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:
THIS HARDWARE HAS A VIRUS WARNING
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.