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Ethically wrong?

  1. Oct 2, 2008 #1

    JasonRox

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    Ok, me and a bunch of other graduate students are fed up with the slow computers in our offices. They are all Pentium 4's and up. Yet, they run like... calculators. Insanely slow with a load of programs we don't want and a network system that is just horrible. According to a friend who came back to school (in his 30's) who used to install networks himself said... "If my network ran like this, I would get fired instantly and my referrals would be completely wiped out."

    I actually have an EXTRA laptop (old P3) only for the purpose of using it at my office while my Pentium 4 desktop is sitting DIRECTLY next to me for no use at all. I'm actually going to unhook the monitor, the box, and everything and shove it in the corner of the office. That is how useless it is. No one in their offices uses them. We all have our laptops at school now, and today the one person just didn't bring it to school. Then he asked me, "where do we go to fix it?"

    I got mine "fixed" like 2 weeks ago after waiting 3 weeks for them to get it done. And they didn't fix it. I'm not quite sure what they did, but the memory leak is still just as large as before. There excuses are so lame and imply I know absolutely NOTHING about computers. Yet, the comptuer science majors next door to are telling them to their faces... no it's YOU who knows NOTHING.

    So, I answered to my friend, "Just re-install Windows XP yourself, and don't connect it to the network system while simply using a USB wireless internet connection and they'll never know you interfered with the system. And before you leave school on graduation or a few months of research, take what you need, and re-boot and delete partition. That way they'll NEVER ever know what happened."

    You aren't allowed to interfere with the computers at school but it seems like the only choice. A total of 7 computers are useless pieces of jump with nice big flat LCD screens and decent processors.

    Would you do it?
     
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  3. Oct 2, 2008 #2

    Evo

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    No, you should never do anything that is against policy and is owned by the school.
     
  4. Oct 2, 2008 #3
    I wouldn't do anything with the school computers, it could backfire. In contrast, let the folks bring their own laptops to work and boycott the corrupted computers altogether if possible.
     
  5. Oct 2, 2008 #4

    cristo

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    I feel your pain, Jason, I really do. Just little things with me, like a version of Linux that is too old to install firefox3 on, and too old to install other pieces of software on that I could really do with for my research. And this is stuck on a brand new, (well, now year old) top of the range Dell machine.. Oh.. couple that to the fact that the email and file servers have a tendency to 'go down' for a few days around once a month.

    I just use my own laptop now: they can't touch it, and I just fix things, or install them as I wish. (That's another thing that used to piss me off.. waiting a week for someone to install a TeX package on my machine).

    Course, you know the reason: if you want good computer support, the department needs to pay more. All the decent staff either go and work for a real wage in a company, or stay for around a year, and then move on.

    Sure.. note that the It department are probably happier that people do that, since it means less work for them to do!
     
  6. Oct 2, 2008 #5

    Ben Niehoff

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    We have a similar situation here, where the computers are decent machines, but are poorly-configured to the point of uselessness. Most of us have laptops, and for the most part, we would prefer to have more desk space rather than having these paperweights occupying it all. We only ever use one of the machines, and only for email (and only for the few of us who don't bring laptops).

    Personally, I unhooked mine and piled it in the corner of the room, like you. The desk space is more valuable.

    Fortunately, our department is flexible as to what we do with the machines. They even encouraged us to install Linux or anything we want. We've cleared most of them out of the way and replaced them with a Mr. Coffee.

    What we really need, however, are more blackboards.
     
  7. Oct 2, 2008 #6

    JasonRox

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    I wish we CAN install what we wanted. That will never happen.

    Oh god, our department blows ***. I'm so thankful I have a great supervisor. I went to a graduate seminar today (presentation by the chair) and all I did was read about Existential philosophy the whole time. All he did was make a presentation to the professors and not the graduate students. My supervisor just went on and on Monday telling me to make sure the presentation is geared towards students like you who may not be in your area of research. THAT IS WHAT YOU'RE SUPPOSE TO DO. He mentionned that because he is well-aware that other professors are WAY OFF the mark on that. Seriously, all students in my class (only 3) agreed that if they had a choice of A - sitting through class or B - getting punched in the face by the professor before class and not required to stay, we all picked B. The other two are GIRLS! They rather get punched in the FACE than go to class.

    I don't mind though. I started writing my biography during class. The professor was getting curious as to why I'm writing so much. Haha, it's funny. I stop and create a paragraph and write Theorem or Proof between the paragraphs.

    Haha, I know I'm a bad graduate student but for real, he sucks. I can show you my assignment and you'll laugh so loud. Like, come on. I got him stuck on a trivial part in a proof and it took him 10 minutes to work it out, and then he turns around and says "It's trivial!" and looks at me like I'm an idiot for asking such a trivial question. My response... "I know it's trivial. I'm just wondering why it took you 10 minutes to figure it out." The other students laughed. LOL. Seriously, read your notes before going to class. He's clearly copying them out of the textbook right before class without even thinking about it.

    Oh god!

    I can't wait to work with more supervisor more often next term. (Travelling to conferences around the world currently.)
     
