The Media Guru

Aug 30, 2008


"Whatever can go wrong will go wrong, and at the worst possible time, in the worst possible way."Murphy’s Law.

My 2nd year at the University of Mauritius (UOM) has just begun & I've noticed quite a few new things, including the supposed computerisation of the campus. But is it worthwhile? (Warning: UOM rant to follow!)

First of all, I'd like to apologise for not being able to blog since my only hard disk (an 80GB Samsung SP0802N) was failing & I had to reduce my usage until I get a new one. & the last 2 weeks, after a BSOD, I didn't use it anymore.


& how unlucky was I that the next day (13th Aug) the results were finally out for Mechanical, Manufacturing & Mechatronics. I wonder why it took them so long? & the latest innovation is that you can now check results online! Wow, what a ground-breaking idea!

It was really at the end of the day that the results were to be available & because my computer was down, I had to use my mobile. With GPRS I could access the whole UOM student site except the Transcript page... At least I could access the site - Nomad users are completely blocked off from the site! I guess Nomad doesn't like UOM students (or ex-students). Read more here.

No problem, I would check it at the Cad/Cam lab the next day. Well, surprise in the lab - the computers have been "upgraded" from Win 2000 to Win XP Pro. The reason is that AutoCAD 08 doesn't work with Win 2000. But with the memory still at 256MB, I wonder how will XP be able to run it? (XP itself uses 100MB). The username/password is still the same, i.e. cadcam & blank. & if you are wondering what that bear icon is, it's no spyware, but DeepFreeze, a system settings protection app.
So with Internet Explorer 5.5 & a 512kbps connection shared by 20 computers, I loaded the UOM student site - the transcript page was still not working. Was it down or is there something wrong with IE6? Hence I downloaded Firefox 3 Portable - you can't install anything on the limited account. Firefox couldn't load the page as well! It was only when I looked at the source that I guessed that the page required Java (JRE) to run! WTF? Why didn't they say so on the first place?


Took me 5 min to find the direct link to Java 6 Update 7 & I added it to a portable download manager! It's completely impossible to download anything when 20+ people are using the same connection. The only way is to use download managers (16 parallel connections) to leech all their bandwidth! Well, I was downloading Java, but I had no idea whether it will install or not? I never managed to know because the computer crashed at 75% download...

How am I going to check those results now? How about the campus's WiFi connection? I borrowed a friend's mobile & tried to connect using WLAN to UOM's weirdly named network - Sugar Beach Resort. Nokia's browser did support Java, but the network wasn't working... (I later found out that Sugar Beach never works but it’s EDS-UOM at the Café that works!!) Am I even destined to know my results?


At home, the BSOD in question was an UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME error, meaning a corrupt MBR. In XP, a fixboot solves the problem... but on Vista, there's a new repair console which doesn't even have fixboot! Nevertheless I could still boot on XP, installed my ADSL modem & tried to access the UOM site. No luck - I still needed to install Java. So instead I tried to solve the BSOD. I couldn't find a single site describing how to fix the BSOD on Vista! Finally found it by looking on a dual-booting guide. Here it is:
Bootrec.exe /fixMBR
Bootrec.exe /fixBoot

On logging into Vista, my ADSL modem just wasn't working...(reinstalled the drivers 10+ times). My failing hard disk did more than just corrupt the boot records - it corrupted my Vista as well. No USB devices were being recognised & Vista was asking for re-activation. Pffff... How much more unlucky can I get?


In the end, I had to use... dial-up! I was incredibly frustrated for having to pay to check this BS of result transcript. On top of that, it took ages for the Java applet to load...


All this effort for this single page? Why can't they just setup a simple text-based page? I guess there are database systems available that are more secure than Java. Do they think everyone has broadband & they can download Java anytime? & the least they could have done is mention it: "This site requires Java Plugin to work. Download it here." Easy.


No comments about the Student site design. If you look at it, you'd think we are living in the 1990s... Forget the design, there's not even a Help section! & to think all students need to register online! How would they know what they need to register, when to do it & whether to do GEMs? The required info is found hidden in the main UOM site here.


Have you noticed that there's now a Manual section on the homepage. Firsties can now get softcopies for some of their manuals (most of them GEMs). Why didn't they do this last year? :@
& btw you can’t download those manuals yet – I had to take them directly from the publishing section (& I still don’t have them yet!!!)


UOM's recent switch-over to Google apps is commendatory. But with such crap connections available on the campus, you can't take advantage of services like Google Docs (there's always Office 03 on the computers & 07 in the Black Box). As for mail, very few lecturers use it to contact students with the majority of mail being spam from the Registrar (Research Week 08 BS). Have you ever tried sending something with that mail? You won't be able because whatever you send will be automatically be labeled as spam by Gmail.



