Monday, September 8, 2014

Purgatory

When I was in college I took a class that allowed me to visit The Computer owned by my university.  In this class I also learned to make data punch cards and I was able to "play" Blackjack with The Computer.  I "played" in a room in the building where The Computer was housed, but the marvelous thing was that The Computer could actually be accessed from other places in the university, think of the possibilities!

I expected to live in a computer age someday.  Often and fondly were discussed the possibilities of things that could be done by computer, thus saving us all of the drudgery of daily life.  It seemed as though computers would make life easier and solve many of the problems encountered in life.

I remember the first personal computer we owned.  It was a Commodore 64.  I didn't really see the point of it.  Gradually as processes became more useful and easier I appreciated the word processing capabilities of computers, the games, and eventually the internet and social networking.  I have lived through several upgrades of processors and laptops.  In my job at school there seems to be nothing I can do that doesn't involve the computer.

The students too need to use computers for testing, for researching, for processing.  My district has provided laptops for these purposes.  The ones in my building are going on 8 years old.  These trusty old machines get turned off in May, to be revived in September for use.  The problem is--the computers are old and slow, the wireless connectivity is shaky at best, and there are updates that have accumulated over the summer that need to be run before these computers can be used at all.

So, in a fit of what can only be described as complete and utter insanity, I attempted to accomplish the updates.  I enlisted the help of my colleagues.  Even our wired internet connection was not working well over the weeks we were trying to accomplish this. This was a whole separate issue that slowed everything down. I personally updated too many computers to count.  I have concluded that working with old computers that have been used by middle school-ers for upwards of 7 years is an exercise that teaches patience and prayer.  It is an exercise in humility and service.  Running updates on over 300 laptops could be an activity reserved for purgatory.

I am sure that once the computers get going and remove themselves from my library and take wings and fly with the lessons and tests they were intended for, I will forget the torture they brought.  Still, I reflect on whether things were really so bad back in the day with one computer for an entire university.  It would certainly save time on the updates.  m

3 comments:

Julie Southern (Studio Sherwood) said...

I get pretty whiny over just updating a couple of computers. But I don't think I have ever had one that actually lasted eight years before, can't imagine what a task that must be.

Mary said...

Yesterday I finally sent those carts off to find homes in classrooms. Updates have come since we began the task, but maybe not so many that the computers fail to run.

Mary said...

Yesterday I finally sent those carts off to find homes in classrooms. Updates have come since we began the task, but maybe not so many that the computers fail to run.