Even when they aren’t wetting themselves, vomiting due to Norovirus, or expelling more snot than Slimer from Ghostbusters, children are still disgusting, filthy, disease vectors. And their hands are all over the lab keyboards. We do some cleaning, but there’s a very fine line between effective disinfecting and destroying the keyboard.
That’s why I’m extremely tempted to kit our labs out with these:
Hopefully we can get the price down a bit lower than the £34.99 RRP.
Welcome back! Oh, you didn’t get a break for the summer holidays? Well, neither did I.
What I did instead was spend most of the first half of the summer trying to catch up on delayed install work because the construction company was late handing over our new building, and the second half of the summer wondering why nobody has decent stock control any more.
The link boasts of “standard 3 working day delivery”. In stock! Order now! So I did. Admittedly not the same day as that tweet, but not long after. And my EcoCart 20 still hasn’t sodding well arrived, because the delivery date has been changed three times due to what Bretford finally admitted today to be “issues with the manufacturing”. Apparently they have the 16 and 30 models in stock, but that’s not really much use to me right now.
Then there’s Dabs. I ordered an Acer machine from them to drive some digital signage, which is not something I’d normally do as I’m not fond of Acer kit, but it was cheap, the perfect size, and even comes with a mounting bracket. Unfortunately, when I ordered it, it had a 1-week lead time.
I was not even remotely shocked when the in-stock date came and went, only to be replaced with “Awaiting stock from supplier, delivery delayed”.
Ordering anything on Dabs that is not immediately in stock is practically the kiss of death, in my experience. Every single item I’ve ever ordered from Dabs that has not been in stock has ended up with the order being cancelled because the item gets discontinued. Stay tuned for what will be an unsurprising climax to this tale in about a week’s time.
This is the TTS Tuff-Cam 2. It takes rubbish photos and is seriously overpriced, but many Nursery and Reception teachers have an aversion to giving 3-4 year olds a cheap Canon camera that they are normally perfectly capable of using, so insist on these “child-friendly” monstrosities instead.
Against my better judgement, we bought one for our Nursery 6 months ago (and it will be the last one we ever buy). Occasionally, it goes on the blink and displays some or all of the following symptoms:
- Camera won’t turn on at all.
- Power LED appears to be stuck half-on.
- Windows displays “USB Device Not Recognized” when camera is plugged in.
- Other USB devices, such as the mouse, stop working completely a few seconds after the camera is plugged in, and start working again as soon as you unplug the camera (my personal favourite).
All of these have one simple cause: the camera is utter junk. Luckily, there is also a simple fix. Just stick a paperclip into this unmarked hole on the side for 5 seconds:
The camera will reset and probably start working again. At least, until the next full moon, or a butterfly flaps its wings near it, or something.
After removing a projector this week that had finally packed up after 8 years, I discovered the final resting place of a long-lost Allen key:
It was jammed into one of the adjustment bolts, and needed a percussive maintenance tool to remove it. Clearly the original installers didn’t have one with them.
I was summoned urgently to one of the admin offices to deal with a mysterious problem – every time the user clicked on a menu, it would open, then immediately vanish again.
I walked in, and lo and behold, she could demonstrate the problem perfectly.
“Look, I can click on Start, and it pops up for a second, then disappears! I can’t do any work!”
Restraining myself from commenting on how giddy she must be at actually having an excuse to be in her normal state of ‘not doing any work’, I quickly ascertained the cause of the problem. Leaning over the bomb site that passes for a desk in these parts, I gingerly lifted the pile of class registers off of the top-left corner of the keyboard, releasing the Esc key that was being held down and cancelling out of every menu.
If only they were all that easy…
Along with the near-certainty of personal injury and loss of fixings that comes with server racking, there is one absolutely immutable law of rack installation:
Any package of more than 8 cage nuts will include at least one that has no threading.
(and you won’t notice until you’re trying to put the final screw into the switch you’ve just racked up).
Recently I was informed that the DVD drive in our geography teacher’s computer had stopped working. Specifically, it had stopped reading DVDs and started making horrible clunking noises whenever a disc was inserted.
Our geography teacher is quite technology friendly, a trait I’ve noticed in a disproportionate number of geography teachers, so I had no reason to doubt him; even less so once I’d heard the noise for myself.
Assuming mechanical failure, I dutifully swapped the drive with that from the identical computer in the next room, confirming that the problem followed the drive in order to expedite the replacement process with Dell. It still made the horrible noise, but when opened the tray to confirm it still wouldn’t read a disc, this is what I saw:
Yes, this DVD drive had an acute case of “That Shouldn’t Be There”.
Like any self-respecting professional, I hate bodge jobs. I have two simple rules relating to bodging a job:
- Don’t bodge it.
- If you really have to bodge it, make sure you do a better bodge than the last bodger did.
Of course, different people have different ideas of what constitutes a bodge. Let’s establish a baseline:
This is a bodge. In fact, it is a monstrous bodge – and frankly, anyone who doesn’t agree can just stop reading and bugger off now. When I first spotted it in the cellar of our admin building last year, I was glad it was nothing to do with me or my network. Whoever did this needs to be savagely beaten with their own shoes.
Especially because last week, it became my problem.
Sitting in my darkened office at the moment, now in hour 5 of a power outage affecting half the site. The UPS batteries drained long ago, all servers cleanly shut down.
Teachers are slowly adjusting to having to take a lesson without their computers.
A few minutes ago the caretaker said he needed to find a 160A fuse (not a typo). He was amused by my offer to wire up a dozen 13A fuses in parallel, but declined.
All I can do is wait. I am literally and figuratively powerless.