JOGL Rocks!

For the past few weeks I have been thinking seriously about heading back to uni to complete my honours degree.

Currently some of the team in Computer Science at Massey have been playing with JOGL.

I had a look at it the other day but didn’t get very far. Well tonight I decided to really get my hands dirty.

And it rocks! Im currently seeing if I can convert my traffic simulator to JOGL.

Will keep this blog posted on updates.

Day Eight: Ruapehu Take Two

Because of some changes in plans I got to go skiing for a second time!

Don’t be fooled by the nice photos below the day started in much worse weather.

I left Wanganui at 6.30am to drive to Ruapehu and I arrived just before 8.30am. The weather was average to terrible driving up to the mountain. Snow in lots of places (not as bad as a week ago though) and lots of rain.

When I got to the base of mountain the upper mountain lift facilities were on hold. Because of this I decided to wait at the bottom of the mountain for an update on their opening status. This wait lasted almost a whole hour before I decided to head up the road at 9.20am.

In my hour of agony and dilemma I came very close to heading around to Turoa as it had more facilities open then Wakapapa. I was lucky that I didn’t though because it was only open for two hours before the weather packed in and closed the ski field.

Anyway back to the story. Like last week the road up to the ski field was closed unless you hired chains for your car. Chain hire costs $25 and there was quite a queue of cars waiting for chains to be fitted. I paid for my chains at 9.20am and then waited until 9.40am for them to be fitted. At 9.30am while I was waiting, and after I had paid, they decided to open the road up until Day Park 10. But no because I had already paid for chains I still had to get them fitted and go up the now open road on them.

This was a minor pain in itself but never mind chains are very helpful on mountain roads and because I was on chains I would be able to go to one of the higher and closer car parks when I got up the mountain. Sweet! However, when I got up the mountain I was directed to park at Day Park 10 despite having chains and arguing with the parking attendant. (I was told later he was wrong and I was right.) I was not happy about this for two reasons. The first is that I was made to hire chains that I did not need, and secondly I was forced to park low down on the mountain just because I was 2WD and the parking attendant was blind to the fact I had chains on!

Anyway. I couldn’t be bothered waiting for a bus so I walked the kilometer or so up the road to the Top of the Bruce. Here I hired gear and passes. The upper mountain was still on hold so they were only selling lower mountain passes. GRRRR I thought. By this time the weather had cleared a lot. After getting my gear sorted I headed out to head up to the top of the lower mountain. Well I ended up in a queue for this chairlift for close to 45mins! By this time it was approaching 11am! Yes I had been on the mountain for over two and a half hours and I hadn’t even got to go skiing yet.

When I finally got onto the chairlift they decided to open the Upper Mountain. When I had purchased the lift passes they had told everyone if the upper mountain opened everyone would have to go back and pay more. However, everyone on the mountain, including myself just headed for the upper mountain lifts without the extra passes. We had had enough waiting! There were at least 100 of us wanting to go higher up the mountain and it was not our fault they hadn’t sold us the right passes so thankfully the ski field operators saw the sense in letting us go higher!

After all this the weather cleared and the skiing was great. I skiied for just under five hours and now two days later I am still paying the pain for it. Sore legs, knees, bruised side and motion sickness is still mucking about with my sleep. But it was great. And fully worth it. Except for the chains!

Check out the reflection in the goggles. Nothing but snow and sky!

Note to self: When taking photos remember to smile!

To go off the edge or not. That is thy question.

Snow. Snow and more Snow!

Defend the Defenseless

Psalm 82:3-4a

“… You’re here to defend the defenseless, to make sure that underdogs get a fair break;
Your job is to stand up for the powerless, …”

(The Message)

Students Supported by Parents. Yeah Right!

I am fired up. As blogged below do not critise those who are below you. We have just as much a voice as you do.

If you want to know more about student support and how little students get check this page out:

Here are some highlights:

Students are the only group in our society who are not entitled to public income assistance when out of paid work. While the cost of living increases more and more, full-time students are being forced to scramble together income from a range of sources to meet ever increasing weekly living expenses – whether through working long hours on top of full-time study or borrowing to live from the loan scheme.

New Zealand’s low level of living allowance eligibility and relatively high cost of living forces a large number of students to borrow to live from the Student Loan Scheme and/or scramble together income from a range of sources.

