Saturday, March 29, 2008

Gavin loses a Nintento Wii tennis competition at Game!

Hi all, I went to uni with the hope of finalising an exam i said I went with hope...

Vote Results (25 voters...not bad!...i hope no one cheated and voted!

I think its clear! The Met Service and the Ministry of Education failed in their functions!!

I believe that the Minister shares responsibility for the death of Laura, because he has the authority to call a day off for students because of any reason...bad weather being one of them! Now is is hiding behind the recommendations/advice of the MET-Service (whose incompetence does not need to be proved!! )

Well got to uni, finalised some stuff, then went to Editions De L'ocean Indien (on top of Cafetaria at UoM), as there were sales there...i bought books on Apache, Linux, BioInformatics..... I hope to get enough courage to read them.

Well then i went for lunch with a couple of my Programming Students, and we chatted a bit. Got back to office,

Then since i was in a spending frenzy...i went to buy a little USB DVB TV receiver, and a little USB HUB coz i am running out of USB ports on the PC at work.

The Receiver!

After that, since 'Liverpool's next player' had a Nintendo Wii Competition at Game, I decided to go n support...Allez Kyan!!!! When i arrived at Game, Avinash n co. were there except that three
contestants did not turn up and they were looking for participants.

The Nintendo Wii Console!

I thought the first prize would be a Wii, so it put my name down...since Kyan did not want to play, his dad replaced him...and there we were....having fun on console playing a TENNIS Game.

We were being so crazy that i was secretly praying that no CSE students were around...they would have said...'guette sa banne grand bénés la'

Avinash v/s Ace-Boy

Avinash and i were having so much fun, we each won our matches (3 sets) and made it to the Semi final, however unfortunately he got beaten. So in the finals, there was me and that other guy. He had an excellent serve, no one really figured out how he could ace the serves.

He aced me a couple of times...but when i served, no one could take a point off me... I was tooo good!!!

He served for the first set and won 40-30, i won the second set 40-0 (i was serving), then in the third set, he aced three times and won.

Nothing really serious you would say...but hey....He was a six year old boy and his name was Yen-Yen.. So i got trashed by a six year old (Happened, i used to get trashed in Need For Speed by my little nephew, he is 7 yr old)!!! But i had sooo much fun!!!!!!

The winner, Yen-Yen, the little Ace-Boy!!!
Congrats little man...well done!

The disappointment was the fact that the first prize was not a Nintendo Wii, but a V360 Motorolla Phone.

When i got home, i installed the DVB Tv Receiver, it took me some time, but i works...i can watch the TNT channels on my PC.

p.s. The guy doing the commetaries on the match was talking french so badly that i am sure Moliere, Baudelaire, and their friends wanted to come out of there graves to slap him and give him french Lessons....

La concours, Telephone avec un camera equippé (pas integré la hien equippé line dire).... those were just a few of his master-piece!!!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Cancelled Tests! What a shame!

Hi dear readers!
Since there were no students on campus yesterday, we went to play pool and we had loads of fun...

I hope you are doing fine and that you are not too scared by the fact that we have just gone through a panic situation which really questions our ability to deal with natural calamities.
I got an inivation on Facebook yesterday to join a group for a petition to sack Go-Cool!!! Well best of luck!

Today was nice except the fact that there is something which i really did not appreciate.

We received a mail from the Registrar UoM about the showcase a couple of days ago, see part of it below

'The target audience being mainly UoM students , students from all Faculties/Centres/Departments may be released as from 11.30 a.m. on Friday 28 March 2008 to attend the event.

It would also be appreciated if any class tests scheduled on that day could be postponed to a later date if students so request. '

However there was a poster on campus, see below...for the time being omit the blue part written using a marker..... just a student rightfully voicing out his point of view...which so happens to be mine as well!

Well, there is a difference between students 'may be released', and 'there will be no classes'.

This caused some disturbance, the Registrar's e-mail specified that tests should be cancelled if requests was received from the students.

However some students did not even care to inform let alone request for cancellation but they even lacked the decency to inform their friends that they intended to have the test cancelled. So we have had students coming in for test when they had been 'cancelled'.

Should you look at what is written on the poster, you will see that a student has asked Is the showcase is more important than test?

I believe that the most logical may should have been the following.

If the students wanted to have their tests cancelled, they should have had their Class representatives REQUEST for it. It is so irresponsible and unconsiderate to just assume that the test would not be carried out, and then the students end up coming to uni for nothing.

I even had a student who told me that she took 3 buses to get to uni, just to learnt that the test was cancelled...
Come on students.... if you want to be treated like adults, then act as adults.

Futhermore, i believe that the poster tends to me misleading, and seems to override the words 'may be released'.

Well instead of organising so many concerts, play, shows, ... i believe that the students could invest this time in studying. I do agree that the student also grow when they participate in these events...but it seems that it is always the same group with participated, and the 'spectators' use it as an excuse to be out of class.... I tend to believe that a Uni student is big enough to make his own choices based on his priorities.

It is much like the whole Uni comes to a stand-still when an event is organised... how far is this acceptable?

Well....wake up students!!!
Instead of organising events, for entertainment of students, i think the Students union should endeavour towards the work for improvement of students conditions...these may include cameras for security and deterrent to thefts, better books in libraries, better and reasonably-priced food on campus, more computer labs with better computers or less virus infections...(you know what i am talking about), access to better online resources from digital libraries.
We are living in a culture, whereby if you do not ask you do not get...
Anyways, i went with Avinash to have a look at the Media Lab, the new MACs are sooo cool!!! I think i might got one as soon as i manage to save enough..the Graphical interface is soo good!

We got carried away (as you might have expected) exploring the MAC, that we forgot to have lunch...our lunch happened to be at 15 00.

