Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I know that there are more serious problems in the world than the ones I have, but I have to complain about the sad state of "technology" at my school.

Let's say one wants to, I dunno, print the lyrics to a song for use in a class. I tried to do just that yesterday. For a class at 11am. I came in around 8:20. That left 40 minutes to print a one-page document before my 9am class. One would think this possible, yes? No. I tried to print it off from my computer, something that use to work well. No. It says "processing document" eternally. I tried off one of the computers in the teacher's lounge. Same thing. I tried the library. The network was down. I tried a student computer lab. Network not responding either. I then tried this little room where I have a secret printer that sometimes works, sometimes not. It was not working. So, I ended up giving group work to my 10am class, and copying the text down by hand to make photocopies of it. The previous Friday I'd tried printing something at 10:30am. Didn't work. Then, at 1:30 in the afternoon, as I was working on something in the teacher's lounge, the printer spit out my document. 3 hours later.

Of course, all of these problems only arise when the internet is actually working. When it's not, at least half the week or the whole week, then all the problems are solved!! Easy enough, you can't do anything. And this is just the printing situation. When the internet is actually working, the following things are blocked (for teachers – more is blocked for students)
- videos (Youtube included)
- MySpace
- occasionally, Wordpress and Blogspot
- Google Images (on google.fr - google.us works)
- Skype and Apple Mail and iChat
- Gmail. Yes, Gmail. I couldn't email for two weeks because of this, until I discovered that https:// actually gets around this somehow. http://www.google.com will not work. Neither will hotmail, at all, which is wonderful for the other assistants who use this.

Do we have a tech person to fix all of this? Not really. He's a former biology teacher who is losing his hearing (so can't teach anymore), and just happens to be "good" with computers. Not someone who has any professional experience keeping servers, networks, etc. running and dealing with blocking software and such. Could I do his job? Absolutely not. But neither can he, and he is kinda stuck doing it and putting up with the litany of complaints I'm sure he receives every day. At least he can't read English, so he will never get to read this :)

Now, one could say, "Why don't you find another internet connection?" Good point. The internet café I've been going to, however, has been under construction. And they close early sometimes when there's nobody there, because this is France and that's the way it works. Also, in a town of 15,000 people the place is not really brimming with WiFi. I tried riding around on my bike to different locations in town, stopping occasionally with my MacBook and refreshing the airport. No luck finding accessible WiFi.

Anyway, if I've not emailed you or commented on those Youtube links you sent me, this is the reason. I feel better after complaining in a public way about all of this. I can't wait to get back to the good ol' USA where one can find free WiFi almost anywhere, and where I will be getting the internet put on the back of the truck and shipped directly to my house. Or however it is one connects to the internet.

Haha, as I am writing this right now, all the teachers in the lounge are complaining about this very same thing.

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