In a 2005 report by the North American-based Education Policy Institute, research compared countries on six different measures of tertiary education and student living cost affordability. Out of a total of 16 countries, New Zealand only scored 15th, while understandably Sweden and Norway, two countries that have a fully funded tertiary system, scored first and second.

NZUSA believes that students must be relieved from the burden of being forced to borrow to live and plunged into high debt. Students must be provided with a living allowance as of right while enrolled in full-time tertiary study, and out of full-time paid work. Full-time study is just that – full-time! We strongly deplore the current and previous government’s view that debt constitutes a form of income for students.

30% of all borrowing under the Student Loan Scheme includes borrowing for student living costs, and 50% of all loan scheme borrowers in 2004 borrowed for living costs.

The maximum a student can borrow per week is $150.00. Despite being the longest un-inflation adjusted figure on the government’s books, this is not a sufficient amount to live on, in light of increasing costs, and particularly if students have no where else to turn for income.

The logic from parties who support age related means testing tends also supports the view that if a student is ineligible for an allowance then their parents will support them.

However, only 28 percent of all respondents to the TNS Income and Expenditure Survey (2004) reported receiving some parental support while studying, and this was not necessarily on a weekly basis. The median amount gained from this source for the year was $1,999. The 1998 Income and Expenditure Survey revealed that 31 percent had received some form of monetary gift from their parents.

And there is plenty more in the linked article read up before you blindly critise.

Blind Rich Pricks

One of the things I really cannot stand is people who decide to reject reality and established facts.

Early tonight one of these Rich Pricks Students decided that they would talk to the other people in their masters degree course to try and establish if it was normal for students in NZ to be supported by their parents.

They concluded that it was normal for students in NZ:
to be fully supported by their parents,
to live at home, and
contribute nothing back to the household.

Now I cannot even begin to express how outrageous this statement is.

But lets look at where this conclusion came from.

First it came from a taught masters class. This means a few things. First it is a bloody expensive class. Secondly it means that you have to be pretty good academically to get into it. It is well known that to get as far as masters you typically come from a very well off background or get lucky with a scholarship. So it is little wonder this conclusion was made.

So what is the true reality of students? Well here are some true facts.

(Data and edited comments from NZUSA 2007 Student Income and Expenditure Survey)

The socio-economic level of parents/guardians was calculated from their stated occupation
using the Elley-Irving index. These figures are based on at least one parent or guardian
currently in paid employment.

Significantly more students were from a high socio-economic background in 2007 than in 2004
(59% in 2007, 47% in 2004). Over one third of students (35%) were from a middle socio
economic background. Significantly fewer students were from a low socio-economic
background in 2007 (6%) than in 2004 (15%).

Students from a high socio-economic background were significantly more likely to be
studying full time, with parents earning over $80,001, international students, aged 20-
22 years.

Students from a middle socio-economic background were significantly more likely to be
studying part time, with parental income between $20,001 and $40,000.

Students from a low socio-economic background were significantly more likely to have
parents earning under $60,000, Maori, over 30 years.

Thirty eight percent of tertiary students are financially independent. Almost one third of
students (32%) are partially supported by another adult (4% by their partner, 28% by their
family). One fifth (20%) are totally supported by another adult (5% by their partner, 15% by
their family).

International students were significantly more likely to be fully supported by their family (55%
of international students, compared to 11% of domestic students). Domestic students were
significantly more likely to be partially supported by their family (29% of domestic students,
compared with 15% of international students) or to be financially

During 2007, half (50%) of students rented a home or flat. Just over a quarter of students
(26%) lived with their parents.

Now it is important to note that this survey was of tertiary students only. What about those other people in society who cannot afford to attend tertiary education. Are they supported by their parents? I highly doubt it.

So lets look at the statements again.

The vast majority of students are not fully supported by their families.

The vast majority of students do not live at home.

The vast majority of students are expected to contribute back to their families.

Word of advice: Don’t mess with someone who loves statistics, debating, and looking out for the downtrodden.

Rick Pricks need to open their eyes and see beyond their gold plated fences. How about spending a year without your comforts. How about spending a whole year financially independant and earning the minimum wage? Don’t critise what you have not experienced.

Update: Here are some more facts… This is a press release from 30 July 2008 on Student Allowances showing very clearly that students are not supported.

Government report justifies calls for universal student allowances

Students are welcoming the release of a government report highlighting the positive educational
outcomes associated with student allowances.

