Thursday, September 23, 2010

The IT Department Liveth

and must fucking die now.

Recently, the campus lost power. Who knows why? Squirrel on the power line. Transmission lines worthy of a Honduran electrical grid. Wind gusts over 40 mph. Sure. Any of these reasons are possible and, more important, believable.

The power loss brought down all servers. An hour later, power returned to the buildings but not the servers. Three hours later, an e-mail note from the IT department let the campus know that the e-mail server was now working. I wish I could make up that part. They are truly fucking dolts.

Six hours after the power loss, the IT department sent out a second e-mail notice that certain servers were back on line but the precious Blackboard remained unavailable.

At some point in the night, the Blackboard bullies' cries were heard as the server was returned. Thus, the IT department wrote, all servers were back online and fully operational.

Except, they weren't.

In the morning, two students sent me an e-mail that the server that hosted all campus blogs was not functional. Hence, none of my students could access anything related to my course because I use the blog software as my course management software. I quickly set up a work-around (yes, I know how to write my own HTML code and javascript).

Those fuckers in IT had not figured out that all servers are not fully functional. I submitted a complaint through the IT department, which was promptly ignored. I left a message for the misnomered Help Desk, who never returned my call. I contacted an IT fuck through some social media network tool. My bleet was never heard.

Thirty-six hours into this issue, not one single fuck has bothered to say how much longer the outage will last.

Well, fuck you, you dolts. I am taking the advice from my earlier post and am exploring an off-campus alternative. I know nothing about setting up my own server box, but I am going to learn.

Yes, I am going to include this activity in the service portion of my tenure packet. I want those shiftless deans to know how fucking incompetent and worthless their IT department really is. Do not ever tell me how understaffed and overworked the fucking IT department remains, as one shiftless dean said to a faculty audience. I have never laughed so fucking hard in my life at that joke.

Wait. The dean was not joking? I am not joking when I say the IT department has gotten one less chance to fuck me and my students.

If she's taking requests, then I am asking for the IT Blues.


  1. I run all of my stuff from my own website - no blackboard, no vista. I have an email account linked to my page. I pay for it, but I control it. All I really need from IT is classroom connectivity and working projectors.

  2. We've lost power in our area four times already today. This not only knocks out the computers, but it kills the AC. Since the temperature is 114 degrees, it means it is too hot to be outside and too hot to stay inside the hermetically sealed buildings.
    Our version of IT is KBR. Think even higher-paid IT people who do even less.

  3. The IT support in my first teaching gig was mostly undergrad workstudies. It was, quite honestly, hell. I was told to submit my syllabus to them so they'd know what days they needed to have what software working so I did.

    I still have no idea what went wrong, only that I somehow offended them by sending them my syllabus (which I had been asked to do). After being chewed out by their supervisor (in front of my class) I was told that they didn't have to and wouldn't do the work if I wasn't nicer. I had rarely spoken to these people and when I did it was just a big smile and "hey how you doin'?" which has worked everywhere else I've ever been--so I have no idea what was expected.

    What I do know is that software I needed for the class I was teaching was mysteriously absent (entirely) from the server on days I needed it. The Flash player was never installed on any of the computers. Once, windows was updated the night before my class ran and it simply didn't work.

    I later was told that I should have been bringing them baked goods often and some guy I had dated was friends with their supervisor--but it still left a sour taste in my mouth for the whole place. I'm desperately sorry that I expect you to do your job. Sheesh.

    IT here though is wonderful wonderful wonderful. I can't believe who wonderful they are. The are what makes my job possible most days, and I can't thank them enough!

  4. Cerberus, if you have any suggestions or how to manuals, then please pass them along. I think this route is the only route to go especially if I can leave for someplace else. Much easier to take my intellectual property with me.

    My Little Proffie, if it weren't for my course management sites, then I would have no interaction from IT. The only software I use in my courses is used (thankfully) by about 10 other faculty members, all of whom have tenure. No way the IT department fucks that many tenure folks.

    They are dolts but not stupid.

    BTW, 51 hours after the server went down, it was back.

  5. Our email servers were down (and up, and down and up) regularly for the past MONTH. And the stupid freaking IT people kept sending out emails to say "Apologies, but email is down currently". Then we'd receive seven emails about the email status all at once after the servers came back up.

    At one point they sent out an email telling us the servers were down and please to inform all our students of this.

    HOW exactly were we supposed to do that without email??


  6. textpat

    You can build your own web page from scratch. I use Word as a simple base app. You'll need to create a folder on your computer. Then, write a cover sheet in word, save it as index.htm . You'll update the index page as you grow your content. As an example, write your basic course information on the index page - instructor profiles, a list of courses supported, etc. I have a main index, and then write a new index file for each term, linking back to the main index.

    For example, my main index page (index.htm) gives a set of links, including a link to my Fall 2010 content. Specifically, I write an index page for Fall 2010, and save it, as, say, indexFall2010.htm. I then write a brief sentence in the main index page, highlight the phrase, and then insert a hyperlink to the Fall 2010 page. In MS Word, you can highlight the sentence and then use ctrl K to browse/select your link.

    So, write your content one file at a time, saving all of it as *.htm files in the same directory. You can also use other formats like Excel or PowerPoint,but it's good to have your base content browser friendly.

  7. Continuing...

    Basic example

    Write your content and save it: Instructor.htm, Policies.htm, Calendar.htm,

    Write your index.htm file, with brief phrases or sentence fragments describing each file above. Highlight the phrase describing the instructor section - it could
    be as simple as "Instructor Profile", or "About the Instructor", then use ctrl k to insert a link. Browse and locate the instructor.htm file, then complete the link.

    Continue until all of your content is written, saved and linked.

    You can actually use this structure to organize your content locally, but you"ll need an ISP/webhost. I use Earthlink, but go way back to when it was Mindspring. Open an account, and get your account information, inculding your URL and FTP details. You'll need an app to handle your file transfers - FileZilla rocks, and is free.

  8. Continuing

    For now, practice hyperlinks by building a local content folder: create a folder on your PC, and write the files for a simple page, saving everything to the same folder. Begin with writing index.htm, then write the other files. For each other file, write a corresponding blurb in index.htm, and insert a hyperlink into each blurb for eac corresponding file: CV.htm links to index.htm through "About the Instructor", Dates.htm links to index.htm through "Important Dates", and so on.

    You can support other formats like *.xls, *.PDF, *.doc, *.ppt and the like by linking to them via insert link or ctrl k, but the end user's results depends onthe setup at their end.

    Elizabeth Castro is a goddess in these things, and her guides on building web pages are useful, detailed and explicit.


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