Reply to post: TROPPUS TI

Computer says: Stop using MacWrite II, human!

To Mars in Man Bras!


I do feel the pain of you commentards in IT Support, who often write here about your experiences with dumb end-users. But please spare a thought for the other end of the stick; the end users at the mercy of dumb IT departments.

At a college [in NW England] I worked in up until quite recently, the IT dept. set up a similar thing on our OSX design machines. I can't remember the name of the software used, but obviously a great-great-grandchild of your RevRDist.

All very well except that, as well as restoring the `Applications` folder from a central image every night, the eejits had also configured it to restore the` /Library` and `~/Library` folders as well [which on OSX contain the system and user preferences].

That in itself mightn't have been t-o-o-o-o bad had, were it not for the fact that the central image from which everything was being restored had not been configured properly [or at all!]. So every morning, all user preferences had reset to using US Spellcheckers, US time for the clocks and [best of all!] US Letter, instead of A4 for the printers.

Given that the department was full of expensive Laser Printers which basically jammed if a print job was sent through on the wrong paper size, you can imagine the fun we had unjamming printers several times a day, whenever someone printed from a computer on which they had not remembered to first go into Print Settings and reset the paper size to A4.

Rinse and repeat every day for an entire term until someone eventually managed to persuade the IT department to allow us to set our own User Preferences without having them wiped out and replaced with the wrong default ones, every night.

Other gems from the IT department in my time there included:

1: Installing a System Image which did not allow files to be saved to the root of the users home folder or to the `~/Desktop` folder. This was designed to stop students saving 'stuff' in the wrong places, but unfortunately it also stopped applications like DVD Studio, Toast, etc from being able to create the temporary files they needed for DVD authoring... which, given it was a Media Department effectively prevented the students burning any of their work to DVD to be able to hand it in.

2: When that cock-up was eventually put right, the IT Dept. came up with another "brainwave"; this time, instead of locking down the student area, all the hard drives on the machines were partitioned into a locked down 20GB `/` parition and an 'access all areas' 480GB `/Student Work` partition. Each student could now create/destroy/mess up whatever they wanted on the work partition, without touching the `/` partition.

The only problem this time was that there was only about 150MB free space on the tiny `/` partition and [you've guessed it!] IT hadn't thought to change the preferences of any Applications to account for this. So apps like Photoshop and Illustrator and the Print Spool were all using the root partition for their temp files, caches and spool files, etc.

Result: on computers with 500GB hard drives, most of which was empty, no-one could print any images larger than 150MB, or work with biggish images in Photoshop or Illustrator without seeing "Your hard drive is almost full. Please delete some files to free up space" errors popping up all the time.

3: I'd also like to give an honourable mention to the time IT introduced a new Firewall to combat dodgy downloading amongst the student fraternity. Highlghts of that fiasco included the firewall blocking Google as a "Gambling" site [Must have been the "I feel lucky" button!] and, on one joyous occasion actually blocking the college's own website as a "Phishing/Malware" site.

[Although, having worked there for over a decade and seeing what went on behind the scenes, the latter might actually have been justified]

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