“The findings of this report come as no surprise. NZUSA has long advocated that adequate support
in the form of student allowances is integral to academic success, and this government report now
confirms this,” said Paul Falloon, Co-President of the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations

The Ministry of Education report, Educational achievements of student support recipients, found that
those who receive student allowances do better academically and are twice as likely to achieve
successful completion of their studies.

“This evidence provides an excellent academic justification for the introduction of a universal student
allowance”, said Falloon.

Currently only around one third of students receive an allowance, with two thirds excluded due to
parental-income means-testing till the age of 25. As a result many must borrow simply to cover basic
living costs, resulting in the vast amount of student debt that individual students bear, and the
immense collective student debt of $10 billion now held in the community.

“In 2007 NZUSA conducted the national Student Income & Expenditure Survey and found that 90%
of fulltime students undertake paid work during the academic year, and 59% cite a stressful financial
situation as a major concern,” said Falloon. “The impact of this, and the often significant time away
from study at paid work, has concerned academics and student representatives alike for years,”
concluded Falloon.

With both political and public support for a universal student allowance, and now government
research identifying allowances as a significant factor in positive educational outcomes, the time is
now right for its implementation into policy.


If students were supported by their parents then why are those who recieve an allowances twice as likely to complete their studies?

New Zealand’s “uplifting” attitude at its best

The link above is to the TVNZ Olympics Message Board.

But unless you want to be disgusted at the attitude of the majority of posters I wouldn’t recommend clicking on the link.

TVNZ is doing an amazing job covering the Olympics. They have four channels of coverage (TV One, Freeview Ch20 and two online channels).

But despite all this people are still complaining. I personally enjoyed the NZ vs Brazil soccer game which was aired on TV One (the main NZ channel).

New Zealanders need to get a grip and be thankful for how much coverage they are getting for free.

TVNZ surely paid top dollar to get the coverage, Sky TV would have been surely trying hard to out bid them.

Imagine the Olympics on Sky. a) Not everyone could get it – Sky costs, TVNZ is free. b) Unless you paid more it would not be in High Def. c) You would not have four channels of coverage – three channels at the absolute max. d) You would still have ads – like the live Formula 1. e) People would still complain.

Make It Fly

Make it fly was designed with one thing in mind… to put your creative tendencies to the test, to push them like they’ve never been pushed before, to answer the age old question … how far can I make a aluminium drinking can fly? You’re limited only by your imagination and a budget of 20 bucks.

This competition is the sort of thing that makes me wish I was still at school… It is so cool… They should extend it to the general population as well.

I’m sure with $20 you could make a pretty good plane.

I am thinking… 20 – 30 cans (you can get an 18 pack for around $10), all cut to form a large biplane that is held together by duct/cloth tape and toothpicks. That is my pick for how you could design a decent flying machine.

The Difference is Clear – Olympics Hi Def vs Std Def

The following two images have are screen shots from Mediaportal.

The first image is Freeview DVB-T TVNZ Sports Extra which is broadcast in standard def.

The second image is Freeview DVB-T Tv One which is broadcast in HD Ready def.

The difference in the colours and the depth/quality of the picture is quite amazing.

No need for all the marketing hype this is the real user test showing the very clear difference.

Close Up/Side by Side view of score display in standard def and high def.

World Internet Project: New Zealand

From Kiwiblog:

Those who like facts and figures will have no end of them in the NZ report as part of the World Internet Project. It is probably the most comprehensive study of NZer’s use of the Internet. Some interesting stats:

  • 79% of NZers use the Internet
  • 15% of users are online for over 20 hours a week (half a fulltime job)
  • 66% of users have broadband
  • 71% of users say the Internet is an important source of information, compared to 52% for newspapers and television
  • 10% of NZ Internet users have a blog (this is a very high figure internationally)
  • 28% of users use Facebook or other social networking sites
  • 25% of users have made friends with someone online and half of those have gone on to meet them in person
  • 15% seek info about political parties or MPs online
  • 43% support Government funding to enable wider Internet access while 34% oppose it
  • Almost 80% of teenagers visit social networking sites, and 40% of those in their 30s do so.
  • Over 30% of Asian users have a blog, compared to under 10% for Pakeha and around 3% for Maori
  • Around 20% of those in their teen or 20s have a blog, and slightly more females than males
  • The more you earn the less likely you are to blog