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Archived Posts for February 2005

Please note: The posts on this page are at least 3 years old. Links may be broken, information may be out of date, and the views expressed in the posts may no longer be held.
Feb 05

3 Unrelated Tips

1. At Star City, you can sign up for a free membership card. This card entitles you to three free drinks per day. However, if you swipe the card through the drinks machine correctly, you can get an unlimited supply. There are two lights that go on when a drink is being dispensed, one is the circular light surrounding the button of the drink you selected. The second is the arrow that’s above the hole where the drink comes out. First, order a drink. Next, the trick is to swipe your card just after the circular light goes out, but before the arrow light turns off. Don’t swipe too fast, or the machine won’t read your card. This will get you a second drink without increasing your daily drink count. Repeat for subsequent drinks.

2. If you have a 3 mobile phone, and have free 3-to-3 calls and voicemail, instead of dialing your voicemail, call your own number instead. You will automatically get diverted to your own voicemail, but because 3 thinks you’re calling a regular 3 phone number, you’ll be able to check your voicemail for free. I don’t have 3, so I can’t verify this, but it doesn’t hurt to try.

3. Are you a UNSW student? The Factiva database on Sirius has a complete full-text archive of newspapers (AFR, SMH, Australian, etc) and periodicals (BRW, The Economist, etc). Through Factiva, you can view articles that you’d otherwise have to pay for, such as those marked as “Premium” on certain websites, or articles in the pay-per-access archive of the SMH.

The Final Semester

1000 pages photocopied, 1 toner shortage, 1 paper jam, 28 staples for $3. And so began my final semester at uni.

Finally finished the memorials today at 4.30am. Woke up at 8.00am to get into uni to print off the copies needed. There were lots of first year law students wandering around trying to figure out why the library lifts only go up to level 7 even though there are buttons all the way up to 14. Found out that the law school doesn’t have any staplers that can go through 45 page documents, so we had to take everything down to the printery. The printery was insanely busy, so they stuck us on the job queue and we had to reschedule the courier pick up time to late afternoon. By the time I got into IP, I was feeling pretty out of it. Falling asleep in the front row in the first class of the year is not a good way to start a subject with a 20% class participation component.

Anyway the memorials are all in now, and strangely enough, it feels like I’m on holidays now. It’s been a busy summer, but it’s time to enjoy the last semester, which is looking pretty interesting:

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Feb 05
Feb 05

Time Extension!

We’ve just been informed all teams have an extension on submitting moot memorials until next Monday. I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry.

Some Rain Photos

Been spending around 15 hours a day over the last week on the moot memorials. Slowly going crazy. But anyway, here are some snapshots of the heavy rains that came through over the weekend. My street turned into a river.

The last one was taken some time after the rain stopped when I was playing around with the camera. There’s still a fair amount of water on the road since you can see the car’s reflection on it.

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Feb 05
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Feb 05

Space Moot

Nine days until our written submissions are due. Okay, I don’t think I’ve explained what this space moot thing is that has occupied all my time since I finished work last week. It’s an international law mooting competition, based on space law. It’s an international comp, with the first round being a regional one. There are three regions – America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. The Asia-Pacific region is the largest, sporting 33 teams this year from Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, India, China, Japan, and several other countries. (The winner of each regional round progresses to the world finals, but those are a long way away.)

Two 12,000 word memorials need to be couriered down to Adelaide by Friday next week. This is followed by the actual round of oral submissions, which will see around 30 teams fly into Sydney to argue out the case. These start in mid-April and are held over four days. Each team competes in four moots, done in a round-robin format, and the top 8 go through to the quarter-finals and it turns into a knockout.

It’s a long, drawn out process and writing these memorials reminds me of writing a thesis all over again. We had to rewrite most of everything last week as well. It’s not all bad though. Our coach works at one of those big city law firms, so sometimes she manages to book a meeting room there for us to have group meetings in. They’re pretty cool actually, you get in and this waiter comes around and takes coffee orders(!). There’s also a little bar fridge in each room filled with drinks for the taking and a neverending supply of Kool Mints and Kool Fruits. In the last couple meetings, we’ve even managed to edit a document working off a projector which beats crowding around a computer screen. And the views:

I mean, if you’re going to be crammed up inside in a room doing work when you should be enjoying uni summer holidays instead, this at least eases the pain a little. Nothing like watching the sun set over the harbour.

It’s a challenge working on documents this big in a team – version control is an issue. Also, different working styles make things quite trying sometimes – some people like getting things done early (ie, me), some are last minute people and so on.

Feb 05

Fired for Blogging?

I totally agree with this post by Anil. As he says, you don’t get fired for blogging, you get fired for bad judgment. I say you get fired for pissing people off. If you mouth off at your boss in private with the openness people do in their blogs, that’s probably not a good career move. If you do it in front of the world, then that makes it all the worse, doesn’t it? If you complain about how your boss is a bastard/bitch, has a bad temper and a stick up their ass, how do you think a bastard/bitch with a bad temper and constipation is going to react when they read it on your page?

Not clearly identifying a company or person doesn’t make that much difference. It’s like spreading bad goss through two degrees of separation using only first names. No one likes that happening to them. People may not personally know the person who is the subject of the goss, but people are still darn interested, and sooner or later, those two degrees will become one. The difference in the workplace is, your boss can do something nasty about it which also happens to be legal… which is one remedy more than your vindictive ex has.

