I got a call from the front office today.
“My computer screen’s suddenly gone black and says ‘Entering Power Saving’ mode!”
I pop down expecting to have to plug in a loose VGA cable. Only there isn’t one. Everything seems normal, but the screen is off.
I wiggle the mouse, and the screen comes back on.
“We’re you… using the computer at the time?” I ventured. Like an idiot, I had simply assumed the user’s surprise was down to it happening mid-flow.
“No, I was doing this paperwork…”
It turns out that in the 18 months since I configured Power Management to turn the screen off after 35 minutes, the user had never been sat at the desk long enough without using the computer for it to kick in.
This week, due to a frankly hilarious error in communication, our Headmaster ran our weekly staff meeting in a different venue from normal with half the staff, while our Deputy Head ran our weekly staff meeting in the normal venue with the other half of the staff.
Each half openly wondered where the other half was.
Wired published an interesting article this week about the use of what they call ‘doppelgänger domains’ that collected email sent to misspellings of the domains of a number of large companies. The headline of their report?
The intercepted correspondence included employee usernames and passwords, sensitive security information about the configuration of corporate network architecture that would be useful to hackers, affidavits and other documents related to litigation in which the companies were embroiled, and trade secrets, such as contracts for business transactions.
“Twenty gigs of data is a lot of data in six months of really doing nothing,” said researcher Peter Kim from the Godai Group. “And nobody knows this is happening.”
The best part is that their 120,000-strong haul of misaddressed emails, over 6 months, came from only 30 dummy domains (though probably carefully-chosen ones).
This had never really occurred to me before, but I immediately got to thinking about the bad typists in my own school. I imagine you have at least as many in yours. These are people who routinely share passwords with one another, dismiss Data Protection as nothing but red tape, wouldn’t hesitate to put login details in an email, and have fatter fingers than the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
I then checked a few common typos of our school’s domain name. All the ones I picked were registered by typo squatters. I fired off some emails to headmaster@ for each one. 1 bounced. The others disappeared, possibly to a black hole, possibly to a catch-all. The point is, I have no way of knowing.
This is a problem.
If you need some files recovering from the backups, and I ask you which folder they were in, replying with “The Staff drive” is not especially helpful.
There are over 54,000 folders on the Staff drive, in a complex hierarchy that covers every area of the school. I know you only use 3 of those folders, but expecting me to somehow work out which 3 they are is practically expecting clairvoyance.
Love and kisses,
I think I’ve made it clear by now that I don’t approve of wasteful printing. It’s been school policy since before I worked here that any bulk printing goes to a copier, where the per-page cost is much lower. Stop acting so surprised when I actually enforce it.
Every pound we waste on printing is a pound we don’t spend on educating children. That’s why I’ve been logging all your printing for the last 6 months.
So, if you want to chance your luck with a sneaky 30-copy print?
In full-page colour?
And it’s for personal use, not school work?
Hoping I won’t notice it on the logs?
Be my guest.
But if I have to come and change a cartridge halfway through, start praying for help to whatever god you believe in. YOU’RE GOING TO NEED IT.
Love and kisses,
As of today, I have officially added SharePoint as only the second of two Microsoft technologies I want nothing to do with (the other being System Center Configuration Manager), both chiefly on the ground of being far too complicated for their own good.
I have long held the belief that only a sadist would run an on-premises SharePoint server, due to my previous experience with it usually resulting in far more work troubleshooting problems than the actual server was worth to me. I’ve never even run anything more complicated than a single standalone server, and I’ve had to look up more SharePoint error messages than possibly every other Microsoft product I’ve worked with combined.
“We’ve plugged the laptop in,” came the call from the exam room, “but it’s not letting us log in… we think there might be something wrong with the network port though…”
Normally I try to discourage too much technical self-diagnosis from my users, but in this case, they were not wrong. See if you can determine what’s the problem is with this network port though a simple observational test:
Answer: click here.
Now, I’ve tried to replicate this ‘fault’ through normal use, and it’s not easy. The question is which little snotbag managed to do this in a room that is normally only used under exam conditions…
Last term I designed a system to check the room bookings schedule and issue WoL commands to the IT labs so that they automatically turn on in time for classes when they arrive.
This week, I discovered that this system, a system designed for the express purpose of making teachers’ lives easier, has been faulty for the last 3 weeks.
I only was informed there was a problem on the first day of inspection, after a teacher mentioned how inconvenient it would be having to waste time at the start of a lesson that was being inspected.
It’s times like this that I wonder why I bother.
In general, staff have no concept of the fact that making their ‘own copy’ of files that are kept on shared drives is a total waste of space. It’s why they will quite happily send large attachments to a huge mailing list. Why they will happily keep hundreds of poorly focused photos they took on their personal ageing and decrepit camera (even though the department has a brand new one supplied by the school). And, like all the waste printing, it certainly never occurs to them that the money spent on additional storage is ultimately taking money away from a child’s education.
That’s why I love Single Instance Storage.
I ran an analysis on our main storage server today. There are a total of 193,306 duplicate files. By using SIS to eliminate the additional storage requirements of these duplicates, I have so far saved 87.5GB of space. This is approximately 7% of all the user data on that server.
If you’re not using SIS – think about it.