Is this any way to run an airline? To be more precise, is this any way to run an IT department? Last week, the folks downtown at the concrete bunker known as the district office decided to send out a network command to delete student accounts. The intent was to eliminate student accounts on administrator's machines. It was a nice notion for housekeeping purposes, as it is the end of the year and all those saved links for Cartoon Network and forgotten attempts at essays describing the Industrial Revolution probably should go away to be re-imagined next year. But here's the rub: School is still in session, and they didn't isolate the computers that the wanted to affect. They just made a great big network command that made all everything go all wonky.
That's a technical term. I don't expect everyone to understand, but it's sort of like gishy, or gontflondernootz. Those of us who had business with computers, which is just about everybody at some point in the day, ran into some version of this aggressive bit of housecleaning. I live in a computer lab, and while I was able to keep things up and running for the most part, I had a number of perplexed kindergarteners who were unsure how to proceed when they were suddenly confronted with error messages and interrupted their progress making pictures of underwater scenes. "What's this, Mister Caven?"
I didn't have an answer, and like any good system administrator, I immediately assumed the problem was on my end and set about attempting to make sense of things on my end. Once I got the kids settled back into their comfort zone, headphones on, mice swirling and clicking. None of them were aware of the potential tragedy that awaited them at the end of the class: There would be no printing. Somehow the network zap had eliminated our ability to send our pictures to the printer. "I'll save them and try to print them later," I promised.
Alas, at the end of the day, there was no solution to the problem, and I had to go on with my routine. I don't know what will become of all those pictures of starfish and sharks and squids and crabs. They will probably be lost in the memory wipe that never should have touched them. At least they won't ever underestimate the magic of crayons again.