We're also looking for the 'any' key.

Posted by September Blue Saturday, 8 March 2008

Someone phoned my colleague at the IT helpdesk to express arm-flailing panic and general annoyance over the fact that none of the computers in her computer lab were working! None! None at all! She'd tried every single one, and she didn't have time to leave the Arts building she was working in to find another lab, and wasn't there anything they could do?

Some moderate concern over this at the helpdesk. The technicians who can placate the network demons are difficult to track down at weekends, and while it didn't look like there was a problem anywhere else, this one could affect a whole building. Or a whole lab, at least. The computers in that lab are switched off via an automatic shutdown signal at weekends, if they've been sitting logged off for a certain number of hours. Maybe the shutdown signal had somehow closed them out of the network?

Or maybe the problem lay in the words 'shutdown signal.'

"Forgive me for asking the obvious," my colleague says, "but did you try turning the computer on?"



"How do I do that?"

We are all very professional over here at Library and Information Services Headquarters, which is why my colleague kept a straight face and explained how to switch on a computer while agreeing with the (still angry) caller that yes, yes, there probably should be instructions for that posted somewhere in the lab, and no, of course she couldn't have been expected to know how to fix this problem. And then he put the phone down and strolled over to mock me, your friendly lending desk minion, for the general technophobic idiocy of the Arts & Humanities world in general.

I feel like I should defend my discipline, but honestly, discipline. Sometimes you make this difficult.


  1. Autumn Song Says:
  2. Oh dear. I wish I could help with the defense of the discipline, but sadly, no....

  3. Anonymous Says:
  4. Discipline? Did someone say discipline?