Then we went to have tea at the 'Méchante Miss's Place', then went to Avi for some 'Mythical Bird', after which we wathced part of Snatch, well the part i watched was too cool!!! It is a typical English film with the accents and everything... As we were all hungry we went out for diner and the food was sooo cool!
A student of mine (C.D.Fowdar) quoted J.Albers :
Good teaching is more a giving of the right questions than a giving of the right answers. Well this is so true!

I would like to know your views about the cancellation of classes and tests due to events and shows...just as it happened today!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

3 dead, 3 missing...and they are passing the ball around

Hi all,

First the results for last poll:

Yesterday, was a really bad day 'meteorologically speaking'. There was a tropical depression which had adversely affected the local weather and it was rainy and windy throughout the day.

Early in the morning the several people were expressing their concerns about whether or not there should be school. However our Meteorological Service said that there was not enough rainfall to issue a rainstorm warning and consequently all the little students went to school!

So i got to my office and started working through the day. At eleven I had to go and meet someone from Mauritius Telecom, as i needed some about their SMS voting product. I am looking at the possibility of implementing a service whereby we can get a better feedback from students in large cohorts, as we all know that some of them are quite shy in asking questions.

I am thinking of the system being as follows:
At regular intervals in the lecture slides (say every 'n' slides), there will be multiple choice. The student is required to work the question during the lecture, and choose an answer which he will note down somewhere. Lets assume we will have 'm' questions in all.

Then around 10 minutes before the lecture, the students simply has to take his phone and send a message in the following format:

'<'Module Code'>' '<'Week number'>' '<'Student ID'>' '<'A,B,D,A,C,B...'>'

Where A, B, D, ... are the answers to the m questions.

Having discussed with someone from the Marketing Department of cellplus yesterday , the option is feasible.

We now need to convince management that this is a feasible and interesting option to increase interactivity in our large cohorts, and that it will give us real-time data about the degree to which the students have really understood. It follows the same idea 'in principle' of the clicker used by other universities.

So i need to write up a little report on the specification for submit to Mauritius Telecom.

Anyways that how i spent half of the day!!!

On my way back to Uni: I think the picture below speaks for itself:

When i got there, i learnt that the test got cancelled, called some of my students to inform them.

Well at about half past two, we received an e-mail informing us that uni would be closing at 15 00.

I got a lift home and on my way i took pictures on the way.

I am sure that all sensible Mauritians a deeply shocked by the fact that the Meteorological Services were not proactive enough, and this coupled with our minister's Go-Cool attitude has lead to the loss of three lives.

In his interview, the minister said that there are 350 000 students attending our schools and colleges daily and its sad that 'one' of them died". Well one is already too much. The life of one person cannot and should not be expressed as a percentage... can you say that 1/350 000 is negligible...well statistically yes, its very close to zero.

But not if this is a life expressed as a percentage. A single person's life is invaluable. So dnt talk about numbers...we cannot talk of collateral damage when it comes to life.

As many ministers do, he looked for an escape goat, and said they were acting on recommendations on the Meteorological Services.

Passer meme boule banne imbéciles

We have to accept and admit that there are short-comings in the system.

Is it only now that the meteorological station along with the ministry has seen the need for metrics other that rainfall measure to call a day-off for students. Other metrics could be wind speed, visibility, and soil permeability...

So you see dear students...only when people die do changed happen. Only when accidents happen do they remove bull bars from 4*4, only when a child gets run over that they put speed humps...

Enough it enough. I remember on the day when the cyclone warnings got cancelled at 08 45 (and caused immense traffic jams) during the evening news, the presenter gave credit to the director of the Meteo Service..saying he got diplomas and degrees from here and there. Well Mr the Director, looks like the degrees are not helping you. I do not remember hearing you yesterday either explaining or even apologising....

Well on the day the warnings got canceled, the Director said that one of the parameters was the Economic impact of a cyclone warning. And also the security of people on our roads. The water yesterday morning was definitely worse than that when we had a class 2 or even class 3 for someof our previous cyclones.

I believe that failing twice in less than a year along with the consequences it bears...its too much.

People died for F$#@% 's sake!

At around six the rain stopped and not a single drop of rain fell at my place from 18 00 yesterday to 06 00 a.m yesterday (i wanted to measure average hourly rainfall, and my raingauge remained empty)... Did the Met Services not say that the depression would be at its closest point at midnight....well it it were at its closest point, then i presume we could have expected winds and rainfall...but well, this is what a logical person would say!

The funniest thing i heard on radio yesterday was during an interview:

Les previsions meteo ne sont pas fiables a 100% a cause des imprévus..

Prevision ..... imprevus.... i fail to understand the need to have previsions abt unpredictable stuff!

However, hats off to the private radio stations..they did a wonderful job in connecting people, and inform people about flooded rivers, obstructed roads. missing people...!

Please Vote!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Pheew what a day!

We will start with a funny picture:

Nothing funny, you might say... What would happen if you parked your car on double yellow line, + Have a look at his reverse indicator lights, only the left indicators are working.. the right bulbs are probably gone!!! the policeman in that car could issue a fine... who would issue him a fine ?

I spent time looking for a Biometric Reader with a SDK. I came across one from a company called M2SYS. The normal price is $ 499, for developing countries it is $ 399, I got a deal from the guy for $ 250... Still rather expensive. The whole of my book allowance will seem to go in that.

There is another one from Microsoft, which I have borrowed from a colleague of mine, it is around $ 40 from Amazon, however the SDK is not included... Looks like i will go for the Microsoft one and learn to develop the applications.... i know it will be hard, but it will not be impossible....

We had a pretty good day in spite of the rain. we were meant to go and play pool but the others postponed! I played a couple of frames and lost..I played against a guy who was so fluky! He potted balled which even Ronnie O'Sullivan would not have been able to pot, and when this happens, I get stressed! They call such acts 'acts of God', so consequently playing against a guy who was helped by God, I had no chance to win!

