Thursday, October 7, 2010

What's Up with Our IT People?

What I dislike about the IT department at my university is that it never takes care of things that don't work but instead messes with stuff that does work, destroying it in the process. I haven't been able to get them to make sure I have a working computer for the third semester in a row. An IT person comes to my office, looks at the computer, says "Huh. . ." in a pensive manner and then disappears for a month.

One thing that always worked great was our university e-mail system. Until, that is, the IT people decided to change the interface because obviously they have nothing better to do with their time. Since then, I can only access university e-mail about 7 times out of 10. The interface is clunky, overbusy and hard to manage compared to the one we had before. It also takes forever to load.

I also discovered today that I don't receive all of my e-mail. Which is very annoying news for somebody who is awaiting decision on 3 articles she submitted for publication. There is this journal that promised to have an answer for me before July 4. And probably they did but I never got their e-mail. This is beyond annoying.


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, IT departments also tend to suffer the same infection of business school graduates as does university administration.

I've learned that when someone with no IT experience takes over the IT department, you might as well quit.


CLWaller said...

I know I sound way too picky and overcritical, but.....then again, that's what nerd geeks are. IT covers a whole range of activities, like keeping internet access going, and servers running and the lot. And yes, desktop/user support tends to be the first (and many time last) stop in the department and so yes, you may actually know a great deal more about your configuration/system/tools than the Nerd Herd guy who shows up, please don't knock the whole IT department.
(but woe be to anyone who changes anyone's user interface - probably enhanced security, beefed up spam filters, and in general slowed the whole thing down)

And Anon is right, when a non-geek person takes over running the whole IT area, well, then you get the 'opportunity' to enhance your own computer skills ;-)

your reader el said...

Can you not:
1) create your own g-mail account
2) give it to the people deciding on the articles, etc.
3) change your university e-mail definitions thus that all mail will be forwarded immediately to your "real", good mail

Or, at least, the third? May be it will help.

RE troll: could s/he be one of your administrators or their relative? That would explain the attention. :)

Unconnected 1: Have you read Terry Pratchett? I enjoy his sense of humor and his writing style is truly one of a kind.

Unconnected 2: If it's not difficult, you taught Jane Austen and I have been wondering for a while about something. After school, when my English became good enough, I started discovering English classics – Orwell, Austin, Gaskell, Eliot, etc. Austin's style of writing seemed unique to me and I even read lots of her works not because of feeling interested in characters themselves (the shame, I know), but due to her style alone. Is it truly unique or was the style shared by her contemporaries? I hope you understood me. When I opened her books, the English seemed so different, unlike any other book I read, and I read not a little, relatively.

Clarissa said...

CLWaller: my main beef with the IT department is that they have an obligation (as per the contract I signed with the university) to give me a new computer. Which was supposed to happen 14 months ago. But they do what they can to avoid honoring the university's obligation, which results in all these problems.

Clarissa said...

el: I do have a gmail account. However, when submitting articles for publication, it looks much better to send them from a university e-mail (that ends in .edu). Otherwise the editors have no way of knowing whether I'm affiliated with an educational institution or not. People who are not, don't have a chance to get published.

Clarissa said...

I agree that Jane Austen is like nobody else. This is a writer whose talent is so far ahead of her times. Have you read her sisters' novels? "Wuthering Heights", "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall"? I like them less than Charlotte's work, but they are still very good.

CLWaller said...

Re: no new computer. You are right. That is just plain bad. And I'm pretty sure you are not getting any straight answers - like they don't have any or won't/can't spend the budget to buy one (or worse, will buy something completely unsatisfactory).
I'm guessing no penalties on their behalf (but several implied ones on yours if you put a non-standard/unsupported device on the network).
I'm sure you've tried asking what the $ amount would be and offering to buy it for them with them expensing it.
I wish I had good suggestions.

As for the 'upgraded' email, just going through the same with my 'refreshed' computer. I would suggest perhaps asking around if there was a user study done on the new system, find out who did it. Also is there some type of feedback loop you can rally the troops to (I'm sure many people are faced with the same issue) via Yammer or some other inhouse bulletin board system just to see if you can get some traction (I know, way too much effort to fix something that should have never been broken - but perhaps there is someone else even more angry who could lead it, maybe all you need to do is start a ball rolling?)

Good luck.

el said...

I agree that Jane Austen is like nobody else... Have you read her sisters' novels? "Wuthering Heights", "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall"? I like them less than Charlotte's work, but they are still very good.

Yes, I have, and liked "Agnes Grey" & "The Tenant..." more than "Wuthering Heights".

You got confused between Austen and Bronte sisters.

el said...

I agree that Jane Austen is like nobody else. This is a writer whose talent is so far ahead of her times.

The question was whether other writers of the period wrote in the similar style, even if worse. There are many talented writers, yet they use English in a different way.

If we're in the area of books' recs, I'll mention: "An Autobiography" by Agatha Christie, "The Courilof Affair" by Irene Nemirovsky, "Boy. Tales of Childhood" & "Going Solo" by Roald Dahl. You've probably read all of them, but if you missed any, I can tell why they're great. :)

If you wanted to try Terry Pratchett, I would rec "Jingo".

Something new has come up between the ancient rival cities of Ankh-Morpork and Al-Khali. Literally. An island, rising out of Discworld's circular sea.
Since it's uninhabited and claimed by both cities, Commander Vimes and his faithful trolls and cops are forced to deal with a crime so awful that there's no law against it. It's called "war."

You haven't published a list of your old favorites, right?

Clarissa said...

That's funny. :-) :-) I see Jane Austen, and I read Charlotte Bronte. It must be because I like her so much.

As for Jane Austen, there are a few writers who write in a similar way, at least in my opinion. Fanny Burney's "Evelina" is usually enjoyed by everybody who likes Austen. I would also recommend Richardson's "Clarissa." It's extremely long, though, but very good.

Pagan Topologist said...

Maybe I need to read something by Jane Austin. Her books were not in my home when I was a child, and my favorite college English professor ridiculed her for never writing scenes with all male characters, among other things. So, I have never read anything by her.

Was the ridicule of her that I encountered typical of U. S. literary opinion fifty years ago?