epic fail

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Optus, Optus, Optus. You really like screw­ing over your cus­tom­ers right? I really didn’t appre­ci­ate hav­ing to work out why my home net­work print­er stopped work­ing right in the middle of exams — because you screwed with DNS to earn a few easy quid. (Same goes for you, Tel­stra.)

19 Nov 2009 | No comments



ROM Fail

“ROM Fail” on a sol­ar energy dis­play: proph­et­ic of the status of the fed­er­al government’s renew­able energy bill (coupled with the emis­sions trad­ing scheme)?


Update: Thank you to all who have con­trib­uted to the dis­cus­sion below. For the impa­tient, here is a sum­mary of what you might like to do:
  • If you hate Sydney Mail, fear not: you have options.
  • To redir­ect your Sydney Mail email to anoth­er email account, you can either a) use a “redir­ect” rule in Sydney Mail or b) get your email cli­ent (such as Gmail) to pick it up via POP3 (for this, see the main post below). Both a) and b) do the job.
  • To send email from with­in Gmail as if you were send­ing it from Sydney Mail, add your Sydney Mail address under the Addresses tab in Set­tings in Gmail.
  • How­ever, some recip­i­ents, such as those using Out­look, may see that the sender of your email is “xyz@​gmail.​com on behalf of abcd1​2​3​4​@​uni.​sydney.​edu.​au”. If you don’t like this, you can fix this by get­ting Gmail to send email via SMTP. To find out the address of the SMTP serv­er, see these instruc­tions.

“Sydney Mail is a new and sig­ni­fic­antly improved stu­dent email ser­vice,” announced the email from the uni­ver­sity proudly.

The truth is that the uni­ver­sity has delivered some­thing that’s bet­ter, but is rather defi­cient in its own right: they’ve out­sourced email to Microsoft so it’s all now run off Out­look Web Access. I could go on and on about why I would nev­er use it, but I’ll just show you how to avoid using it.

The exist­ing email sys­tem allows you to for­ward to a per­son­al email address, and the uni­ver­sity provides instruc­tions for how to do it on the new sys­tem. Don’t fol­low those instruc­tions! It is true that email will be for­war­ded from Out­look to your per­son­al email but what hap­pens is that the emails are lit­er­ally for­war­ded! If Bob sends you an email, when it pops up in your per­son­al email, the From field will show your uni­ver­sity email as opposed to Bob, which is incred­ibly incon­veni­ent.

The solu­tion? Get your mail cli­ent to retrieve mail from Out­look via POP3. If you’re using Gmail like me, go to Set­tings > Accounts. Look for the “Get mail from oth­er accounts” sec­tion and click the “Add a mail account you own” link. A win­dow will then pop up; try the fol­low­ing set­tings:


Email sent to your uni­ver­sity email won’t get for­war­ded instantly like it used to, but it’s a much bet­ter solu­tion than the one offered by the uni­ver­sity.

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“What are the factors of 336?” I pondered, star­ing at the KENKEN puzzle on the screen of the com­puter in the SciTech lib­rary I was seated at.

Cursed com­puter! No cal­cu­lat­or!

I’ve been annoyed by how locked down the com­puters at Sydney Uni’s lib­rar­ies are for a while, so I set out to find out wheth­er I can, in fact, bring up the humble cal­cu­lat­or.1

Read the rest of this entry »

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Because this hap­pens:

Ru Jih ate it any­way (or so I’m told) 🙂

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I am cur­rently stand­ing at Revesby sta­tion fum­ing over why CityRail can’t do any­thing to accom­mod­ate cus­tom­ers they screw over. My train just got can­celled and I will be late to a present­a­tion that I need to attend at work. My com­pletely reas­on­able request that the next express train that zooms past make an unsched­uled stop was denied because the next train arrives in just 9 minutes. Per­fectly sound reas­on­ing if it weren’t for the fact this means we arrive in the city 25 minutes later and office work­ers can’t get in before 9am.

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A while back, CityRail star­ted hav­ing these Empty Trains. I can’t for the life of me work out why any­one would choose such a stu­pid name. Does it mean that there’s no one inside? Does it mean it doesn’t go any­where after­wards, as in, it’s ter­min­at­ing? (If so, what’s wrong with the word ter­min­at­ing?) I sup­pose it’s bet­ter than a (null) train.

The real WTF in the pic­ture, though, is how a plat­form 23 ser­vice ended up on the Illawarra Line screen.

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The ABC — provid­ing you with qual­ity news every­day.

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“Should I care? Should I care?”

If the ques­tion is about the Sydney Law Revue 2008, the answer is no. (The quote is from the “Hold­ing out for a US Hero” skit, the clos­ing skit.)

Last year, I wrote about the half-executed jokes that had the poten­tial to be so much fun­ni­er. I wish I could make a sim­il­ar com­ment this year. This time round, the dir­ect­ors some­how found it con­veni­ent to expend entirely with the punch­lines in jokes. Instead, it was replaced with flat, mean­ing­less driv­el so that when it got to the clos­ing, I was pretty much clap­ping out of polite­ness instead of sin­cere appre­ci­ation.

The occa­sion­al joke made in bad taste is to be expec­ted in a revue; in fact, you could say it defines a revue. Nor­mally, I’d have a good laugh at them. But giv­en that the rest of the revue was so flat, when the (bad) jokes came around, the audi­ence just didn’t buy them. We even had a heck­ler in the audi­ence — and I pretty much agreed with everything he had to shout out. At one stage, one of the back­stage mem­bers stuffed up with the mop between skits; that was almost one of the fun­ni­est moments (!).

China, with its astro­nom­ic­al growth and the Beijing Olympics just past, was an obvi­ous top­ic­al sub­ject. They didn’t fail to deliv­er on that count, but the jokes were so poorly delivered that they might have been mis­taken for blatant racism.

To regain the con­fid­ence of its audi­ence, the Law Revue in future years needs to cre­ate a coher­ent present­a­tion that car­ries some kind of energy through­out the per­form­ance. A little bit of intro­spec­tion might help; I’m sure if the dir­ect­ors actu­ally sat down and listened to some of their own jokes, they might agree that they weren’t quite so funny after all. There was no doubt some great tal­ent on stage; wheth­er this tal­ent was used most effect­ively is anoth­er ques­tion.

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