Then a 'plan brite in lever' it was to go and play badminton , we went and I was meant to go and play until 17 00, however the game was so enjoyable that I stayed till six, since i was meant to go to temple afterwards, I got home slightly late, and when my dad came and pick me up , the car. On our way to the temple the alternator (a little part which constantly recharges the battery when the engine is on) failed and the car just stopped with no headlights, indicator lights.... nothing requiring electric power worked, and since the engine stopped the hydraulic system for the power steering also failed..... He called a friend of his and the latter came to help us out.

When i got home, I got so wet while we were trying to fix the car, and also when I have to empty the fish tank (which actually had turtles in there) , as it was nearly overflowing due to the heavy rain.

After such a long day, I was so knackered to post anything yesterday...

Keep Voting!!!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Holi, Easter, Dal Puri and Programming Test

Voting Results: 16 voters
14 votes i.e. 87 % said i was good enough as a Lecturer and that i should keep 'reporting for the blog alone'
1 vote i.e. 6 % said that I should remain a Lecturer as I could be worse as a reporter (I know its you Gun....GRHHHHH!!)

I was shocked by one voter though!
1 vote i.e.6 % said that I was a crap lecturer...Well i am open to any suggestion for improvement buddy.

Well I have not posted for a while!
Was busy! Well lets take it since Saturday.
First of all i would like to thank all of those who posted comments and voted.
Please note that your comments are very valuable.

As you might know, on Saturday Holi was celebrated. I came across the a mythological explanation on, see below.

Holi gets us close to our religion and our mythology as it is essentially the celebration of various legends associated with the festival.Foremost is the legend of Prahlad and Hiranyakshyap. The legend says there once lived a devil and powerful king, Hiranyakshyap who considered himself a god and wanted everybody to worship him. To his great ire, his son, Prahlad began to worship, Lord Vishnu. To get rid of his son, Hiranyakshyap asked his sister, Holika to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad in her lap, as she had a boon to enter fire unscathed. Legend has it that Prahlad was saved for his extreme devotion for the lord while Holika paid a price for her sinister desire. The tradition of burning Holika or the 'Holika dahan' comes mainly from this legend.......

Well thats the 'cultural' part. I was deeply shocked however by the misbehaviour of certain UoM 'students' on that day. We might even talk of a 'culturally'-excused misbehaviour. To me no misbehaviour is excused or excusable. We had a bunch of delinquents not far from the cafetaria who were throwing coloured powder haphazardly on random people. And if i am not mistaken, some of those idiots were drunk. I think that these delinquents should respect the choice of some people not be part of that celebration. I saw many students who stayed in the cafetaria, scared that they might have their clothes smeared in coloured powder.

This is disgusting when you see students students afraid of being harassed or I would even call that 'abused' by some brainless thwats. Who would even put colour on a poor dog! Where are we heading?

I know Holi is meant for joy, celebration etc. etc. But where is it mentioned that this joy, happiness and celebration should be at the expense of others? I think Holi festival should be celebrated off campus not only because of the mess it causes, but for the potential dangers that the irresponsible people cause others. What if while trying to dodge a 'Holi Kamikaze' someone slips and badly injures himself! Sheer irresponsibility. Some stupid, consideration-lacking, irresponsible, brainless student(s) even 'graffitied' the walls.

'Unity' ....idiot, written on a wall, its just a word, written in your behaviour, i believe its much better

Futhermore, there is the problem of the consumption of alcohol on campus, or the presence of drunk students who cause problems on campus. This is getting common, and i hope they get caught and bear the consequence from of the Disciplinary Board. some should be expelled just to serve as an example to others.

Ok forget that, my dad always tells me that there is worse than people without intelligence, and these are people with 'intelligence' who do not use it. Guess he is right!

Well, so much for Saturday, ysterday was Easter Sunday, so the son of God came back from the dear! Those of ou who had had the opportunity of wathing The Passion of Christ, can u imagine a human going through the torture.... talk about faith!

If i were the son of God, I do not think i would have been able to go through all this. This might explain why my name is Gavin!

I was watching a film the other day and there was a rally against abortion in the film, and one of the guys had a poster on which it was written, 'What if Jesus was aborted' - can you imagine the consequences.

Seriously, do you realise the consequences, first there would be no Christianity, and worse still, CHRISTMAS WOULD NOT EXIST!!!!, Since Jesus would not have been born.

Well yesterday, i went to Shoprite as i was runing out of Vegetarian Stuff!!!! Got back home and we all watched a movie called 'Sivaji, The Boss', thought it was without subtitle we more or less understood the essence. There was a problem identified in the film, and it was that of corruption in India, an in many other parts of the world. Rajni Kant, was able to beat up a lorry load of gundas - come on you could not expect With one punch 5 of the baddies flew... Anyways!!!

I was online till midnight yesterday trying to solve issues students had about programming...I gave them a hand since they had a test today, and while some were on their last minute revision, others were learning, and still others were discovering stuff n their lecture notes. God Bless them, hardworkers...burning the midnight oil for some marks!

So today, i went for lunch with Jeen, there was no way i could let her go back to Kangaroo Land without meeting her! Since she fancied something really Mauritian, guess what - Dal Puri Dewa!! Well she seemed to have enjoyed it. If people had half her determination and dedication at work, the world would have been such a better place. I will miss her, she is a wicked friend! On my way back to UoM, i bought 'Goyaves de Chine' for my fellow 'Lekip Salad Mangue!' We had fun eating that exotic fruit with salt and red chilli powder! Doesn't that make your mouth water!!!

Then i had to run up and down the stairs as i had some stuff to get scanned and a friend of mine was kind enough to bring his scanner at work. The slightly before 16 00, i ran to Elt 3 as there was a Programming Test today. I know the students were shouced to see me. At some point in time, i had to go to room 3.* where Management with IS people were having their test as well, I was greeted with smiles.... They seemed happy to see me!

Back to ELT 3, while walking around I saw some students giving stupid answers, some were even over-answering the questions. When asked to give a class interface, they were giving the interface, plus the implementations of all the methods...come on for 3 marks....use your brains!