The "compulsory" module Work-Based Learning (WBL) really illustrates how disorganised UOM really is. This module introduced by the Distance Learning section is a total failure. Less than 20% of students got a work placement. & since it's compulsory, what happens to the other students? Won't they get the credits? WBL is a joke compared to Industrial Training - engineering students are being sent to sit at the Ministry! LOL

Speaking of modules, that is complete disaster! Every year you get new modules, the aim of which is to have common modules for the maximum number of students. This is a big problem in terms of class size. For e.g., all my lectures have 75+ students from at least 2 sections. How are we going to do practicals? Would the current group of 5 double to 10? How are we gonna do the reports?

The problem of past-papers is worst. The newer modules having new codes, you don't know what was the original module. UOM wanted to put all papers online - but if you check the library, there's only May 2006 papers there! Another example of disorganisation - the papers are scattered over the campus - you'll find papers at the VCILT’s Learning Objects Repository & the Library’s Libero WebOpac Portal (accessible via Intranet only).


& now there's also the UOM Noodle Moodle which is supposed to be a platform for lecturers to upload notes. The graphics isn't too pleasant & it's not too hard to register but it could have been much better.

& don't forget there's a new Engineering Library found on 2nd floor. I do really pity those students who need to shuttle between these 2 libraries.


As you've probably noticed, all slide projectors have been replaced by ceiling-mounted LCD projectors. Great initiative to make all lecturers purchase laptops (& get them to learn IC3) - but every time you want to use it you need to call the technician (for the remote), thus wasting 15 min. & I think there's only 1 technician for the whole Engineering Tower.


& for lecturers who don't have a laptop, there's always the Black Box. The Black Box is no recording device (like in an aircraft) but contains a monitor-less "portable" PC - the NetPc!
UOM is providing all these facilities, but will lecturers even use them? Some lecturers are total noobs with technology. There's one lecturer who scans his notes & saves them as pics in a Word doc! & let me tell you he doesn’t even know how to use Word 2007 fullscreen option!!! (The other day he kept hovering his mouse on the fullscreen option, in deep thought whether to click on it or not, & finally decided not to, just to be cautious in case he messes something up!)


If you think C is the lowest high-level language you've come across, then you've never heard of mnemonics? That's like dealing directly with hex to program logical operations. We are currently practicing on the 8-bit 8085 Intel processor (all desktop PCs are based on the original 16-bit 8086 CPU). That's actually the only thing that I found positive so far. A simple program to mask off the least significant nibble of A6(H) & storing in memory address 2502:


That's the end of my UOM rant. First-years must have been severely disappointed by the state of affairs here - but this is only the beginning, it can only get worse, right? Welcome to Hell. As for the rest of us, we are supposed to make way for more students on the campus... Haven't you noticed how over-crowded the cafeteria is now? Btw cafeteria rant is here! Our schedules have been re-shuffled as well - the lecture theatres being occupied all the time by the larger cohorts, we are the ones being punished: 8:30am to 5:30pm on Saturday - 9 hours non-stop! The only students to remain at UOM that late on Saturday… (all other buildings & gates are already locked down). Uom SUCKS. Period.


PS. I'm now back to blogging with my new 250GB Hitachi Deskstar IDE hard disk which I got at a great bargain at Rs 2000 (VAT inc.) at ACD Computers! ;)
& here ends this 9000-character rant! :P

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Anonymous said...

heeya..Nice rant..:p
well..I'm at UOM for my first year..basically, yeah it do sucks to do class with +100 students..and with lecturers who make their own time table.Or much better..with a particular lecturer who dismiss a class since he could not solve a particular question! !

Concerning the cafe..It suxx way too much..
first, manger la dan bez..
second its expensive.
I usually go to MIE or MES to eat...

concerning the online module-->we were told to register our modules.But should we take GEMs?I have no idea.We have 6 modules + 2 electives.

and those PC in CITS lab and Ex common lab, suxx takes 10 mins to load xp..and it takes several mins to buffer wat u typed in openoffice writer..! !ek jamais pa faire error open 2 process at the same

telment ena students at uom sa..pena meme place pou sit and eat..LoL..common la reste rempli..bsn pouse dimoune pou gagne place..

carrotmadman6 said...

For GEMs, it's better to take it during the 1st year, coz it's only year when you can devote time to it! If you can fit it in your timetable, it's definitely a + since it will raise your CPA. :D

Well, actually I did that error of opening 2 processes & the XP crashed! LOL :D

Looking at the Uni today reminds me of my college days, where everywhere was overcrowded! It's basically the same thing! LOL :D

Anonymous said...

hey..r u in mtx yr2???

carrotmadman6 said...


