Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Courses for horses

I have been practicing the technique of sleeping with my eyes open while attending a safety course. Some of the presentations were among the worst I have ever witnessed. One of the talks consisted of 66 text filled slides, that were read out by the lecturer over the course of an hour. Another talk consisted of the lecturer zooming through a rather colourful powerpoint presentation while telling us "its all written in the handouts". Unfortunately the attractive blue stripey design of the slides rendered the handouts illegible. Arghhh! The audience were a motley crew too and included some rather pale denizens of the deep. It is ironic that the courses that are the most important ie could save your life, are the ones that have the least inspiring teachers. Well, apart from lectures on fire safety. These are usually given by middle-aged men, usually ex-firemen, who deliver a collection of unforgettable and rather grisly anecdotes. However at least we all remember the correct way to check whether there is a fire on the other side of a closed fire door. We also learnt how to correctly identify fire extinguishers containing foam, however this was knowledge I had retained from my extra-curricular student activities!

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Fiddlers elbow

It's been a couple of weeks since I have felt the urge to write, but I needed to document my latest time-wasting escapades.

I persuaded the HOD (yes he who is stepping down) to splash out on a new communal computer for the student office. He agreed, providing that I got the best quote, and set the computer up. "Fine" I thought, it shouldn't take longer than an hour. After all Macs are supposed to be easy to set up. All I needed was to fill out a couple of forms; one for software, and one to get the computer connected to the network, then pop over to the computing centre.

Today after a mindnumbing 6 hours, I finally did it. I won't go into the tedious detail, but briefly (or not as the case may be) this task required 5 trips to the computer centre, 4 phone calls, talking to 2 different computer assistants, 4 forms, removal of 3 shelving brackets (the computer didn't fit!, 4 signatures, 4 CDs and a partridge in a pear tree.

Experiments performed - zero.
Grants written- zero.
Papers read- zero.
Lectures prepared- zero.
Emails read- 10
Emails written - 4
Swear words- n where n is a number between 20 and 100.

The reward for my endeavour? One of the students told it was fantastic that they could play songs from someone else's Itunes library! A former boss told me that buying someone a computer never made them more productive. I am turning into that man.

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