Saturday, January 27, 2007

Personal space

I've been at work this morning, moving user PC network connections from older wiring onto new stuff. It is fairly straight-forward to do and we get into a bit of a routine. It goes like this:

-Power up the PC
-Log in via an administrator account and check/adjust the network settings
-Connect the PC to the new outlets using a suitable length pre-cut cable
-Log on again with a normal account and make sure network OK
-Power down PC

(Much of the older wiring only supported 10 Mbps (10 Meg) and now they can get 100 Meg or a Gig but as the network hasn't changed it doesn't make too much difference yet.)

Of course, as PCs take a while to boot up & log in, we will generally do a desk cluster at a time, moving between PCs to maximise efficiency. However, when it comes to running cables under desks, every crawl under is a voyage of discovery. In amongst the mess of cables can be found all sorts of trinkets that have fallen from above or simply been moved out of the way, along with empty plastic cups, crisp wrappers and the odd penny.

Now I'm very aware that a work desk is a very personal space and that people generally like it they way they have left it so I am careful to minimise disturbance. However, that doesn't stop me having a good gander at the stuff on view whilst waiting as it says a lot about the person. Photos of loved ones, awards, nick-nacks, cartoons and headlines are revealing, as is the style of desktop stuff, from minimalist squared off pad to piled up teenage shit-pit.

The other thing that constantly surprises me is how many desktops with PC mice that don't work properly, generally due to having a mucky ball. Are they experts at keyboard shortcuts, I wonder? Many older PCs take ridiculous lengths of time to boot up, do they go and have a cup of tea whilst the technology struggles slowly towards the logon screen?

Often specialised departments will have trade magazines lying around, such as Brand Aware or Accountancy Age. It is interesting to see what gets marketeers or accountants het up in these mags- generally the same sort of things that the IT and Communications Mags complain about, i.e. excessive and poorly thought out regulation.

At least at the weekend there is plenty of room in the car park...


Liz said...

My desk, even though I occasionally tidy it, rapidly becomes a tip. Husband's, on the other hand, is immaculate. (Ss he tells me; his is in work.)

Not Saussure said...

My late wife temped for a while as PA to the Director of Nursing at one of our major hospitals. While she was there she noticed the mouse needed cleaning, so she started to dismantle it.

Shock, horror. Only qualified staff allowed to perform technical adjustments to electronic equipment in hospitals. Yes, they realised this rule had probably been drafted with heart monitors and the like in mind rather than computer mice, but rules is rules.

They had to get someone from medical radiology over to clean it for (quite why no one in the IT was sufficiently qualified for this task I do not know, unless it was that they were too busy).

Ian Grey said...

When I went round the Departments at GEC in my Student days, there was the bizarre scenario that we would make and test power supplies in the equipment- but we were not allowed to fit the mains plug on the other end of the cable.