Monday, September 6, 2010

A Little Labor Day Technosnark

For the second time in two weekends, our IT department managed to screw up the faculty/staff webserver on the last day of the weekend. Last Sunday it was just dead as the proverbial doornail until sometime after 11 p.m. Today all pages are showing lots of highly technical gibberish at the top of the page, and dying with a "Fatal Error" at the bottom of the page. I can decipher the gibberish enough to know that a) it's a sitewide database error and b) someone REALLY fucked up on this one. So far I've only had one message about it from a student, but the day is still young.

Since I teach computer science, EVERYTHING we use (except the textbook) is on the website (I refuse to use that abomination known as BlackBoard/WebCT). A web server outage is not trivial. I reported it to the Service Desk, complete with a screenshot of the main faculty/staff webpage showing it in all its glory; however the Service Desk status message says they are closed for the holiday weekend! Ooopsie.

So my snarkitude got the better of me.

I posted the screenshot in all it's glorious FAIL on Facebook. And Twitter. I tried to post it on my college blog but with the server error it won't post (but there's always later). It will also make a marvelous teaching moment for my programming classes this week, as I use it to explain why software really should be tested before releasing, or turning in.

Making (Mike's Hard) Lemonade from my lemons...


  1. If I had the device on-hand, I'd send most IT Support folks straight to The Phantom Zone.

    While not as problematic as SGC's issue, but still a pain, was the implementation around the first day of class of the main web page and links. Most of the top half was consumed by a horrible do-nothing graphic. At home, my monitor can display most (maybe 3/4's) of the home page, but the university's locked down PCs have lower res so the big block of text overwhelms the display!!!

    [And... I'd bet that the web coders have huge high-res displays and they don't see the problem.]

    And... stuff has been moved around in seemingly random order (no alphabetization with categories). I've complained, but no response. Time to contact the Asst Director of IT.

    The kicker was a year or so ago when I was showing some library resources for an evening class. Between 4:00 PM and the start of class, the IT folks had moved all of the links. ON THE FIRST DAY OF CLASSES.

    On 2nd thought: The Phantom Zone would be too light a punishment.

  2. Update: 8 hours since I reported the problem. No change. No surprise.

  3. And you really thought there wouuld be? Sigh. Gotta love the eedjits.


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