Computer Lab Stays Mum!

It’s been a month and a half and an email sent on a public invitation for feedback by the IT Manager has yet to receive a due reply. Quack! found out the the IT Team thought the email unwarranted, and thus did not require any acknowledgement or reply. Also, they are too busy. Thus, we decided to reply on their behalf.

Question: Why does Windows invite me on a product tour every time I log in? Why are “language tools” enabled all the time and using up valuable computing resources? Why does MS Office require me to enter my name every time I open it? Why does your num-lock key not default to its default behavior of “on”? Can’t you put a link to my Z: drive on my desktop?

Answer: We, the people at the TIP Computer Lab, representing the IT department, are simply too unable to come up with a proper strategy to manage computing resources. We are afraid that if we fix all the things in the question above, it will give students extra computing privileges which we don not desire them to have. Also, these extra privileges will result in malicious use of our precious computing resources, making it harder to manage the system. We also do not understand how other computer labs, the world over and in Pakistan, in universities and businesses, manage to fix all that is asked in the first question – and still their systems function effectively. We want to make life easier for ourselves so we will not do what is the norm elsewhere.

Question: Do you really enjoy it when students come up to the window and say: “Print please, print dijiye,” and you smartly respond by asking where, to be met with the even smarter reply “Two thousand and three, Zero Six Eight Nine, folder Akhaq, subfolder TEXT 176 Textile Science, file Assignment No2.DOC, print pages three and seven.”

Answer: No, this one we really hate. It creates a lot of trouble for us. We talked to the Accounts Department to consider tying up students printouts with their fees, but they don’t want to do that. For us, its very easy to keep an automatic track of number of pages printed by each student (according to their login id). This is a general administrative problem, we’ve provided a solution, its up to them to fix it.

Question: Why is your internet connection such rubbish?

Answer: Mostly because our service provider is such rubbish. They can never get the antenna alignment right, resulting in less bandwidth than we’ve paid for. Unshielded power lines, unregulated frequency, breakage in line of sight are also problems. Often, the service breaks down at their end. We usually end up tearing up our hair. We would consider getting a better provider, but in a system where we generally go for the cheapest service, one has to live with these issues. We do inform on the faculty mailing list about internet issues, but we don’t think its important to communicate these to the students.