At the cusp of a new term


in Daily updates, Oxford

Bike gears

Trinity term officially begins today, which means half again as much reading and paper writing as has taken place so far, all in the course of the next eight weeks. The core seminar for this term is the development of the international system from 1950 to present, which basically means great power diplomatic and military history. I think we’re all appreciative of the fact that it’s territory we’ve basically all covered to one extent or another before. You could hardly get this far if you hadn’t.

Looking back over the break, it has been quite a good one. I travelled to Chichester, Arundel, and Malta. I saw Sarah get married. I spent a week with my mother. I met a number of new and interesting people. I read some good books. I applied (unsuccessfully) for a number of scholarships, as well as submitting a paper to the MIT International Review. I wrote the qualifying test, in fairly respectable fashion. I moved to a new place. I cycled a few hundred kilometres, in aggregate. That’s pretty good for six weeks.

New duties

Along with the Vice-Presidential position, I have been given responsibility for the Strategic Studies Group website. I can already tell that it is orders of magnitude more complex than any website I’ve ever operated before. Looks like I will spend some portion of the next year learning how to use MySQL databases and the various content-management applications that keep the thing going. If all goes wrong, I made a full backup before I touched anything – a very time consuming task when there are thousands of sub-directories.

The first step, of course, is to quickly learn the nuts and bolts of posting informational updates. Later, I can really get acquainted with the innards of the site and the way it operates. Despite the fact that it doesn’t seem to use much more bandwidth than a sibilant intake of breath, they have an absurdly large amount allotted.

[6:03pm] Within hours of taking over the OUSSG site, I managed to crash it completely, by not understanding the way the content management system, the SQL databases, and the FTP server talk to one another. I managed to fix it by manually editing a configuration file, since the way I screwed it up completely disabled the web-based CMS. I am going to leave the whole thing alone for a while now…

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous April 24, 2006 at 4:35 am

could you post more of the texts/books you will read for these upcoming 8 wks – and any relevant/related books outside the class that you have covered or enjoyed.


Milan April 24, 2006 at 10:01 am


Our Trinity reading list is here (PDF).

You can find all of our reading lists here.

R.K. April 24, 2006 at 1:10 pm

What kind of content management system does your new site use?

Kerrie April 24, 2006 at 8:30 pm

Could someone in the QEH Development Studies program post their reading list too?



tristan Laing April 25, 2006 at 6:30 am

I discovered today that the A510 produces much nicer blue skies (and warmer tones in general) if the white balance setting is left on “Cloud” instead of “sun”.

Milan April 25, 2006 at 9:32 am


Josiah can probably send you a link or a PDF.


Good to know.

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