June 23rd, 2003


Techy things


Some time ago I was nominated as the person in charge of the computational process which turns raw marks from finals papers into a single numeric "result" for each paper. Yes, these are real exam papers taken by real finalists in this year's compsci exams which started about 2.5 weeks ago and have probably now pretty much finished, and the result is called a University Standardised Mark (USM) and has fixed pass/fail borderlines, so that you can take the average USM over all papers and then declare that all candidates with ceil(avUSM)>=70 have got a First, for example. (Of course, I didn't accept this nomination without promise of some remuneration at the end of it all, though the details haven't really been sorted out.)
some gory detailsCollapse )
[end of catch-up]

For no particular reason I don't seem to have done any work on the system since 12 June. But the examiners' meetings for Finals are at the beginning of next week. (It would really complicate matters if smallclanger were to arrive before then!)

Today it turned out that the Mathematics department, who have to mark some of our candidiates' papers, are using completely different formulae to calculate their USMs, and what they want to do is send us the parameters of the formulae so that we can generate the USMs ourselves (whereas what we might have expected is a simple list of candidates with their USMs). The parameters will be delivered on Monday afternoon, one week today. Ideally I will have to add their formula to our system, so that means more work for little old me.

(And, complicatedly, some of the papers for which the Maths department will be calculating USMs are papers that our department has assessed and designated the raw marks for. So we have to send them the marks, and they will send us the formulae back. I just hope they have arranged this transfer with whoever is responsible for keeping the scores, because I have been told very little about how all this will happen.)

Oh well... it will all be over in a week or three.

  • Current Mood
    busy busy

it's gone bad!

One of the perennial distresses in my current life is the amount of money we spend in shops so that we can take the goods home, store them for a bit and then throw them away. I hate to say this, but this hardly ever happened before I met J (well, that's because there was hardly ever any food in my fridge before I met J). She will walk past something in Tesco, say "oh, I quite fancy [whatever]" and then completely forget it's there for the next 3 weeks (after which, of course, it is my fault for not reminding her about it). As I write this, there is an unopened packet of muffins in the fridge which says "best before 12 Jun".

Now the present diatribe concerns not one but three pounds of strawberries which J picked up on a whim on Saturday. I allowed this because her parents were due to visit the next day. However, Sunday came and went (and so did our visitors), and the strawberries remained untouched. They would still be there now if I hadn't got up and deliberately opened a packet. (The strawberries, not the visitors, you understand.)

Well this time it wasn't our fault: the cartons all said "display until 23 Jun" and one of them said "use by 24 Jun", so they should have still been OK. But they were furry. Very furry, in the case of one of the cartons (coincidentally, the one that said 24 Jun). We ate some Carte D'or ice cream instead, as consolation.

It's not the fact that I wanted to eat some strawberries and couldn't that distresses me: in fact I could quite happily go for years without one. No, it's the effort we go to to choose the right Multisavers in order to shave a few pence off the price, when we can spend a fiver on something that's just going to get thrown away.

This is where being an MDG-owner comes in handy. Tesco is 5 minutes' drive away and is open 24 hours. I wouldn't have even dreamed of cycling there at this time of night. So off to Tesco I went in our shiny new Saxo, and I demanded a refund because the strawberries were quite clearly still in-date. OK, I didn't actually "demand" anything - I stood and pointed. Or something. Anyway, it was touch-and-go at first, but eventually a nice lady gave me a refund and apologised for the inconvenience. In celebration I went round the supermarket and (re-)bought one new carton of strawberries, some cream, and three toffee-flavoured Ski yoghurts.

So I got home, put everything in the fridge, and discovered that two of the three yoghurts I had just bought said "use by 20 Jun"!

Well sod it. I've eaten one of them. At least it wasn't furry.
  • Current Mood
    tired tired