Tuesday, October 14, 2008

STEM networking

No, I don't mean the type of networking that helps you get a job. I mean the goddamn computer network.

I'm at well-regarded institution whose primary claim to fame is computer/math stuff. The secondary claim to fame is engineering, and then the rest of the sciences are sort of an afterthought to most people. I don't think we claim that we've invented the internet, but our former students and profs did invent a whole crapload of influential programs and software.

Do you think that if we're such a friggin' awesome computer school, we could have a working network around here? Hmm? I was trying to download a moderately large file from e-mail, and the download rate was something like 400 bytes/second. Helloo!? Some of us are trying to do research, and it doesn't help when we can't actually look at all those articles that are supposedly available on the science servers.

It got so bad, I went to our school's computing help desk. After I finally got the guy to focus on my network problem instead of how much I (over)paid for my laptop, he told me that "some buildings have weak networks." That's it? How about a solution?

Part of the problem is that my office is a (poorly) retrofitted lab and when they added network cables, all they did was plug them into a wireless hub of some sort, so even though I plug into the wall, I get the same reception as my usual wireless reception. Which is to say, flaky. And then if my computer goes to sleep, I can't regain my network connections. I'd go to the computer labs, but those computers appear to date from the 90s and they can't handle big files.

I realize that keeping all the buildings wired properly and updated is a big task. But considering the amount of money the school pours into quantum/nano/next big thing computing, the least they could do is cut the rest of us a break.

1 comment:

A Life Long Scholar said...

I tend to work from home, and use my uni's "remote network" to connect to the geology department. It works very well, but then we are willing to pay for a decent connection to the house out of pocket.