lady friend of mine did ask me if I wanted to see a movie with her, but I had to turn her down. Firstly, I’d already made my plans for the weekend, and secondly, I’m quite shy and socially inept. Particularly when it comes to the opposite sex. I suppose that one day I’ll have to do something about that…

Since I mentioned computer related stuff later on, I may as well update you with my “build the biggest, baddest gaming rig” project. I’m about to order my processor (Athlon 64-X2 4400+) and RAM (2GB Corsair XMS Pro – 2 1GB modules). As far as the power supply goes, yes I went to NCST, no they couldn’t help me. I did some Googling and found a site that sells all sorts of power extension cables (including a straight 24-pin to 24-pin and a 4-pin to 4-pin, which are the two that I need). Problem is that this site is in the States, so I’ll have to get it imported. I can’t find anything on the local sites.

I may not be keeping that 500W power supply in the first place. My original plan was to get a massive 500GB hard drive, but now I’m thinking of getting several smaller capacity drives and connect them in a RAID array. My motherboard supports RAID 0, RAID 1, and RAID 0+1, so I may as well go for it. RAID 0+1 looks very tempting, as it has both increased performance and fault tolerance, but you need four hard drives to make that work. Now, I can afford those four hard drives, but there is no ways that a 500W PSU is going to be good enough for all those hard drives, my DVD writer, my processor, and the graphics card that I will eventually get. So, out goes that and in will come a 700W PSU, which is the biggest that I can find. A friend of mine is also building a machine, albeit of lesser specification, and he has expressed an interest in my 500W PSU. So don’t bother posting in the comments if you want it, because you’re not going to get it. Sorry.

And yes, I’m still waiting for za.net to update the nameservers. I’m just about ready to send a nasty e-mail to the relevant administrators. Anyone want to help me write it?

Oh, one more thing. We had paintball games recently (there’s a paintball arena not far from CTI). Staff vs students. You don’t want to mess with these colleagues of mine…


The students won, by the way. We would probably have done a little better, but my gun jammed and I didn’t realise it (was my first time playing). So there I was, firing blanks and wondering why I was aiming directly at these guys and not hitting them…

Hillcrest traffic sucks.

OK, I need to make a mental note to myself…

NEVER DRIVE TO HILLCREST WHEN THERE’S TRAFFIC.

I have to go to Hillcrest every Monday night at around 18:00. Usually, the traffic is quite busy but you can get through without much problem. (Which is more that can be said for the peak traffic periods. I’ve been caught up in the 16:30 rush before, and I do not wish to repeat that experience.) Anyway, no such luck last night. Apparently, a Christian band called Hillsong was playing at the Highway Christian Academy, which is on Inanda Road (that’s the road between Hillcrest and Waterfall for the non-locals reading this). So, to cut a long story short, every man and his dog was on the road to Hillcrest. Hillcrest is busy at the best of times; add the Hillsong traffic to the mix… you work it out. Now, the concert started at 19:00. When I arrived on the scene at 17:45, the traffic was already pulled back towards the Everton offramp on the M13. It took 10 minutes to drive the two kilometres between the Everton and Hillcrest offramps, and another 10 minutes to get as far as the Heritage Market. Once past there, the traffic wasn’t as bad, and once I got past the Inanda Road intersection in the middle of Hillcrest the traffic was non-existent (because they all turned off down said road).

Just before I left to go back home at around 19:30, I received notification that the inevitable pile-up on Inanda Road had happened, and that the traffic on said road was not moving at all. In both directions. Fortunately, I live in Kloof, so I was able to get back home via Assagay and Kassier Road. I felt sorry for the people who lived in Waterfall. (They actually followed me home, and then went via Kloof Gorge.)

Oh, and I’ve seen what I want for Christmas. I just need an electronic engineer to build it for me…

This guy doesn’t like me.

