Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Friday, 29 April 2011

I Am The Squeaky Wheel

I love my new school with a passion, with one outstanding exception: the computer network. In fact, I'm not sure it even deserves the name 'network'; that may be extending the system too great a compliment.

Let me give you an example.

In week 2 of term I acquired a virus on my office machine.
I have no idea where it came from; I do not trawl ill-advised sites whilst at work. It could have 'come in' on my flash drive but I had not had any problem with said flash drive at home (mind you, I am running a Mac at home *smirk smirk*)
I now had a virus.
It seems its sole purpose was to fill my buffer so that I was unable to connect with the internet. This meant that for about 8 minutes after I switched the computer on every morning, I had internet access, after which, the buffer filled, and I didn't. I could turn off the machine again, wait 5 minutes, turn it back on and get another 8 minutes of access...but really...who has time for that??? As a result, a whole bunch of things were curtailed. I have not been able to get on to the Mathletics site and check out what it has to offer the kids; I have not been able to get onto Study Ladder; I have not been able to book school facilities on the online booking site; I have not had access to our school data base which also seems to be somehow connected to the internet and I have not been able to easily book courses for my staff.

Picture the scene. I turn the computer on; I log on to the AISSA site; I click on events and scroll until I find the course I need; I enter the name, school, email address and dietary requirements of my course participants; I click through to 'confirm'; I hit 'submit' and.................my buffer is full. GRRRRRRRRRR

Of course I immediately reported the issue to our IT department back in week 2.
"Ah yes," he mused in slightly interested but completely unhurried manner,"A couple of the admin machines have the same virus."..........and????????? It appeared he did not know how to fix the problem. "Don't worry," he smiled cheerfully," We are going to re-image the computers in your area so that will get rid of the problem." Excellent. I'll look forward to that.

Week 8: I am talking to the Deputy Principal in charge of IT in the staff room. "What do you mean you don't have internet access?" he gawps at me. I explain the situation. His gaze hardens. "I'm sorry about this," he says,"I'll get it sorted for you."

The next day a young man arrives in my office with a CD and inserts it into my machine. "I'm re-imaging your machine," he says,"should fix your virus." It did. Later that night I came back in to work with a sense of excitement, to check out my new, faster, more efficient machine. I logged on. *Sigh* Beautiful. The Windows 7 interface came up smoothly and quickly. I logged on to my username and even that seemed to move quickly through to an active screen. Blisss! I looked for my email icon to give that a try. I looked for my email icon. Where the **** was my email icon?

I checked the 'all programs' list and found Microsoft Outlook. I clicked on it and got the familiar screed about configuring Outlook and selecting a server and and and....all of which I knew I could NOT do because of the network. OK. No email. I tried the internet. Surprise, surprise. None of that either.

I sucked it up and figured I would mention it to IT support in the morning and they would quickly point the machine in the direction of the server in minutes and all would be well. That, at least, was the plan.

When I spoke to IT Man at 8.15am he was all "Oh yea, I guess we forgot that one thing," without any indication of how quickly (or otherwise) it would be remedied. Fuming, I returned to my office to print out a workseet for the next lesson. At least I had that functionality.

You guessed it. Wrong again.

I pressed print and waited for my otherwise reliable machine to deliver. Nothing. I checked out 'printers and faxes' under the control menu and noticed that my printer was listed as an 'unspecified device'. Poor thing didn't even know it was a printer. Don't panic, I thought, 'll just add the printer. And so I went on to the 'add printer menu' and searched for my printer and .....guess what? Uh-huh. Not on the list.

So let me re-cap. The day before I had a machine which did not connect to the internet. Today I had a machine which did not connect to the internet, do email OR printing! At this point I considered loading my photo files into the machine and using it as a digital photoframe!!!!! My Arizaphalean good humour was reaching crisis point!

All that aside I still needed the worksheet, I had been trying to print, for my next lesson. I emerged from my office and tried the classroom computers. These are on a 'different' network and sometimes avoid the problems of the mainframe, although that means they also avoid the 'fixes'. I pressed 'print' just as my colleague called out "oh! there's no printer ink." *sigh*
"Of course not.....so where?"
"Oh actually, there's no cartridges in the school, we're waiting for a delivery this afternoon."


That's OK; I'll go down to the Junior Computer Lab just down the hall. I made my way down and saw that the room was full of little people all working busily on their machines.

I hailed the teacher. "Any machines I can use for a minute? I just need to print something out."
"Don't bother with all these," she indicated a number of blank looking machines," they're broken. And don't bother trying to log on!" she rolled her eyes and breathed what appeared to be flames," just use mine."

Gratefully I plugged in my flashdrive and called up my document. I pressed print and waited. Nothing. Not only was there nothing forthcoming from the printer, the whole interface had frozen. Frantically I 'control alt deleted' to try and exit the frozen 'Word' program. Nothing, nothing, nothing; all of a sudden we exited everything and were back at the login screen.
"noooooooooo," shrieked the benevolent teacher/helper, "It took me 10 minutes to log on!!!!!"

At this point I gave up on the Junior Lab and went to the Library. I found a free computer and just out of interest, I timed how long it took to go from entering my password, to getting an active cursor.
Two minutes thirty seconds.
Putting that aside, I pressed print, assuming the library printer would be the default printer for the library. How silly am I?

Nothing printed. I checked the 'add printer' list. Once more, the required machine was not on the list. The helpful Library assistant snorted with irritation when I asked her about this. "Come on and print it on mine," she snapped with impatience. We put my flash drive in and waited:


At this point I gave up.