I believe the test was very easy and straight forward, but the results will show me lot! If they still fail this test...then they have to start worrying.

Please vote!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Sentiments mitigées!

Where to start?

Well the wise answer is:

From the begining.

Today was the last day of Teaching and Learning, :'-( sniff sniff!!!. We have the 4 assignments to hand in on the 1st of December 2008.

Many of you might have noticed that the area around the Engineering tower was abnormally busy, the floor was being cleaned (Jet-Washed s'il vous plait, Karcher a la rescousse) and there were potted plants all around.... ELT2 was being 'renovated' or shoud I say 're-vamped'... the reason is that out PM had to attend a function in ther at 16 30 today. The glass panes were getting wiped, the ramp leading to the Engineering Tower was moped several times today.

Jet wash in action!

Please bring in the potted plants people, the ramp must be decorated with plants coming from the UoM farm

They even did some landscaping, and planted a new tree - see the middle of the roung grass thing, there was not tree in the middle this morning, may be it just appeared as the PM was coming!

Everything was ready on time, the frst to arrive was the Deputy PM, escorted by two motards payed by my taxes, and followed by car full of what i call 'door' openers, because the only thing i saw them do was to open the door. The guy opened the door for Mr Deputy PM and the lady opened the door for Deputy PM's wife to get off... Stupid waste of taxpayers' money.

Serrer Ceinture peuple admirable!!! Ou deputy Prime minister pas conne ouver so laporte loto... ok lets give them the benefit of the doubt: May be there was child lock and the doors could not be opened from inside!!! Both were welcome by our Vice-Chancellor!

Then i left to see my students and when i came back, i heard that the PM was already in and all i could see was his car (actually one of his cars) parked next to the ramp.

By the way, there were 5-6 'motards' in all. And two of them went for a coffee in the UoM cafetaria.

Well the reason why I am telling this because all this wasted money could go elsewhere.

To prevent us from using the two following things:

AND to collect water leaking from the roof.

Avis de deces!

Todays Bad news!!!
Around 13 00 today, power went off in my area, nothing serious you might say.... well it is for me:

Do you remember the Vivaldi Dancers, since the powers went off the filter pump could not work and they all died........f%!"£"$ IRREGULAR POWER SUPPLY!!! caused the death of my goldfish!!!

Deces de me 5 poisson rouges agees de 2 mois, aussi connus sous le nom de 'Vivaldi Dancers'. Le convoi mortuaire sortira de leur domicile (l'aquarium de ma chambre) pour aller a la poubelle.

Forget the 'avis de deces', dont you think i would be better off as a reporter than a Lecturer ? Please vote!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A victim goes to Radio 1.

Well one of the victims of yesterday's thefts went to 'Casernes' to file a case and the stupid, unprofessional policeman (as are some of them!) told her that it would take a week before the case filed in Port-Louis to reach Moka, and it would be better if she filed the case in Moka.

Either the policeman forgot his brain (if he has one) at home, , or he has no people skills, or we are still in the dark days. This is typically Mauritius, we talk about Cyber Island, Digital economy and stuff, and it takes a week for a case to move from the police head-quarters to Moka. Anyways its probably because the Comissioner of Police is on holidays!

Or is it that the 'motards' are busy escorting , ministers... whatever be the case, it is inadmissible.

By the way, its frustrating when you have your car stopped by a 'motard' and then you see a Mercedes or BMW whizz by followed by another 'motard'. So you take the necessary precautions by leaving home early to get through the traffic, and you have a minister who wakes up late as he has probably been to a 'tax-payer financed' diner on the eve and still want to move from Vacoas to Port-Louis in 20 mins at 07 30 on a weekday.

Simple calculation.
Fuel for 2 BMW or MERCEDES
Fuel for 2 motor bikes
Wages for 2 drivers and 2 policemen 'the motards'
Wages for the 2-3 bodyguards

The bare minimum these would cost is Rs 1000 per hour, though we all agree it does costs more.

Assuming we have 15 ministers needing these facilities for 5 hours a day, and 5 days a week we have;

15*5*5*1000= Rs 375 000 per week

FOR 1 MONTH : 375 000*5 = Rs 1.5 million

And thats the bare minimum, do not even be surprised if it is twice the amount.
and you 'peuple admirable, Serrer meme ceinture'.

I have been to England and seen Tony Blair several times when left Downing Street to attend functions, he had 1 car, 2 motards, and 1 driver and 1 bodyguard. Yes we have to learn!

So rather naturally, the girl who seemed to me as being 'de nature tres calme' actually lost it and went to complain in a private radio station, namely Radio1.

Well i bet loads of people heard it. Futhermore, it also happened that the student in question also informed the student's Union about it. She told me that their response was that 'this is not the first time, and thatthey had informed management about it and nothing has been done'.

Well Student Union people, i think that it is your right and duty to follow up on a request you made to management, as you are customers to this university and you have rights as students ad well as obligations to the fellow students who elected you as their representatives. So simply telling that this has happened before and that your request has not been attended to is a lame excuse.

Well lets forget that, I had my 3rd Teaching and Learning session today, and its was quite good, though i did not enjoy it as i enjoyed the previous 2 sessions. May be because, it covered stuff i already knew, about 'Benjamin's Bloom Taxonomy of Learning outcomes...'

So anyways lets hope tomorrow's session is better!!!!

Well i got back home and while i was watching the news (well you know, that is that 30 minutes programme, out of which 15 or 20 minutes are allocated for our PM) on MBC, there was this news report about the lunch organised at the State House for our laureates, and in his speech the PM said that he was proud to be considered as a role model and that he askes the folks to come back to Mauritius when they finish.....

Hey where are we heading?

I would urge his advisers, especially those who are paid Rs 150 000 monthly- Please wake him up and tell him: ' Navin, Arrete Rever Camarade!'