I had a little bit of a run-in with one of the students yesterday. I was monitoring the silent study area and told $student to stop talking, which $student was not permitted to do. So then $student threatened me and then walked out, which $student was, once again, not permitted to do. Anyway, $student has now gotten himself into a whole lot of trouble. You see, people may think that they can intimidate me because of my small size, but they’re very much mistaken. Besides, I’ve got jerith to administer beatings and rooijan (when he gets back from Dubai) to give him sarcastic comments. I can guarantee you that $student won’t try anything again if those two get hold of him. But jerith is in Cape Town and rooijan will just make another comment here, so the best I can do is learn from them, and then administer said beatings and sarcastic comments myself… 😛

fanClub++;

On a much better note though, I find this game quite addictive. So does Darryl. (Darryl is one of the other instructors at CTI and one of my best friends.)

And while we’re on better notes, CTI has decided to offer me permanent employment once my contract expires. They’ve given me a bonus too. I’m going to take this offer up; it’s a good opportunity to get some more work experience to get a decent job further down the line. I’ll stay on for at least the rest of the year, and see how things go from there.

To totally change the topic now, if you’re into IRC servers at all then you’ll be interested to know that I’ve started beta-testing UnrealIRCd 3.2.5. What happens when we release versions is that we have a private beta-testing session (during which the beta is made available to about 20 select people, and I’m one of those 20); then there’s a public beta testing session, before the final version is released. We have specific things to test out. I mainly test how UnrealIRCd behaves when two or more servers are linked together – things like channel mode synching and the like. I recall finding a nasty channel mode synching bug a few versions back.

And finally. It takes seven members of the USS Enterprise to change a light bulb. Scotty has to report to Captain Kirk that the light bulb in the Engineering Section is getting dim, at which point Kirk will send Bones to pronounce the bulb dead (although he’ll immediately claim that he’s a doctor, not an electrician). Scotty, after checking around, realizes that they have no more new light bulbs, and complains that he “canna” see in the dark. Kirk will make an emergency stop at the next uncharted planet, Alpha Regula IV, to procure a light bulb from the natives, who, are friendly, but seem to be hiding something. Kirk, Spock, Bones, Yeoman Rand and two red shirt security officers beam down to the planet, where the two security officers are promply killed by the natives, and the rest of the landing party is captured. As something begins to develop between the Captain and Yeoman Rand, Scotty, back in orbit, is attacked by a Klingon destroyer and must warp out of orbit. Although badly outgunned, he cripples the Klingon and races back to the planet in order to rescue Kirk et. al. who have just saved the natives’ from an awful fate and, as a reward, been given all lightbulbs they can carry. The new bulb is then inserted and the Enterprise continues on its five year mission.

And you think I relax over weekends?

So, my weekend started with me going home to get my stuff for the LAN that CTI was hosting. We have these roughly every month or so (Chris and his mate Steven organise them) and there has to be a staff member present. Fortunately for all concerned parties, said staff member happens to be a keen gamer, even if said staff member has the worst gaming hardware known to mankind. Now, a freak hailstorm had just hit Durban, and my part of town (Kloof) was particularly badly hit. There was bits and pieces of vegetation everywhere, and in some places it looked like it had actually been snowing instead of hailing. Yes, that’s how much hail there was. I couldn’t believe it when I got home and found that my place had been totally unaffected. I then got my stuff together, started driving out, realized that I’d forgotten the computer’s power cable (always forget something), went back to fetch it, and went off to the LAN. We played lots of DotA, some very cool Warcraft 3 maps, a little bit of Natural Selection (my favourite game), and no Counter-Strike whatsoever. Perfect.

(If you don’t know what Counter-Strike is, you’re better off not knowing.)

Saturday afternoon saw a break from the gaming as Chris, his girlfriend, Steven, Glen (the guy who crashed his car a few weeks back) and myself headed to Musgrave Centre to watch The Da Vinci Code. Now, I’d heard that it wasn’t a good movie from a religious point of view, and I’d seen all the protests on the news. Now, being Catholic, you’d expect me to stay away, but I was keen to see what all the fuss was about. Besides, I can be quite open-minded. The content of the movie didn’t bother me that much (it’s fiction, after all), but I could see why so many people are making a fuss about it. The acting isn’t so good though, so give it a miss unless you really want to watch it.