Yep! :P

Anonymous said...

Wai the website to check result la...vrement coment dir lepok kan zist militair ti p servi internet sa lol ban projector zot in install on the top la... They have demonic powers!!! Why? Last week was havin class Artificial Intelligence and then projector decided to auto switch off and on by itself!!!! 3 Times it occured. So lets say around 30 minutes of FORCED break time....

Very nice post!!

Anonymous said...

Official transcript lol!! my friends from mechanical engineering were promoted to level II and were requested to pay for the fees and yet they didn't know their results :) lol

HD @ ACD?? Heard a rumour! All the stuffs from ACD are recycled and are of poor quality ?? it's a rumour and i don't know if it's true

carrotmadman6 said...

For the projectors, it's just that they are "resting" like the old slide projectors! :D

Mechanical, Mechatronics & Manufaturing had the same fate - we paid for the fees without knowing if we had passed. The next day after the results, our class had reduced in size! LOL :D

For ACD, when I went there, the promo stock was already over! But I managed to get the same price for the new shipping that came a week later. :D

Anonymous said...

wat a small world kner si to con abituer res r sooriah bunty bhavesh tousa...p maziner em kisanla dan mo class capav ena 1 blog...Xtreme????

carrotmadman6 said...

Yeah, maybe I know you. :)

Anonymous said...


Welcome to the "I say UoM Sucks" club! :P

There has been some improvements this year, but there is still much to do. It amazes me how the national university does not have a good internet access. I thought that Uni's always had really fast connections that made everybody else drool to have one too.

The hardware is not great too. In CITS, it took 21 mins (I clocked!) to get me into Eclipse! That excludes the Fool.FDC or something virus that I got as bonus on plugging my pendrive.

The Moodle thing is down at my place. It keeps on "Loading" forever. Even after 35 mins, it's still "loading". Duh...

carrotmadman6 said...

Actually the Uni does have a fast connection - only on the WiFi!! - you can speeds between 40-50KB/s on it. :)

For the moodle, I can't download anything bigger than 4MB - the moodle thinks that either I'm taking too long or it's really a bug in the system! :(

Anonymous said...

kuma ggn wifi lr campus la? toultemp mo detecter n conktion lr mo laptop mai kan connect pa ariv pa mm dman n WEP key nanien! :-S

carrotmadman6 said...

Only the WiFi at Cafeteria works. You don't need WEP, it connects automatically.
Should be named EDS-UOM. Well, that was last year, I dunno now if they've secured it or something... :)

Anonymous said...

I agree with all these, but is there any better alternative in mauritius? do u think abroad is better? may b utm... ki u dire?

carrotmadman6 said...

I don't know who UTM works, but it can't be worse than UOM. :|
As for abroad, they'll be definitely be more professional, but you won't be in your comfort zone. ;)

Anonymous said...

Just for educational purposes, for how much years/months were you using your 80GB Samsung SP0802N?

carrotmadman6 said...

It'll be 6 years next February.

I'm using it sparingly as backup. :)

Anonymous said...

If it has failed or making strange noises I don't recommend you to use it as backup...
I think and I'm also pretty sure, the reason your 80GB samsung got problems 'early' is because you use your computer everyday. Am I right?

carrotmadman6 said...

Yes, the average lifetime of a hard drive is 5 years, for my everyday (heavy) usage.
I was kinda expecting it to fail. :)

Anonymous said...

ur rite its damn crowded. sme of z lecturers uz projector n u cnt c anythin! tons of fotocopies of more opr less z same things. module registration system dsnt hv help. no place to sit even cuz of overpopulation! important pages in buks r torn in z library. lecture without tables n they dare ask u wezr ur cmfortable with it or not! its rily hell! my 1st yr jst startd with 55+ in my class n we hv more or less small classes. sme lectures r just 15 min!!!! cmplete frustration!

Anonymous said...

in 2011, 3 years after 2008, this is absolutely relevant.
i came here doing a google search on uom results, which, fyi, are all available online ONLY now.
i have java and internet and all.
Guess what? all uom sites are down, error, connection refused

its not only the student site, but also the uom homepage, vcilt wbl and everything

oh and online module registration is such an epic fail, we have to harass the ladies in the registry for days, weeks, to do it manually

KAV said...

zot bane zelev UOM critik UOM kumsa...plzzz...its a request to all those who critisized UOM!!!
thanking  in anticipation

KAV said...

if u really have problems with it to those who r really met zot bane critik en "publik" wud deem so kind from you all...(a tou bane seki p critik UOM)...

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