I know all the RCC laureates of 2001, and 7 years later, none of them has come back. Yet all of those interviewed, just like those interviewed today said they will come back after their studies.

By the way, now even the President is talking about world-class education, and the minister of education was talking about increasing access to tertiary education by 45 %....

Well when we talk about world-class, we focus on quality and not on quantity - i am ready to advise you people, for only Rs 50 000.... lol :-)

Anyways i have talked enough got a homework to attempt for teaching and learning.

As usual, comments are welcome! And do not forget to vote, i have added a polling facility on the blog now!

p.s dusing the Unitec coverage on the news, the MBC made a mistake, When 'presenting' certain Mr Patrice Despax, instead of writing 'Orange Telecom', they wrote 'Orrange Telecom'.... Well just say erreur de frappe - ok?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Purses stolen near CSE labs!

I'm not in a good mood today, the reason is because three of my students had their purses or bags stolen today. These thefts occurred while they were having their lab sessions in MCID.

I would thus kindly request all you readers to keep your valuable stuff (purse, mobiles, jewellery...) with you when you are in the labs.

As a temporary solution, the Dean of Faculty and the Head of Department have agreed that you will be allowed to bring your bags with you in the Labs. Please take extra care with your stuff.

I do comprehend that it is disgusting when your stuff has been stolen or others have gone through you i can only tell these three students of mine that no crime or evil action goes unpunished.

Anyways, I went for my second Teaching and Learning seminar today, and since i had forgotten my spectacles, i went to the front row. Linda's slides are so cool, in fact she allowed me to realise that several little things which we can do can greatly improve the 'quality' of our lecture and make it mre enjoyable to our dear students. I can't wait to put her advice in practice and make our students benefit.

She also did some 'mini tests' in class, and i managed to solve all the questions correctly.... I think i manged pretty well simply because some of the others think inside the box, and since i have a 'Ronin' (Japanese word for a wandering spirit) , at times (though very rarely) i come up with 'different' ideas.

This is something soem of us might train for...thinking 'out of the box' our education system is so rigid that at times we get the impression that we are told how to think, and this hinders or even suppresses lateral thinking and creativity.

Linda had those interesting slides about the 'clicker'

A clicker is a little device which allows people to 'vote' or choose answers, its easy to use to allow
students to vote, and you can even carry out MCQ test in large cohorts rather easily and anonymously.
Each little clicker communicates with the PC or laptop using RF which uniquely identify each clicker, and a little receiver has be to attached to tohe computer to pickup the signals.

The application software can be integrated with presentation packages and can generate reports (as shown below) about results , which will give a clear indication whether or not the students have really understood...

We might think of a similar system using mobile phones, whereby students can send text messages containing Question number and chosen option to a number and we would only retrieve the reports later to gauge the level to which the students have really grasped the concepts. I might call ppl from Emtel or Cellplus tomorrow to find out if such a method can be implemented.
However, while looking for the pictures for the clicker in Google, i came across this image about use of mobile phones:

It seems a very interesting device, we might all have seen them in use in TV shows like 'Who wants to be a millionnaire?' or other shows where the audience actually votes for things.

By the way try reading this:
Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

Were you able?
According to a researcher (sic) at Cambridge University, it doesn't matter in what order the letters in a word are, the only important thing is that the first and last letter be at the right place. The rest can be a total mess and you can still read it without problem. This is because the human mind does not read every letter by itself but the word as a whole.

Imagine my lecture notes with letters jumbled all around!

Anyways, see you tomorrow.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Diner at the Meetoos!!!

Well today i had a very enriching day... we had our first PGC in Teaching and Learning lecture, it was carried out by Dr Linda van Rydeveld, she is from Tshwane Uni in Pretoria, South Africa.

I was very much impressed by the way she introduced the topic and shared her experience- her first couple of slides were about perceptions. The parallels she drew between what the lecturer wanted to explain and what the student are actually understanding were very nice. What was even better was the fact that she was sharing her experience when she was a student.

The first 'assignment' was something about the qualities of your most memorable teacher, i was thinking about all the qualities of Mr Pourannen Sungeelee, my Physics tuition teacher.....but it was tough...this guy is sooo good.

To share a little story... when i sat for my exams in Year 9 (Form 3), i actually failed in physics, and since i was taking it for my O'levels, i badly needed some extra help...and since a Royal College student who has failed in his exams was considered as an outcast, all the teachers I was asking were coming up with lame excuses.

Finally I got to meet Mr Sungeelee, and as soon as i told him that i failed in Year 9, he said- 'Mo pou aide toi' (I will help you out).

Tuitions were on Saturdays at 13 00, and he agreed to give me extra coaching on Sundays as well, after badminton training.

What makes this man an exceptional person is the fact that he was passionate about Physics and Maths, and always had those stories about discoveries and uses of Physics concepts. H was even Philosophical. He was actually extremey inspiring and dedicated to one thing: He always had this sentence about him not caring if 'did not learn Physics', he was more interested in us actually 'Knowing Physics'. It took me some time to catch up, but end of the line, I got a '1' in physics,
came of 5th in Year 11 and got an A for my A-Levels.

Call that Performance, but that is all thanks to him, his effort and invaluable guidance. God bless you Ton. If there is one of my teachers I have most admiration, it is by far him, and even when we meet now and again, we have very interesting conversations about the 'Philosophy of Science'
Well to get back to today's teaching and learning thing, I came up with the following qualities for a good teacher : (How may of those i possess - my students will be in a better position to answer that)

1. Dynamic and/or wise
2. Passionate and/or in love with his subject
3. Approachable and/or Friendly and/or entertaining
4. Inspiring
5. Humble
6. Ability to demonstrate how the concepts we are learning/investigating are being applied elsewhere
7. Devoted to sharing his knowledge and/or passion
8. Ability to accept that he might be wrong, or is not knowledgeable in a field

I was talking to colleagues last week and i told the that i was very lucky to have such a teacher, simple 'coz he was different. God bless you 'Ton'.I loved his lessons so much that i even went to tuitions when i was not scheduled to. My love for Physics and Maths is greatly due to him.

