On stupidity and arrogance

Today I encountered a laptop in use at a school I do contract support for that was so out of date it was still using Windows XP Service Pack 1. That means it was more than four years behind on patches.

It is not joined to the school’s managed network, so connects to the Internet at home where security is extremely lax. Automatic Updates was turned off. It was running Internet Explorer 6. The anti-virus was also 3 years out of date. The hard disk is so full of her home photos that it was impossible for me to install any updates until I had cleared off some unused programs, deleted every System Restore Point, and disabled the hibernation file.

How this machine has survived is beyond me.

The teacher it is assigned to refuses outright to have it connected to the school’s managed network. I’ve explained several times that this means her files are never backed up. She says she does her own backups. I say she’s a liar. Her main reason for not wanting it on the domain is that she apparently has a “large collection” of educational CDs that are so old and decrepit that they won’t run on a domain computer, and she can’t possibly do without them (because as a professional teacher earning more than I do, it is of course impossible to teach without outdated resource CDs). She runs them all under a local administrator account. However, she also claimed today that I had changed the administrator password since the last time she used it, and now can’t log in.

I’ve never worked on it before. The last time any technician even possibly touched this machine was more than a year and a half ago.

So all those critical resource CDs she can’t do without? She hasn’t used them in at least a year and a half. The head at the school in question knows full well that this machine isn’t properly managed, knows that all the work on it is never backed up, and knows that this teacher is a complete pain in the butt(as does every other member of staff in the school – and I suspect most of the students). This may explain why she also has no will to enforce the rules in this case and insist it goes on the network.

I patched the machine up, returned it, and started praying it will break soon to teach this moron a lesson. Teachers are often the most difficult people to teach, and some people only ever learn the hard way.

About The Angry Technician

The Angry Technician is an experienced IT professional in the UK education sector. Normally found in various states of annoyance on his blog. All views are those of his imaginary pet dog, Howard.

6 responses to “On stupidity and arrogance”

  1. p858snake says :

    Personally, if i was you, I would be (if the laptop is school owned):
    1. Telling her that it is policy and required that it be connected to the domain system and do it.
    3. If these “resource cd’s” are school owned/property telling her to hand them over because:
    a) They need cataloged into the record system
    b) Confirming their licensing system (Eg: if she can actually use them, for example if they were privately owned she might be breaking the law)
    c) Confirming if they do actually work on the Domain system (or not)
    4. Compromise and work something out if they infact do not work on the domain system
    5. Making sure all policy are enforced from there on in (eg: Making sure the system gets updates and ect and scheduled times and dates)

  2. Angry Technician says :

    I agree 100%, but since I only work at the school for one morning as week as a contractor, I don’t have the authority to enforce that, and the Head doesn’t want to because she is sick and tired of this teacher complaining so much.

    I get my orders from the Head, and I carry them out – otherwise, I don’t get paid.

    On the point of licensing, the CDs are all owned by the school. They aren’t interested in spending time cataloguing them, and my wife (a librarian) has recently done that exact sort of cataloguing at her job and has reliably informed me that I wouldn’t want to do it either!

  3. Gi says :

    There are two types of people in the world.

    Those that have lost data and those that are about to.

  4. Angry Technician says :

    I moved into the former camp during my university days, which is why I now have a Windows Home Server taking historical full-system backups of every computer in my house on a nightly basis.

  5. p858snake says :

    Oh, but “catalog” i just meant a simple spreadsheet/table in a word processor with details such as:
    * Title/Name
    * Version
    * License Type/No. of Licenses (eg: Network Wide/5)
    * Install Media (and location) (eg: CD/Network share)
    * Additional comments (eg: if it’s not network wide, where it’s installed)

  6. BM says :

    When I used to work at a college there was a tutor that refused to allow us to upgrade the version of Publisher she taught from 98 to XP because she would have to redo all of her course materials. We later found out she had been buying copies of Pub 98 from ebay to supply to her students.