My battle with the Gods of electricity

I once again am reminded that technology is not my friend, but this time it really isn’t fault of the computer.  St. Xaviers College is under an expansive renovation.  New dorms are being added, a new 3rd floor set of classrooms and repairs to the existing floors are a part of the daily activity.

My mission today was t ready the computers for first use.  This included downloading Audacity (, adding student user accounts, setting up the dock and running system updates.  Fairly simple and only ten machines to worry about.

Or so I thought.  You see with new construction comes the need from time to time to cut the power.  Apparently six times….each time throwing the computers off and stopping any downloads.  This constant up and down also fried the circuit that holds the wireless router duties.  It is a little difficult to download updates without power or network access.

Today also marks the opening ceremony for the class, which means I am kicked out of the lab at 6pm to get ready for the program.  The true test of my geek-hood has come.  I know I must not be too old as my young apprentice, Chris Whitman doesn’t even have a total fix for this – ok one small one for the group.  We were able to create our own wireless network using one of the Macs in the room – but for the record I had that idea as well – he just voiced it first – curse you Gadget!

So now we have restarted the downloads for the seventh and hopefully final time.

I left the systems updating so I could attend the ceremony.  It was a nice long ceremony (did you know they take questions at the podium of the speakers – definitely not what the American group expected) the students set up the entire program, presented gifts to the team, displayed beautiful talents in the form of song and dance, and welcomed the opportunity to learn journalism from a backpack.

Just a quick side note – we were joined by three of our former students, Aman Shah, Boris Gomes, and Stephie Gomes.  All three have a bright future, thanks to the backpack journalism program.  Aman is a journalist, Boris realized his dream of becoming a designer and Stephie works for Harley Davidson of India as an account representative.  the Marquette University name helped them get their interview.

Back to the electrical challenges.  After the ceremony and time spent with the old and new students I returned to the lab to check on the progress.

Its going to be a long update!

The fate of my night was established – the time remaining for download showed:  7,628 hours and was climbing.  At this rate I will leave Ahmedabad in more than 318 days!

Lesson for today – patience!

OK, let’s look back and re-evaluate.  The computers work – check.  The equipment works with the computers – check.  All the software required is installed – check.  The syllabus has been reset and groups determined.  What is the only thing not functioning at this point?  Software updates.

I believe that is one in the win column.  In my younger days I would restart the downloads for a record eight time and sit while it chugged away.  Today I am a bit wiser.  Tomorrow is another day.  I have ten computers to work with six teams on.  The updates will not make or break the program.  I let it go for tonight.  I will use one of the four ‘extra’ machines during the week to try again and then create an image.

For now, I am happy and ready to start.  Slow and steady wins the race and while I may not be exactly slow or steady – I am smart enough to let the Gods win once in a while.

One comment

  1. Add to list of items to be supplied by host campus: (a) a generator or (b) 1,000 gerbils to keep running in circles to generate power, whichever.

    (Steve told me about this, that your group had to cope with power cut off, over and over, while your program was underway, and with so little time to do so much. I look forward to the next installment of “Basic Things That We Ought to Have Mentioned, Like Electricity.” Oh, and a tip: Perhaps it’s not too late to have a little chat about not shutting down indoor plumbing, too.)

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