Most of the concepts explained by Dr van Ryneveld were innate in him.

Anyways, after i finishe my TAL lecture, we went for lunch, and the day went by very quickly.
At 17 15, we were in the common room and Avi asked me if i fancied some 'cold cans of the mythic bird', i said yes, but little did i i know that it would be having diner at his place. I had a splendid time with his kids, and the '4th colour of the Mautitian Flag' Island was very nice with ice cold Orangina.... After some drinks (come on- you do not expect me to say how much) we went in to listen to his 'much talked of ' sound surround system i.e Christina's Christmas Present... the kids were having a very good time singing and dancing around, then it was music time and i must confess that Avi is very goood at playin music using his KAWAI 16-bit Synthesiser, he was amazing me.

After his creative moments, it was time for diner and then got back home.

I had a quick glance to the papers 'et la' The P.M. sacks the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the latter said that it was already a thousand days since the PM said that he will change the lives (I presume he meant improve) of Mauritians, and that he was mot satisfied as nothing concrete was done. Come on, Mr the Minister, did i it take you 900 days to realise that???? I know i am not a sining star, but are you insulting the intellect of those who are brighter than me?

I think you are late in realising that, may be you were too much engrossed in foreign affairs to see what was actually happening locally.

Anyway so be it...looks like you will soon join the opposite political party usual....Politicians are like Chameleons, they change their colours according their environment.

Tomorrow will be the 2nd day of TAL, i think that for my assignment, i will take a Psychological approach 'teaching' Programming, with mind maps, belief mapping and core belief creation or shifting..seems a difficult task but it is worth the try.

Comments welcome!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Love in C

Hi there,
I just got a very funny e-mail from one of my MIS students and i would like to share that with you lot...its is soooooooo funny.
/*C Program to Propose a girl*/
#define Cute beautiful_lady
goto college;
if(lady ==Cute)

while( !reply )
printf("I Love U");

if(reply == "GAALI")
main(); _/* go back and repeat the process */

else if(reply == "SANDAL ")

else if(reply == "I Love U")
lover =Cute ;
love = (heart*)malloc(sizeof(lover));

goto restaurant;
pay->money = lover->money;

goto cinema;


See people.... C helps...

Take it easy!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A day at the seaside!

Hi all, we had a lovely conversation about Maths, Music, Physics and Philosophy on Tuesday Mr his wisdom... pointed out that we are nothing more than stardust...such profound words were sparked by Avinash Talking about the SUN and Nuclear Fusion thereon.

As he rightly explained, we are made up of Carbon, Nitrogen, Hydrogen and Oxygen.
However everything originated from the Sun, Supernovas and... , implying we are nothing but stardust... I even made it funnier by saying that we are all stars.

I know the title of the blog sounds a bit like a STD 6 Essay...but that was how i spent yesterday yesterday.We met at Shoprite and then headed to Pereybere..we all had a wicked time...while some were playing Dominos 'and cheatin'..... i will not mention their names coz 'truth hurts'... but anyways we had a very good time, and in the heat of the day, the 'cold cans of the Mythic Bird' were more that welcome, after some talking, eating, and was time for us to enjoy the blue lagoon, we had a wonderful time with the little fairy and Liverpool's 'next Gerrard'.

After spending some time swimming, we got back on the beach and then rented a Kayak for a little 'tour' in the lagoon. It was very nice except that the wind and the current were annoying as we had to constantly reposition the Kayak.

At around 200 m from the shore-line, it felt so nice and relaxing, .
We had a very interesting conversation about people and comfort zones.

When i was working at Accenture, someone from the HR department once told me that the really like people who are confident enough to move out of the comfort zone as this is what brings innovation in an organisation. However most people tend to work and build/limit a comfort zone around them and then never dare move out of that zone. However in a dynamic and fast evolving field like Information Technology, one cannot even dream of creating a comfort zone because by the time you finish building it, you will have only outdated stuff therein. May be we need to have 'The Eleventh Commandment': - 'Fear the divine wrath, you, Computer Scientist lying in your Comfort Zone'

Some people can even not only lie in the comfort zone, others can also lie about their comfort zone..

As Avinash pointed out there is a very big difference between a real Computer Scientist and someone who has :
1. studied 'only Computer Science'
2. 'studied Computer Science only'
3. only studied Computer science.

I will leave it to your interpretation to identify the fine subtleties in these three options.

When we got back onshore, there was a 'Marchand Glacon Rapé' around, and me and Avi had two each. Fer nou 'rapelle kan nou ti zenfant'

Then we were thinking about where to go as some of us wanted a good cup of tea ... the options were limited... in fact there was only one option, and we did not dare!!!

We then headed back home and I reached at about 19 00,

Well, as soon as i got home, i could feel the effect of the Kayaking on my i said... I am not 17 anymore!!!!

With an excruciating shoulder pain, i went to bed only to wake up at 06 30 with a crap weather.
Just wanted to get back to bed, but 'la conscience professionelle a pris le dessus...'

On the way to work, i heard out Prime Minister talking about 'Le Mauricianisme' thie word is not even in the can we ever understand what he means by this word unless he shows us what it means.

I heard that celebrations at Champ de Mars finished at 04 00, and that the 'sense du patriotisme de Mauriciens a été demontré'....

Good Joke!!!

I will take it further- how productive at work will be the 'patriot' be on the 13th of March after partying till 04 00.

Definitivement, l'usage des mots 'patriote' et 'Mauricianisme' est tres subjectif.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Counselling our PSEUDO-PATRIOTS!

Hi all,
I attended the counselling session today amnd looks like there will not be too many CSE students next year - hopefully quantity won't be much of an issue, consequently we might have . I was helped by two CSE students namely Sundeep and Kritee who were really helpful as i believe a school leaver would be more at ease with them than us.