Feb 05
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Singaporean Politics

I came across an interesting post by a (from what I can gather) Singaporean studying law in Melbourne Uni. It details arguments for why it may be true that Singaporeans are not ready for greater freedom of speech. One reason for this, his writes, is that any opposition to the PAP (Singapore’s governing party) is too immature to put forward a coherent argument. “That is not free speech. That is hate speech. And such hate speech is the anti-thesis of what freedom of expression should be.”

To be sure, there are merits to this very patriarchal view of things, but I am not convinced by his reasoning. I don’t feel like writing at length about this right now, but I just wanted to flag the post.

BTW, are there any American lawyers or law students out there that read this site?

Amazing Race 6

Just watched the closing episodes of the 6th Amazing Race season. While the first hour was good, the final leg was plain boring. I thought season 5 (where Chip and Kim won in a nailbiter) was far better in comparison. I hope that in the next season, which starts in 3 weeks: teams don’t catch up to each other at the start of each leg because a tourist attraction only opens at 10am; there’s a bit more variety in teams than boy-girl model couples; and teams don’t spend most of their time in Europe. I’m also hoping that they travel westwards instead of circumnavigating around to the east but I don’t think that will happen. I love this show.

They are also now accepting applications for participants on the 8th season of Amazing Race. Naturally, it’s open only to US citizens (lucky bastards). Most interestingly, it looks like they will be adding a twist – teams of four, which may include minors. This will make things bloody interesting.

Update: The teams for season 7 look good. There’s a former Iraqi POW/Miss South Carolina team. There’s also a mother/son team (which is a first), and the son is gay. Most cool is one of the teams is Rob & Amber – the winner and runner up in Survivor: All Stars. It’s the clash of the reality TV shows! Excellent! The diversity looks to be a lot better than season 6!

Feb 05

Happy CNY?

Happy Chinese New Year. Ok, so I’m one day late.

I have to say that CNY (especially went spent in Australia) holds next to no significance for me whatsoever, which has left my parents a little flustered. “But you’re Chinese! It’s significant!” they told me. I was amused that Dad sent me an email today saying, “What, no mention of CNY on your blog?”

Growing up in a western country and knowing nothing but the Gregorian calendar is probably responsible for this. CNY is a day I have little conception of, and I’d argue, a day most overseas-born Chinese know little about as well. Ok, so everyone knows CNY was yesterday and it’s now the year of the Rooster. Perhaps you know that the year is based on a lunar calendar. But I bet most people don’t know what year it is on the Chinese calendar. (Hint: It’s not 2005.) I mean, how can you celebrate the new year, when you don’t even know what year it is? Do people even know what the Chinese calendar looks like? How about its leap years (which include leap months)?

In the western world, a new year signifies renewal (in the same manner it does for the Chinese I’m guessing). For us, a year is significant because a huge number of things in our lives are broken up into years (school, birthdays, anniversaries, etc). It’s a bit bizarre turning in a new year on the Chinese calendar when I have no conception of what the calendar is. I was born in the year of the Rooster, so it’s apparently “my year”. Again, what’s the significance? I don’t pay attention to the western zodiac, why would I pay attention to the Chinese one?

Turns out the Chinese calendar is pretty intricate. Intricate enough that a mathematician at NUS wrote a 39-page paper on it.

It’s sort of like what happens on Labour Day every year. No one celebrates anything, because no one knows what it is, except that they get the day off work.

Feb 05

Solo’s Back

Solo’s finally posting again. He’s also resurrected Ramblings, evicted its old crew and given the run of the place over to some old e/n folk.

Feb 05

Old Library Books

You know the law book you’re reading is old when everytime you open it, the pages release dust or fumes or spores that instantly make you have a coughing fit. I think this book is actually killing me.

Quick question

I am really amazed at how many people do not know how many states there are in the USA! Do you know the answer off the top of your head? (Americans don’t count for this question.)

Feb 05

iiNet’s new ADSL plans

iiNet has been busy installing DSLAMs at Telstra exchanges and the result is a bunch of new plans. They all guarantee a minimum 1500/256k connection, up to 8000/1000 depending on your distance from the exchange. The plans basically require bundling with iiphone (their voice line service), and the heavy plan comes with a 40gb+40gb download limit (offpeak limit runs from midnight to 8am) with uploads not being counted. $120/month for the service and line rental seems very worth it.

Five pieces of advice from Warren Buffet

Darren Johnson got to spend a few hours with Warren Buffet and came across five pieces of advice. You’ve probably heard them before, but to hear them from the world’s second richest man adds that extra sheen onto things. I like point 5: He said that many people talk about how they are going to just work at a high-paying job “for a little while” and then go do what they love – he equated that to “saving up sex for old age.” He said to “never do something that doesn’t excite you or that you dislike.”

I’m guilty of thinking in that way. However, sometimes to afford to do the things you love, you need the money.

UPN cancels Enterprise

Paramount has just announced that Enterprise has been cancelled prematurely, only after just four seasons. As the link says, it will be the first time in 18 years that no Trek series is in production. Four seasons sees the show have enough episodes to be syndicated. I have mixed feelings about this. I think Enterprise was a show designed to reintroduce Trek to the masses, but 30 years of stigma and poor first and second seasons consigned this show to an early grave. Still, it’s sad to know that there will be no more new Trek for the foreseeable future.

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