Friday, April 27, 2012

And So I Finally Did It...

Die IT Die!

While, I'm grateful that IT has not ripped apart my classroom this semester, our Tutoring center seems to have experienced the brunt of their incompetence.

They fuck everything up, even the Loaner Laptop option.  I've needed a loaner laptop on a few occasions.  The first time, they handed me a laptop and told me it was ready to use.  I then took it home to discover that it would not let me log-in.  So I took the thing back only to be told, "Well, you have to plug it into the ethernet first...".  The second occasion, they handed me a laptop and I asked them if everything was ready to go.  Of course, they said yes.  Again, I took it home but only to discover that it hadn't been imaged.  Fuck the loaner laptops.  I'll do without.

It began when somebody decided to have IT re-image our student laptops. You see, our students can check out laptops from the Tutoring Center as long as they do not leave the room with them. 

About half of a semester later, IT was still sitting on them without having touched them at all.  Our Lead Tutor had to contact Ms. Tutoring Supervisor (T.S.) to get things moving.  Within days, IT had our laptops returned to us.  We celebrated, thinking that we had fresh re-imaged laptops ready to go.  WRONG!

However, it soon became apparent that they messed up the laptops.  Since the return of the laptops, they have been shutting down for updates every 20 minutes.  Unfortunately, there is no option for over-riding this, and there is no warning either.  It just restarts.

...and we'll keep on trying 'till we run out of cake
So, I had a chat with the Lead Tutor about what whether we were going to do anything about this.  His response essentially was that he was fed up with IT and that we would just have to make do.  So, I asked him if he had spoke to T.S about any of this.  He adamantly replied, "Of course not!"

The icing on the cake occurred the other day when I was using a laptop to select homework problems on our Web-Based-Thingy.  Twenty minutes later, the laptop resets without warning.  I had to reselect the problems all over again.

Looking around the room, I kept noticing that the students were having the same problem as well.  Although their homework is saved each time they submit an answer to a problem, what a waste of time it is to have to wait for the computer to reboot and then re-log in to the Web-Based-Thingy.

This isn't right.  Something must be done about this.  Our Lead-Tutor is burnt out over the situation.  Time to grab the bull by the horns.

I complained to T.S. and the Dean.  That's right.  I finally did it.

I fired off the following email:

    To:  T.S.
    CC:  Dean
    Subject:  concerns about laptops

    Hi T.S.!

       As you are probably already aware, the situation with the laptops in our tutoring center has been a bit of a circus this semester.  As I recall it took half of a semester for IT to do this and we had to get you involved in order to get the laptops back.

As soon as the laptops were returned, we began experiencing an odd problem with them.  Now, many of them update every 20 minutes without even giving the option to postpone the update, and there is often no warning either.

As a faculty member, I make use of the laptops for email and the Web-Based-Thingy.  It is very frustrating when the laptop updates without warning when I am in the middle of selecting problems for my students and I have to pick the problems all over again!  Therefore, this is how the problem has been brought to my attention.

It is a great pleasure and honor to work for a learning centered college.  I can only imagine what the frustration must be like for the students who use the laptops as well.  I understand that I have the option to use the computers in the library or elsewhere.  However, I am concerned that this is likely a disruption to the students' learning.

As I understand, the laptops are there to help the students be successful.  If they are not functioning like they are supposed to, then we have defeated that purpose. 

Very Truly Yours,


I then spoke with the Dean face-to-face.  He said that the problem sounded like a quick fix and let's see if we can get this resolved right away.

I received the following reply the next day: 

    From:  T.S.

Thank you for your e-mail, we will be working on the problems. Hope the rest of the semester goes better.  


I saw IT rummaging through our laptop cart that day.  Maybe a sign of some productivity?  I'll have to wait and see.

EMH out.


  1. That's incompetent, but typical. I stopped using loaner computers from IT b/c something was always wrong, and yet they assured me it was user error.

    (1)The fact that the login was set to ONLY the director of IT is not user error;
    (2) The fact that the next computer's screen flopped over backwards is not user error;
    (3) The fact that the third laptop did not have anything loaded (as in no operating system, whatsoever), is not user error.

    And then I stopped with the loaners... Now I just take my home laptop to work.

    So laptops aside, I've been wondering what became of the bike...

    1. The bike is fixed... for now. It's extremely dry where I'm at. The cost of tubes, slime, rims, taxi-rides, etc. have not been very nice to my budget this semester.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I just saw our IT guy grabbing another laptop.

  3. So.... I got my personal contract promised laptop from IT several months late. Fine. Whatever.
    What wasn't fine is that it is a mac and requires an admin password to do pretty much everything like install the software that came packaged with the laptop but hadn't been put on. They set the password and told me that I should come down to the Help Desk to have them enter the password every time I needed to install something or change a setting.
    Um....? No.
    So I did it. I hacked it. I looked it up online and found a way to go in and change the bloody thing. I changed it to something not so nice.
    The only hiccup in this grand plan was when I actually needed help and they wanted to log in remotely and couldn't and I couldn't very well tell them what the password was now...... Oops.

    1. I have also done this on campus computers. It's not difficult to do and makes life so much easier.

  4. You realize, of course, that the mantra of IT is, "If it's not broke, update it."

    What you were witnessing were Mary Poppins laptops; they were Practically Perfect in Every Way. Now that you've disrupted perfection you'll have more problems.


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