I left the LAN at around 11:00 on Sunday, went home to catch up on some much needed sleep (you don’t have any idea how difficult it is to get some sleep at a LAN until you attend one) and headed off in the late afternoon to church (the music group that I’m involved in, consisting of youngsters like myself, takes care of the music for the Sunday evening service). I get there and find out that the church has no power and that Durban’s electricity department has been as efficient as ever in trying to sort out the problem. (For those of you living outside Durbs, that means that they didn’t even arrive.) Now, the group consists of around five or six vocalists on microphones, me on the keyboard, two guitars, a bass guitar, and a drum kit. Without any power, we’re pretty much stuffed, so we tried improvising something. We eventually got all the candles and torches we could find (the service starts at 18:00, by which time it’s already dark at this time of year), and phoned around to try and get extra guitar players. The guitars were all that we could use, as my keyboard needs power, the bass needs power, and the drums would have drowned everything out as we had no means of amplification.

In the end, we managed alright, and we headed off to watch a movie. (Although first I headed off to Mammarazzi in Hillcrest to go get some pizza. They make the best pizza in town.) We watched “Pay It Forward” which had a nice moral message to it. After that I finally headed home for some much needed sleep.

All this activity over this weekend has taken its toll, and I’m at work right now feeling like a real zombie. Fortunately the shop down the road sells Red Bull. As “Red Bull gives you wiiings”, so I’m going to use said “wiiings” to fly back home and get some more sleep.

For your information, Gauteng won the Scorers Association of the Year award. Surprise surprise.

Two meetings. One day.

I had to deal with two meetings in one day yesterday. The first was our usual CTI academic staff meeting, in which we discussed several issues, not least that internet room. It’s been closed down now until we can implement some ideas. We are implementing quite a few of the ideas that I mentioned in my earlier post. I won’t say which ones though – until we re-open it.

The second meeting was the Annual General Meeting of the KwaZulu-Natal Cricket Scorers Association. We held it at one of the boardrooms at Suncoast Casino. If anyone is wondering why we have it there and not at Kingsmead, it’s because all the other cricket scorers are major gamblers. Personally, I see gambling as just another way to lose your money…

But anyway, back to the meeting. We’ve identified a big problem, and that being that there will probably be increased games on weekdays next season. Considering that we’re either students or we’re working, we face the situation of not having enough manpower. There’s only about 10 of us. They’ve lost my services for weekday games because of my work commitments. Which wasn’t a problem for this past season, as I was still studying. The bottom line, therefore, is that we need new members who are able to do weekday games (like the four-day provincial series). If you’re reading this and you’re able and interested, there will be training courses some time in August, and you should contact Kingsmead for more information closer to the time.

The other thing worth mentioning is that we’ve been nominated as one of the scorers associations of the year for the third year running. The other two are Gauteng and Eastern Province. The announcement as to which one of the three wins the award will be made in Johannesburg this evening. We won it last year, so hopefully we can repeat that. However, Gauteng will probably get it because of a certain one day international earlier this season. I’m talking about the game where Australia made a world-record 434 runs in 50 overs against us, then we won by one wicket off the second-last ball of the match. I was watching that game closely, and noticed that the scorers there were on the ball (pun intended) the entire game. It couldn’t have been easy, and I know that I certainly wouldn’t have liked to be in the scorebox for that game. The older scorers tell me that they’re not fond of situations like that, and I’ve heard them complain about the one time when the South African individual batting score record of 275 was equalled at Kingsmead a few seasons back. (It’s been broken since.)

Anyway, back to work.

Flu, pracs, and Blou Bulle… oh my!

Seems like everyone’s getting the flu these days. I started feeling sick on Wednesday afternoon, and had to go home early on Thursday. The doctor told me to stay at home on Friday, which was nice. He also prescribed some anti-biotics… not so nice. Anyway, they seem to have done the trick and I’m feeling much better now (otherwise I wouldn’t be writing another meaningless post). Now all I have to do is try to get my employers to classify Friday as “sick leave”. I got a note from the doctor, which should do the trick. (I hope…)

I’m sure that I speak for everyone in KZN by saying that the Sharks deserved to go into the Super 14 semi-finals. For those who don’t know, we finished level fourth with the Blue Bulls, but they went through by having a superior points difference. By one point. Personally, I can’t stand the team from Pretoria (they’re a bunch of cocky, arrogant bastards), so guess which team I won’t be supporting next week…

I’m probably going to be marking a lot of Wireless Networking practicals next week. Nothing major, they pretty much have to set up a wireless network with some sort of security. If you’re wondering why I’m doing this, we only have one qualified hardware instructor at the moment and I have some knowledge of what the hardware students do, so they’ve asked me to help out there. We’ve been discussing getting hold of a past hardware student and asking them to help out for a while. Much like I’m doing for the programming section at the moment.