The thing was that these two were so 'cool'ly dressed that students thought our stand was that of Fashion Design and Textile.

'Prenant connaissance du contenu de la brochure.'

I would like to sincerely thank them for their presence. Well done folks! Really appreciated.

It's just a shame that you had a lecture afterwards and had to leave.

Today's most surprising facts are the following: There was a parents who was looking for a course for his daughter...and the daughter was not there...I have heard about voting by proxy-but this one is worse. Its something close to 'YOUR choice of a career path by PROXY' - cotte nou p aller camarade?

Worse still there were those 4-5 girls who had no idea about what they wanted to do as a career and they were in the counselling - i bet that since they are dis-oriented, a career orientation session would be more helpful to them - to give you an idea about how serious it was, they had no clue about 'WHAT FACULTY THEY WANTED TO JOIN'........aint that worrying - well all the taxes you we pay end up 'educating' those kids....Don't you dare tell me you don't pay taxes...whats the VAT you pay on your Phone Cards....

Hey oui... 'Quelle jeunesse!!!' But i am worrying about my old days...coz they are the ones who would be paying my pension...and my free bus

Well tomorrow I have a lab session with some students and I am anticipating a high rate of absenteism... The excuse they will come up with if the megashow and flag raising ceremony...They will try to come up with a cheap excus using a word they don'e even understand the meaning - and this word is patriotism.

I would like to repeat the wonderful words i came across on Avinash's Blog who quoted SRK in one of his interviews:

“Patriotism is when you do your best to succeed in whatever field you are. It has nothing to do with holding the flag of your country and singing glorious songs.”

Well to some of you, you might be singing tomorrrow...but is that really the best thing you can do for your country....think about it. You country needs 'programmers' so be in the labs tomorrow and we might sing glory to thee for 5 mins and then get better in programming for the remaining hour and 55 minutes... the choice is yours.

Are you flag holding singer or a true patriot!


Sur ces belles paroles, je prends congé de votre aimable compagnie...


Saturday, March 8, 2008

Tel un phénix qui renaît de ces cendres, Gavin goes Linux!!!

Hi all, sorry for not posting for a while!!! Well there are several reasons (or i might even say excuses) for that. Well 'la resolution de la semaine' was to go for Linux as OS, early on Thrusday, I asked Anwar to give me a hand for the installation, since the CD he had was not installing for some reason, we requested Pascal to help us out, and he actually gave us the last version of Kubuntu, i.e Gutsy Gibbon. After it was installed, i was amazed by the sheer speed at which the laptop could boot up!!!

Though my sound card and my Wireless LAN are not currently working, and i have spent the last two days and nights downloading packages, i will get my way round that... and as they say : Where there is a will there is a way! Well, i am looking for the 'way' right now... though i am typing from my Desktop which is still running XP...... for how long - God knows!

By the way I heard our valued Minister of Arts, Jokes and Comedy on one of the private radios - saying that he personally attended all the rehearsals for the celebration of our 40th Independence day, this implies we might have two scenarios:
1. All his 'moments' would be perfectly intentional - i.e. he said something funny because he had rehearsed for that
2. He rehearsed so much that he cannot 'possibly' go wrong - but we know he will

Whatever be the outcome - i am sure we will have a good laugh.

Yesterday, we had the opportunity to meet D.Lan, a manager at GOOGLE, who came to UOM to explain about how Google and UOM could collaborate, and because it was GOOGLE, we had a very very short PL sad!!!

Yesterday, was the first of three counselling days, and i had prepared the flyers for that, and noticed some mistakes in the flyers today.... to late. Unfortunately, the posters which Avinash had so painstakingly prepared, were for some obscure reasons not printed. Shame! Shame! Shame!!!!

Had a nice conversation with someone from the department about conseling:

The Topic: Shall I 'counsel' them, or tell them the whole truth?

To many, the counseling session is to encourage people to take up A programme at Uni- my definition would be to help them choose the programmes based one criterion only:
Help them find the course which they like or which is more suited to them.

Counselling is providing advice - and advice even be something like 'Do not choose a course in haste, take your time, consider your options and aspirations, choose something in a field you really like, and then go for it'. I also met some parents who were anxious about the future of their child, and the 'reflex' question was :

Eski capave gagne travail ek sa cours la?

The most down to earth and honest answer is : Ek tous cours capave gagne travail, li depende ki quantiter ou bon dans domaine la.

Some people have degrees and yet are not experts in the fields, others have absolutely no degrees and yet are proffesionals.

If we had a course: BSc Fer Dal Puri, would any 1st class graduate of that course be able to beat Dewa or Chapo la Paille..... i doubt...these guys are good in their fields, and its not the BSc Hons Fer Dal Puri which will guarantee you a job.

To get a job there are ONLY two options:
a. Backing Politik - as is often the case in many places, including 'notre p'tite ile paradisiaque'
b. Being better that the others, or even the best!

The choice is yours....
If you choose option one, start sticking posters (even if its against your political ideology) on bus-stops walls for the Political Rallies of the 1st May, and hopefully the guy will remember you when you knock at his door, begging for a favour.

If you choose option two - stop reading this blog and get to your books, your tests are scheduled for week 10, i.e in two week's time.

Well now the bad news! - one of the black goldfishes died today... he got sucked in by the filter (He probably saw finding Nemo and wanted to do the same)...RIP little will sadly be missed!

After work today, went for some prayers, after which i headed straight to Shoprite for a meal- Debonnairs Large Hot Vegeterian Pizza and Garlic Bread (I think they have lessons to learn from me when it comes to preparing Garlic Bread)

Ok i'd better get going now! Catch u later!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Well there is something funny about the name of this festival - to me it is ambiguous.

