Thursday, 18 July 2013

Jokes #2

More smart-alec jokes.

1. A photon checks into a hotel and the porter asks him if he has any luggage. The photon replies: “No, I’m travelling light.”
2. “Is it solipsistic in here, or is it just me?”
3. What does a dyslexic, agnostic, insomniac spend most of his time doing? Staying up all night wondering if there really is a dog.
4. A TCP packet walks into a bar, and says to the barman: “Hello, I’d like a beer.” The barman replies: “Hello, you’d like a beer?” “Yes,” replies the TCP packet, “I’d like a beer.”
5. An electron is driving down a motorway, and a policeman pulls him over. The policeman says: “Sir, do you realise you were travelling at 130km per hour?” The electron goes: “Oh great, now I’m lost.”
6. Pavlov is enjoying a pint in the pub. The phone rings. He jumps up and shouts: “Hell, I forgot to feed the dog!”
7. How many surrealists does it take to screw in a light bulb? A fish.
8. There are 10 types of people in this world. Those that know binary, and those that don’t.
9. When I heard that oxygen and magnesium hooked up I was like OMg.
10. The barman says: “We don’t serve faster-than-light particles here.” A tachyon enters a bar.
11. A Buddhist monk approaches a hotdog stand and says: “Make me one with everything”.
12. What do you call two crows on a branch? Attempted murder.
13. An Englishman, a Frenchman, a Spaniard and a German are walking down the street together. A juggler is performing on the street but there are so many people that the four men can’t see the juggler. So the juggler goes on top of a platform and asks: “Can you see me now?” The four men answer: “Yes.” “Oui.” “Si.” “Ja.”
14. Never trust an atom. They make up everything.
15. How many programmers does it take to change a light bulb? None, it’s a hardware problem.
16. A student travelling on a train looks up and sees Einstein sitting  next to him. Excited, he asks:  “Excuse me, professor. Does Boston stop at this train?”
17. Did you hear about the jurisprudence fetishist? He got off on a technicality.
18. Werner Heisenberg, Kurt Gödel, and Noam Chomsky walk into a bar. Heisenberg turns to the other two and says: “Clearly this is a joke, but how can we figure out if it’s funny or not?” Gödel replies: “We can’t know that because we’re inside the joke.” Chomsky says: “Of course it’s funny. You’re just telling it wrong.”
19. A Roman walks into a bar,  holds up two fingers, and says:  “Five beers, please.”
20. Did you hear about the man who got cooled to absolute zero? He’s 0K now.
21. An infinite number of mathematicians walk into a bar. The bartender says: “What’ll it be, boys?” The first mathematician: “I’ll have one half of a beer.” The second mathematician: “I’ll have one quarter of a beer.” The third mathematician: “I’ll have one eight of a beer.” The fourth mathematician: “I’ll have one sixteenth of a…” The bartender interrupts: “Know your limits, boys” as he pours out a single beer.
22. What does the “B” in Benoit B Mandelbrot stand for? Answer: Benoit B Mandelbrot.
23. Jean-Paul Sartre is sitting at a French café, revising his draft of Being and Nothingness. He says to the waitress: “I’d like a cup of coffee, please, with no cream.” The waitress replies: “I’m sorry, Monsieur, but we’re out of cream. How about with no milk?”
24. A classics professor goes to a tailor to get his trousers mended. The tailor asks: “Euripides?” The professor replies: “Yes. Eumenides?”
25. A programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.” The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.

Jokes #1

I stole these from one of those emails that circulate. Make of them what you will.

What’s the difference between an etymologist, and an entomologist? An etymologist knows the difference.

A biochemist walks into a student bar and says to the barman: “I’d like a pint of adenosine triphosphate, please.” “Certainly,” says the barman, “that’ll be ATP.”

How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb? Only one, but the light bulb has to want to change.

Why do Marx and Engels drink herbal tea? Because proper tea is theft.

A layman, a scientist and a mathematician are driving through Wales when they spot a black sheep on a hillside. The layman says: “How fascinating. The sheep in Wales are black.” The scientist says: “No. There is one sheep in Wales which is black.” The mathematician sighs and rolls his eyes. “I beg to differ. There is one sheep in Wales, one side of which is black.”

What did the proton say to the ever-grumpy electron? “Why do you have to be so negative all the time?”

Two atoms are walking down the street. One atom says to the other: “Hey! I think I lost an electron!”
The other says: “Are you sure?” “Yes, I’m positive!”

