Saturday, 27 October 2007

FirstClass for Mac Users!

Hi all

Just thought I'd post something that I tried out just now and worked perfectly. Firstclass for MAC!

Whilst booting into my windows XP partition on bootcamp today to log into first class I noticed on the splash screen the address for the firstclass website. Now I always thought that firstclass was an internal product of the Open University, but apparently not!

If you go to this site "First Class Downloads" you can view the first class international clients. If you then go down to English UK you can see the windows and MacOSX versions. Click MacOSX you will be taken to a page to download the MACOSX universal binary of FirstClass version 9. Download it and install it.

Once installation is complete you can launch the application and you will see this screen.

You need to click Setup in the bottom right hand corner and you will be presented with this screen.

Fill in your OU server, which you will find on your windows version of Firstclass I believe it is either or so try either and see how you get on. At the top fill in your student number and password as you would normally to log into first class or the open university website then click save.

You will be back at the main screen. Click the green arrow next to the password field or hit enter on the keyboard. And Voila!! You have firstclass on your mac. See my desktop below.

Monday, 22 October 2007

MU120 and M263 TMA01 PT1

I have been hard at work on my MU120 TMA01 PT1 which I have completed today, I must admit this was more of a pain than I thought it would be! All was running well until I hit question 2 part D, where I got stuck on something which happened to be straightforward but took me a fair amount of time to solve. I can't discuss the question at the moment as the TMA deadline has not passed but section 1.7 in the calculator book should give people a good grounding in tackling the question.

Now the TMA is complete I have two gripes. The first is that I cannot submit it electronically, which isn't a massive issue but it is an annoyance as up until now I have submitted all my TMA's in this way. The OU put it down to Maths being much easier to work with on paper than on the PC, which after spending a good 5 minutes trying to find out how to use superscript for the squared symbol in Microsoft word I realised is probably true. My second gripe is that you cannot search the PDF texts for this course. I know a lot of students like to work from textbooks but I personally enjoy the freedom of PDFs and the ease of reference come TMA time. Unfortunately as I learned today the old nose in the book and search method has to be used now and again, this is because the MU120 texts are written using a special piece of software to deal with all the mathematical characters which when converted to PDF, is unsearchable (Arrgghh!).

My M263 TMA was handed in earlier last week and I found it fairly straight forward however some of the information in Unit 1 threw me a bit as they were using operators without fully explaining them. The text does stress that it will expand as the course continues and I hope it does, seems a lot of effort learning a new language for a year, you'd think they would continue using javascript which is used in other OU courses including the M150 course which so many people start there computing degrees with.

Saturday, 13 October 2007

MU120 Tutorial 1 and M263

I've just been to my first tutorial of this academic year. We went through the MU120 course materials and workloads/assignments and what is expected of us as students. Seems the same as previous years however my tutor did stress that MU120 is fairly time consuming for a 30 point course and don't judge your time based on previous study. Point noted!

The first part of TMA01 is due on the 22nd of October and as with all TMA's in MU120 needs to be submitted by snail mail. The Dark Ages! (Que medieval music).

This seems to be a bit of a pain as it will reduce the amount of time I have to write the TMA and check it before posting it, as in my past experiences I have been able to check a TMA a few times before submitting it via the eTMA system without to much worry of blowing a deadline. I guess I just have to plan it better.

The materials seem to be fine at the moment, and I'm keeping on track as far as studying goes.

On a different note I don't have a tutorial for M263 until November, and if I recall correctly its down in Exeter which is going to be a bit of a nightmare. I'm enjoying reading the materials for this course so far however it does seem to jump straight in at a fast pace and using technical terminology. It is a level 2 course though, I just hope we'll all be able to keep up!

Monday, 1 October 2007

NUS Extra card arrival!

This is a follow up post to an entry I wrote last week surrounding the new NUS Extra card now available to all Open University Students. After a short time from application (Around 6 days) I received my NUS Extra Card on Saturday 29th September in the post as can be seen in the two photos attached.

As can be seen in this photo, the back of the card clearly shows the Open University Student Associations Logo on the back just under the signature strip.

After activating the card online which was a quick process I have already put it to use on Amazon to get an extra 5% off! At this rate I will recoup the cost of the card in no time at all. Roll on the discounts!

For note, whilst waiting for the card I received an e-mail saying as a security measure my card would be sent to my students union and I would be e-mailed when it was ready for collection. This is obviously a measure put in place to prevent abuse in traditional universities, however I am pleased to say that despite receiving this e-mail.... the card still arrived on my doorstep without any need to go to the OU for collection.

I hope the rest of you make the most of this great opportunity, whether it is for discounted meals, clothes or nights out reward your hard work and study with an NUS Extra Card. I know I will!