National Computer Science School 2010

Alright, so NCSS 2010 is over and I’m a bit bored so I thought that I might update this blog with a summary of NCSS 2010 cause I can see that people are hitting this website a fair bit trying to download photos (I can also see the server failing). It’s also a good chance to procrastinate and not do study. So I thought I might break this post up into entries and do a sort of diary. I’m not much of a blogger.


  • Rice
  • The Final Countdown
  • James Curran James Curran James Curran
  • She’s in the mafia!
  • Double Facepalm!
  • Arbitary
  • Doubletap (in both the iPhone sense and the zombie sense)

Day 1:

So, I arrived at USyd a bit late cause dad couldn’t manage to get into Women’s College and park so we had to park a fair bit off and then I had to lug my stuff over to Women’s. Entering the dining hall there was quite a big line for registration. James did his usual thing with the guessing of names and we got all of our stuff including our NCSS ’10 shirts! James did the introduction thingy telling the parents what their children were about to do for the next 10 days and what they would get back after the 10 days and the all nighter.

An interesting development was the change for the web app groups. For the past few years, the web app groups have been programming a search engine in Python for a charity. Apparently this was getting too old hat and the tutors clearly needed a new challenge so this year there would be a new challenge! It was going to be a surprise but from the hints that were dropped, I sorta guessed that it was going to be a Web 2.0 app and most probably a social networking one at that.

We were also very quickly introduced to the game of Murder, an NCSS tradition where you have to “murder” someone by finding out who they are and saying “you’re dead” to them under certain conditions (I still don’t know what the murder website is, anyone?). Most unfortunately I was killed on the way to dinner by someone I met at registration and sat next to while this was being explained (Thanks Declan) so that wasn’t great luck on my behalf. We went outside and got to meet the rest of our group (Group One (won) is awesome) and did all those get to know each other type activities like the group knots with 13 people, wow.

Food! Dinner at Women’s was average. There was rice (and I was soon to find out, there will ALWAYS be rice) as well as an assortment of other foods. These small details don’t really lodge in my mind considering that I’m writing this 12 days after. Anyways, after dinner we commencing the team buidling challenge! Where we had to build the tallest tower out of newspaper that could support a certain object (the cover of the newspapers). That was certainly fun, especially trying to get the string out of the binding! Speaking of which, does anyone have a photo of the Group 1 tower? It wasn’t too unstable I don’t think, it survived James whacking it a few times so I call that a success. I think we came 4th overall but I like to think that we came 3rd cause the tower that came third collapsed and fell over and technically the winners cheated by using more materials than they were allocated!

Bed was at around 12pm though the damn heat kept me up a fair bit which was a tad irritating.

Day 2:

Day 2 started nice and early at 7am (thank god I had am alarm) and a quick shower before going off to breakfast. The toast line was far too long so I went for fruit (and if you’re wondering how I’m remembering all of this, I wrote the first few days down in my phone but then I got too tired and gave up so the rest of the days may be more vague). After breakfast, we all gathered on the lawns of Women’s for roll call and Zarbutza (weird spelling, I hope). We the followed fearless leader Tim to the School of IT while doing a tour of the campus at the same time as well.

First lecture with James was in the boardroom, it was pretty basic, designed to get everyone onto the same footing with an introduction to stuff like strings, lists, floats. That sort of thing. That took the best part of an hour after which we were off to the computer rooms to get logged onto our machines, passwords changed etc. We ended up getting kicked out to make room for anyother group so we had to use the general area, which was good in the end as it ensured we did not need to be forced out into the general area for the all nighter. So the way that we learnt how to use Python was to pull up the NCSS Challenge site and do the questions It think that they were the 2008 NCSS challenge questions. Most of them were pretty easy cause I’d already done some Python in the 2009 NCSS Challenge. After playing around with Python for a while, we headed out of SIT back to Women’s to have lunch in which consisted of rice (of course) as well as some other random food.

After lunch, we did the walk back to SIT a different way to see more of the campus. Another lecture about Python loops and that sort of thing. Once that was over, back to the labs to do more challenge questions, this was the basic routine of the next few days. Before we headed back for dinner, we were told that we had to make a video about one aspect of NCSS (Group 1 got NCSS Fashion) as well as a video of our fully working project (which we would find out soon). Apparently, groups were too tired after the all nighter to give a presentation so this year, it was decided that a video would be more appropriate. Anyways, we were given a lecture about how to take videos with the cameras that we were given (the Mino HD ones) and how to edit them in iMovie (yes, it is a POS program, but meh). So we walked back to Women’s for dinner (rice, yes) before getting ready for the night time activities…

… TRIVIA NIGHT! Woo! There are some good videos of the trivia night that the tutors took (hint hint: please upload them =]). It got pretty hectic towards the end and during some of the bonus activites. Some topics (ie: the ones I can remember) included:

  • Science and technology
  • Movies (the tutors somehow got every single one of these right, cheating much?)
  • Music
  • Literature
  • Geography/History
  • Acronyms (bonus round)
  • Pokemon challenge (bonus round)
  • Memorising pi (bonus round, sorry folks, I failed)

Trivia night finished around 9:30 with Group 1 coming 3rd I believe. If anybody has photos or videos, email me!

Trivie Night! Photo: Chris Ryba Facebook
Trivie Night! Photo: Chris Ryba Facebook

After trivia night we all headed to the common rooms for a very intense game of intense snap! Thanks to Shelley I think most of us came away with an injury of some sort. I think we also played like Bartog until early the next day when we all decided that it would be good to go to bed at 12:30

Day 3:

Day 3 began nice and early with breakfast at Women’s before we headed off to a Python lecture. This time we were in the Physics building.

MARCH EDIT: OK guys, I doubt that much more of this is going to be written after the initial hype. THis will have to do!

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