All entries for July 2004

July 20, 2004

Smoking

Most of the support calls that come in to the Piazza helpdesk are quite routine – a virus infection, a broken Windows installation, a dodgy network cable, and so on.

It's therefore quite nice when you get to deal with one that's not so common. Like the call I've just taken from a girl with smoke coming from her laptop. At least she seemed to see the funny side of it, anyway :-)


July 19, 2004

More Student Computing fun

I've just about finished putting together the Residences pages for the new Student Computing site, I think. I'm never quite happy with anything like this that I do though, as there's always things you can do to tweak it or change things around, and Sitebuilder lets you carry on doing that kind of thing for ever.

I'm also struggling to see objectively what people need in terms of information on how to connect to the residences network, having been using the network and working for the Piazza helpdesk for nearly a year now. Is all the information there? Is there too much irrelevant technical information in there? Is it buried too deep in the structure of the site? I just can't seem to tell.

I've also been trying to think how we can point students to all this information that we're putting up there on Student Computing. I think the material will help students to help themselves a lot more than they currently can (before they even get round to phoning the helpdesk), but that's obviously not much use if nobody knows it's there. The Residences section is currently hidden five levels below the top level in Sitebuilder, so clearly people aren't going to find it unless it's promoted in some other way.

For now I'm going to go back to the RCA documentation, while I try to mull over a few of these questions in my head. But if anyone has any ideas, I'd be glad to hear them :-)


July 08, 2004

NT Nightmares

I swore to myself that my first entry wouldn't be at all moany, but I've just about reached my limit with Windows NT and web browsers!

Today I'm trying to beef up the Residences section of the new Student Computing site on SiteBuilder. My last three attempts to edit one particular page have gone something like this:

  1. Try to edit the page in Firefox using the Java applet editor – Firefox crashes
  2. Restart Firefox, which now doesn't seem to be rendering anything on the screen
  3. Close the now broken FF, try instead with Mozilla off the NAL, which experiences the same rendering problem as FF
  4. Close Mozilla, revert to using IE, which then locks up while trying to load the applet
  5. Forcefully close IE, and NT blue screens on me and starts a memory dump

Resisting the temptation to point out how I never have any problems using my own PC in my room, but this is really starting to annoy me now! :-)


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