Why are quantum physicists terrible in bed? Because when they find the position, they can’t find the momentum, and when they have the momentum, they can’t find the position.

Two behaviourists meet in the street. One says to the other: “You’re OK. How am I?”

The masochist said to the sadist “hit me” and the sadist said “no”.

The science teacher took a drink, but now he drinks no more. For what he thought was H2O was H2SO4.

What did the Nihilist Borg Say? “Existence is Futile.”

A woman comes home to find her string theorist husband in bed with another woman. “But honey,” he says, “I can explain everything!”

Why didn’t the quantum particle cross the road? He was already on both sides.

Why is it so difficult to explain bad puns to kleptomaniacs? Because they always take things so literally.

How many people of a certain demographic does it take to perform a specified task? It takes a finite number: one person to perform the task and an additional number to act in a manner stereotypical of the group to which they belong.

How many Freudians does it take to screw in a lightbulb? It takes two, one to screw in the lightbulb, and one to hold the peni-, fathe-, LADDER!

Schroedinger’s cat walks into a bar. And it doesn’t.

What is the longest song in the world? Aleph-null bottles of beer on the wall.

Two cats are sitting on a roof. Which one slips off? The one with the smallest mu.

Why did the inverse function cross the road? To get to the same side.

How does a mathematician determine the shortest fence to include a herd of cattle? He draws a fence around his feet and declares “I’m outside the fence”.

Descartes walks into a bar. “Beer?” asks the barman. “I think not” replies Rene, who disappears.

Stefan Banach and Alfred Tarski go into a pub. They order one half between them and get two pints – (the barman believed in the axiom of choice). “That’ll be £5”, says the barman. They give him 1p and he puts £5 in the till.

What’s a good anagram of “Banach-Tarski”? “Banach-Tarski Banach-Tarski”.

A Higgs boson walks into a church. The priest says, “Get out, you blasphemer. How dare you call yourself the ‘God particle’?” The Higgs boson replies: “But I make up the mass.”

What do you get if you cross a zebra with a banana? Zebra banana sine theta.

How many Microsoft designers does it take to change a lightbulb? None – they just define darkness as “industry standard”.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Customer service, 2013 style

A conversation with Vodafone.

THE QUESTION:
My monthly voice call usage, according to the mobile My Account app, is 45 minutes of calls, with 55 minutes remaining. As I'm on a Smart19 Data plan with 50 mins total, this seems odd. I checked it by logging on to the web site and downloaded a CSV file - calls add up to 15 minutes & 20 seconds.

Can you please investigate this discrepancy? Can I trust the mobile app?

THE REPLY:
I'm really sorry to hear about that. I have confirmation from our service operations team that there is a known issue with our online tracker system and that the issue should rectify itself on your next Smart19Data renewal date. In the meantime, we would strongly recommend checking your balances via txt or calling 777 every few hours or so to get an updated balance.

THE TRANSLATION:
We know there's a problem, use alternative methods. It will reset itself next month. (It did.) And don't rely on Vodafone's mobile usage app for Android.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Learning curves

Learn2 became Learn on 1 July - it's now the default LMS for Canterbury students. The existing system, now known as Learn1, still has courses that run all year - they'd have lost data like marks in the move, so they have to stay put.

On the 8th of July teaching began, with potentially 10,000 or more students wanting to use the system. To our relief, it held up fine. Most people seem happy, though a few have had problems - most notably, people wanting to read PDF files on iPads - the PDF opens in a pop-up, with no scroll, save, etc. We'll get that sorted out soon.

Next phase - moving the S1 courses ready for next February. That will happen in the second half of August. Then the W (whole year) courses in December, and we're nearly done - some odds and ends of non-standard courses to move, and we switch off the Learn1 system in February or March next year.

For any curious techies: we're running Moodle 2.4 with a custom theme named Decaf, written by Lei Zhang, a previous developer in our team, and Paul Nicholls, our present developer. The servers are VMs running Red Hat Enterprise Linux. There are three web servers and a cron/backup server, a single MySQL database server, with the IBM SONAS disk storage system keeping the data safe. At the front end is a BigIP F5; a firewall, load balancer, proxy - it probably makes a cup of tea if you ask it properly. Learn/Moodle has been pretty fast since Paul switched the database to use InnoDB as its engine, rather than MyISAM - the ISAM engine locked the entire log table every time it wanted to write an entry, and caused cascading go-slows, so we're glad to have an alternative.