Maha - means Great

Shiva - well I know, its the Man himself i.e. the Lord, or as i prefer 'Nataraja' King of Dancers

Rathree- is derived from the word 'raat' which in Hindi means night

So, does Maha-Shiva-Rathree mean
1. The Great Night of Shiva, or
2. The Night of the Great Shiva....
I personally prefer the second translation... sounds better,

On the way:
Nearly there:
Finally there:
Whatever be the case, I went to Grand Bassin today..... my cousin told me that it all started with a Pandit who had a dream about a lake with a little island in the middle, then he set out for a walk to look for that place....most probably, the guy should have come across Mare-aux-Vacoas on his way.... imagine the face of the guy when he found out that there was no island in the middle of the reservoir. This would have implied that he would have had to keep on walking...poor guy.
Well it might seem funny, but in those days there were no roads of street lights and stuff.... spooky forests all around - call That an act of faith!!!
Anyways this is a great festival and I went to Grand Bassin, and the place does have something 'different'. It was all foggy and this made it kind of mysterious.

Off we go, as we turn round, it seemed as if the statue was wavin good bye though the 'hand gesture' in fact meant that we were being blessed.

I prefer to think it is a 'good bye see you next year', see for yourself!!!

After all the prayers and pujas, we went to another temple called Amma Tookay Kovil at Camp Diable, the Kovil is in the middle of sugarcane fields....its is so nice.

The fact that we did not have any breakfast was starting to be felt... so on the way back home, we stopped at La Flora to have a roadside lunch along with other pilgrims.

Then got back home and rested. Tomorrow will be a very busy day!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Goldfish on Vivaldi!!!

Hi all, had loads of work today and we had that poster thing for CSE to get out of the way, plus the preparation of test papers has started... p commence chauffer la!!! Before i couls realise - it was 14 00 and i did not have my lunch yet. Went to cafetaria, and found nothing else than CHOLESTEROL and tea. Well, beggars cannot be choosers!! Had about Rs 10 worth of Choloesterol and had a YOP - as you might have guessed... it was a Yop Rumba!

Then got back home and bought some goldfish on the way....
Question : How long will they survive?
Answer: God knows!

Had to wash the little aquarium and check if the pump was working - luckily it was!!! Pheew!!

They look happy and alive, as per the video below:

Well i heard our Minister of Arts and Culture on the Radio today, he was talking about independence and cracked a 'joke' of the sort : 'Quand banne indiens ti sorte dans l'Inde, zotte ine emmene zot culture'..

Cher Monsieur le Ministre, b si Indien pas sorti dans L' Inde, cotte zotte pou sorti? L'Afrique

Well already 40 years, and we could have developed more i am sure, if we had more competent leaders! (Notice the subtlety of the words - should our leaders be more competent, or should we have a greater number of leaders who are competent. Choose your own interpretation!!!)

We all claim to be patriots - this reminds me of a posting of a friend of mine on his blog, and the posting had those wonderful words:

“Patriotism is when you do your best to succeed in whatever field you are. It has nothing to do with holding the flag of your country and singing glorious songs.”

However, many of us are just holding the flag and singing Glory to Thee..., and the Chinese Governement has given 200 000 flags - so my dear singing flag holders enjoy yourselves!!, and enjoy yourselves with the Rs 10 ,000, 000 budgeted for the celebrations, I have heard that there will be fireworks and stuff - our country has so much money that they will waste it in fire and smoke!!!

Anyways!!! No more comments.

All revise zotte Glo -o-o ry to Thee!!! Motherland of motherland of mine.....

Motherland p vine pou etranger -so we need to come up with a new National Anthem. I got the first few line already:

Glo-o-o-ry to thee,

Motherland of motherland of theirs (it belongs to the foreign inverstors)

Sweet WAS thy beauty, sweet WAS thy Fragrance, (now its a concrete jungle with smoke and dust)

Around thee we gatherED,

As one people, as one nation in FEAR, INJUSTICE and MISERY

Beloved country may God SAVE US, for ever and ever!

Your comments are welcome!!!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Blocked in the Parking at Winner's St. Pierre!

Hello you all jolly folks,

Went to uni yesterday to work a bit, had to go to the printing room and there was a dead lizard on the printer - it probably got electrocuted in the connection box. It looked as if it were fossilized.

Later on went for lunch after which we decided to go and see a friends new born baby! Since its was 'ene plan brite' we went to Winners to buy some stuff to bring along... however, when we got back to the parking, an unconsiderate driver had parked just behind us and this was preventing us to move out of the parking space.

I went in to ask the guys to make an announcement... comble de malchance- the microphone was not working.

We waited for 30 minutes in the parking - the guy did not come! Then the car next to us moved out and then we were able to manoeuvre out. Then went there, had a good chat and then got back home - Internet is working,, and are not accessible.
Called up MT and 23 00 and had a very lively conversation with their technical support (as is often the case when i talk to these folks) and they told me that requests from a whole range of IP addresses were being rejected by some US servers - yet we call ourselves in Cyber island.

Well probably Cyber because of the 'Cyber' Towers at Ebene, and Island coz we are isolated and cut off from the rest of the Digital World.

Anyways - "What's in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet." (Romeo and Juliet - W.Shakespeare)

There was a posting some weeks back when i wanted to find the length/size of a dynamic array, i have hunted on different forums for a solution and tried various tricks and it does not seem to work - some even said that there is no easy solution - so should anyone hears about anything please let me know. I do not want to use Vectors by the way!

Well, today Nio visited me today in the new house!!! That was a lovely surprise - he just called and told me he was around - explained him how to get here - he managed except that he turned left when i told him to turn right - is that surprising - well for those who know him well, the answer is NO! As usual my parents were happy to see him after quite some time! Then he left and i went up and Miracle- Facebook is operational, ran a couple (actually 10) races in petrol head and that was it!

Got to go, by the way Miss Tokaiiiiii is complaining that Baby Jasmine is already sucking her thumb - well thats is normal - what would be abnormal would be if she were sucking someone else's thumb....

See you soon !!!