And while we’re on the subject of exams, I found this on rooijan’s blog. (He’s a friend of mine.) Could be the best exam answer ever.


I’m printing this one out and sticking it on my computer to give the students something to smile about 🙂

Waiting for the car crash…

OK. My little sister turned 18 on Wednesday. On Thursday, she went for her driver’s license… and got it. God help us.

It’s not that she’s reckless or anything. She just doesn’t concentrate while driving. I’ve lost count of how many times she’s come close to crashing into something because she hasn’t looked. Lane changes on the M13 freeway are by far the best example of this. I’m just waiting for the day when she writes off my mom’s car.

(If I ever get a car, she’s not driving it.)

Talking about waiting, I’m currently waiting for Chris to get me a motherboard and power supply for my new killer gaming rig. I’ve ordered a 500W PSU and the Gigabyte K8N Pro SLI mobo. Going to have fun installing them when they arrive (sometime next week is most likely). Once done, I’ll get all trigger-happy with the digital camera and take some photos for anyone who cares. Come to think of it, I should take some photos of my case too.

I’m also working on registering the domain “ron2k.za.net” to point to this blog. It’s an easier URL for everyone to remember. I’ll post back once it’s up and running.

That’s all for me for today. Remember…

“Life is a game. Just very badly programmed.”

Righty. We’re up and running

Right. So I decided to create a blog. Suppose I should introduce myself to those who don’t really know me.

My real name is Kieron Thwaites, but my friends call me Ron for short. Hence my online identity, Ron2K. At the time of writing this post, I’m 21. I’ve just finished studying and I work at a private tertiary institution called CTI, teaching people just out of school how to program in C#. It’s only a three month contract, and I’m already one month into it, but hey, it’s better than nothing 🙂

I live in Durban, South Africa. Spent almost my entire life there (apart from one year when I was at university in Cape Town). There’s not much there in the way of IT jobs though, particularly for C# programmers. As soon as I get enough work experience to earn enough money to live on my own, I’m moving back to Cape Town. It’s a nice place, and there’s some nice jobs there. The other alternative is Johannesburg, but I don’t want to touch that place with a ten foot barge pole…

I’m keen on gaming quite a bit. Unfortunately, at the moment my hardware just doesn’t quite cut it. 1.3GHz Celeron, 32MB TNT2 graphics card… you get the idea. At least I’ve got a job now, so I can upgrade. In fact, my new case (an Antec P180) arrived today, and the motherboard and PSU should be coming later this week, if Chris can organise it. Chris is a friend of mine who has contacts at Rectron (one of the leading hardware suppliers in this part of the world), so I get my stuff through him. Next month it will either be RAM or the processor, depending on price (my desired processor, an AMD 64 X2 4400+, costs more than what I earn each month).

I’m also heavily involved in IRC. Not so much as time spent chatting (I’m still in the dark ages as far as my Internet connection goes, with only a 56K line), but I’m involved in IRC server development. I’m one of about 20 beta testers for UnrealIRCd, which is probably the most popular IRC server out there, for all the small and medium sized networks at least. (Pay attention to all the connect info next time you connect to an IRC server and see what they’re running.) I also sit on the mailing list for IRCServices, which is one of the NickServ, ChanServ, etc. packages. Indeed, on another of my sites I offer a Windows build of IRCServices (which is something that isn’t supported by the developers, but a lot of people request it anyway).

Other than that, I’m keen on my cricket (I’ve worked as a professional paid cricket scorer at Kingsmead – the money that I earned there got me my aforementioned new case), and my music. I was quite into the cultural side of things at school (they gave me cultural honours in my final year) and I’m currently involved with a Christian youth band at my church. I’m Catholic, in case you want to know.

Anyway, that’s all I can think of adding for now. I’ll post back when I have something else to write about.