I spent some 20 minutes after this, writing an epistle to the Head of IT and ccing it to the principal, Deputy Principal, Head of Everything that opens and shuts....and the IT tech guy. One of my points involved a calculation of my pay per minute and the amount of money it had cost the school for me to fail to print out ONE sheet of paper!!!!

Happily, techies appeared within 10 minutes of me pushing the 'send' button and I now have a functioning computer and printer.

Heaven help the rest of the school however.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Thermal Does Not Mean Hot

The BA prepares to enter the 27C waters of Yarrongobilly Thermal Pools in the Snowy Mountains. External air temperature was 15C. She was under the impression that 'thermal' meant 'hot'. Still, she was very brave, considering the algae and other pond growth! I took my bathers down there but confirmed my lack of interest with a quick finger in the pool. I am not a water baby at best of times :-)

I have lots of other lovely shots of our trip but I'll post when we're back and I have access to my imac and adsl2 wireless connectivity! This laptop, mobile phone combo is very brontosaurus like :-D

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Small Boy Does Sports Day

You know how it goes. It's 7.30am on Sports Day and the smallest member of the household (he stayed over for the week) is all kitted up in his team colours and begging you to spray red hair dye in his hair. Then it's all, 'Take my picture, take my picture!'

He's wearing a red cape, red shorts and T shirt and his step sister's red stripy sunglasses.

But I'm having trouble with the early morning light. I use a flash; I don't use a flash. I ask him to get in close; I ask him to back up and strike a pose. Pretty soon this:

has turned into this.

And then this:
I don't think he's got a future in modeling ahead of him :-)........

A Tattooed Baby Angel

The latest craze amongst the teen youth, is henna tattoos! The BA came back from her end of term drama party, sporting this!

Now I had heard of these being done on o/s visits to India and other exotic Asian ports, but I didn't realise you could buy the stuff for home use, in a purpose built tube, somewhat like writing icing.

I was impressed when she added to it herself, as she is not known for her fine motor dexterity, but Himself says it looks like gravel rash from a distance. I rather wondered what they'd say at work when she turned up to serve customers with this dermal graffiti; but apparently it is no biggie and after all, it's not permanent so what's the big deal mum????

No big deal I guess. As I said, at least it's not permanent. Have I mentioned before how I feel about tattoos?

The Eighth Plague

Do I start with the plague or with the ruthless killer?
Himself always says that if you take a ruthless killing machine and put a bell on it, all you get is a ruthless killing machine, wearing a bell.
Exhibit A.Although she is the smallest of three felines, she is definitely the hunter. Caution is advised when stepping out of the bedroom in the mornings as there is often a 'gift' deposited somewhere in the hall. Geckos are a frequent choice, but over the summer there was a steady stream of mice and bogong moths culminating in what appeared to be a rat a week or so ago...*shudder*; normally the bastion of good sense and pragmatism, I had to get No2 Son to remove that one.

We have had birds, but mostly live. I'm not sure if this is better. One morning I stepped into the study to find a large New England Honeyeater, 'toes-up' on the floor, with Morticia sitting expectantly nearby. I guess her continued presence should have been a clue. Returning with a brush and dustpan I did a double take at the now empty floor and then, following the excited mews of Countess Bathory, looked up to see the 'victim' perched on top of the bookshelf. A wild pursuit followed, finished by the reliable 'tea towel over the bird' trick, after which the unfortunate creature was tossed off the balcony and alighted in the nearest tree to consider its good fortune.

Anyway, I digress; The Plague. the wet spring and mild summer resulted in a boom in the number of locusts mating and breeding in the south east of Australia.

Measures were put in place to spray the larvae before they got to a point where they could fly, and thus 80% of the plague was prevented before it could reach the fertile farming communities, the land groaning under the weight of the best potential harvest in years after the break in the drought. This didn't stop a significant number making it to the city. Back in March I sat in a conference room and watched the little devils drop out of the air conditioning ducts onto the tables in front of us. Not nice.

The locusts I'd seen in plague proportions at the pub one night, were brown and unremarkable. Imagine my surprise to find this fellowin my kitchen the other morning. He is, as my father would say, 'magnificent' is he not? He seemed to have escaped the clutches of the 'Black Widow' although he was pretty subdued and eventually disappeared on top of the kitchen cupboards, never to be seen again. He looks huge here but was actually only about 7cm long.

Unlike this monster.

Here is a scale photo taken by the BA (love those sandals!)

Disturbingly, when we got back from church he was gone. Now I don't know whether that was under his own steam, given his fairly sorry looking state when we found him, or whether he was devoured. I try not to think of it. Either way, that little black cat has a pretty dark side to her!

Image credit 1

Monday, 11 April 2011

Speed: Shout Out To Himself

Oh My! You know how Himself is a mad keen sailor and all that, and you know he even took me out on his boat a few times? Well, he has recently been filming some footage for the NS14 Association website; the top two NS14 sailors in Australia (and thus the world as they are an Australian class) put their boats through some paces up at Coff's Harbour a few weeks ago, and Himself was there, with the latest 'state of the art' Sports Video equipment, to capture some action.

Get the speed of these things! No camera tricks!

Even I have to admit that I wish I knew how to sail one of these things like this!

Suffice to say, Himself is now spending every waking (and most of what ought to be his sleeping) moment, editing footage for use on the NS14 website.

But I have managed to talk him into going away with me on a trip to the Snowy Mountains for my friends 50th birthday. Oh yes! A holiday! An out of the state holiday!!!!
How excitement!!! (sorry, that's Effie again)