  8. Oct 2, 2008 #7

    Moonbear

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    I'm confused...these are computers in your own lab, and you can't install what you want on them? Why not? No, you shouldn't just run wireless hubs...universities often have policies about networking that's meant to keep the network secure...but to just wipe the computer and do a clean install, I'm not sure why not if they're in your own lab. If they're department owned, just get permission from the department chair in case someone else has something important stored on them that you shouldn't delete.

    Some of our computer support staff are just as bad, so I just do my own support. I've never had them complain that I made a computer better as long as I don't make a big fuss about them not doing their job...I just quietly pretend they don't exist, and they turn a blind eye because I'm not making them do any work.
     
  9. Oct 2, 2008 #8

    cristo

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    Wow.. if only I had such a lax rule! Not only are you not allowed to install things, you physically cannot. Everything must go through the IT support team.
     
  10. Oct 2, 2008 #9

    Evo

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    Same at any company I've worked for. You will get fired if you try, there is no telling what harm could come from someone installing infected software, it's incredibly stupid if an IT team allows it, or hasn't taken precautions to prevent it.
     
  11. Oct 2, 2008 #10

    Moonbear

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    Why? Shouldn't they have more important things to do than install software? The only computers that you can't install stuff on are the ones in classrooms and shared computer labs so nobody messes them up or installs a virus on them. Office and lab computers are your own to use as you need to use it. IT can help if you don't know how to install stuff, but there's no requirement for them to do it for you. The only rule they really have is that if they detect a virus spreading from your computer to the network, they cut off your network access until the problem is resolved, which makes sense. And, of course, if you screw up your own computer fiddling with it, they won't necessarily run to your rescue right away.
     
  12. Oct 2, 2008 #11

    Moonbear

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    Productivity would slow to a stand still if everyone had to wait for IT to install software on computers, not to mention how costly it would be to hire enough staff to do that for you. Universities aren't like corporations where everybody has to use the same software, so it makes no sense to prohibit people from installing what they need, or to have to wait for someone else to show up to fix a problem when you can fix it yourself.
     
  13. Oct 2, 2008 #12

    Evo

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    Good point, but still, the harm malware can cause if connected to a network can be devastating and too late before it's discovered. If the computer can't connect to the network, then it's not as much of an issue.

    Even in the corporate world there is software I could benefit from in my job, but it just isn't allowed. It would require a separate IT staff just to police the employees.
     
  14. Oct 2, 2008 #13

    cristo

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    One would think so. Still, them's the rules.
     
  15. Oct 2, 2008 #14

    Moonbear

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    Well, if you can't install stuff, you could at least clean the old junk off, right? I mean, you know, some accidental keystroke and you have no idea what you did, and suddenly *poof*, everything was gone, and can IT please come up and reinstall the OS? o:) That, or I'd be telling everyone to CC the university president when they emailed their repeated requests for assistance when it wasn't fixed the first time. :devil:
     
  16. Oct 2, 2008 #15

    turbo

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    When I was the IT guy (for a time) of a privately-held auction company, there were popular people (pretty girls, relatives of the owner) who would constantly break rules and download auto-changing screen savers, malware-infected cursor software, and software for streaming audio off the Internet. No matter how many times I asked them nicely to stop, and no matter how many times I approached management about the risks to our network, nothing would get done. Finally, a young lady downloaded a file infected with a worm that rampaged through the network overwriting and destroying jpegs. Since auction businesses need to document their merchandise with digital photos to promote them and produce catalogs, this "innocent" mistake was destructive enough to finally got some attention, and we were able to enforce some security policies. PC users in a business should never usurp policy, install unauthorized software or uninstall software without the approval of the IT folks.
     
  17. Oct 2, 2008 #16
    Our school is like that with Macs and the crappy servers they have...
     
  18. Oct 2, 2008 #17

    Moonbear

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    Then IT better be on the ball and fix the problems they create and be ready to install software the moment it's needed. If people could call IT and someone showed up within an hour to fix a problem while they went off to a coffee break, nobody would try to circumvent the system. When they tell you that you have a service ticket and someone will be up by the end of the week when you need your computer working NOW, people stop having much use for IT and their rules.
     
  19. Oct 2, 2008 #18

    turbo

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    In a high-value business with only about 25 employees, I was available NOW for problems, and the problems were almost always self-inflicted by the users. We had people pirating music to the point where their automated downloads were crippling our bandwidth and eventually they would cry because their computer wouldn't work right. When your hard drive is so full that it can no longer accommodate temporary Word files as you type transcriptions, something is seriously wrong.

    Edit: I can't count the times that I had to boot these machines using a rescue disk (floppy) with a few critical utilities, and clean crap off peoples' hard drive to get their PCs healthy again.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2008
  20. Oct 2, 2008 #19

    cristo

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    That's all well and good for a company with 25 employees, but in a department with about 85 faculty, and about the same number of grad students/visitors, things get a little more difficult to handle, and in large businesses it's even harder still.

    Anyway, we do circumvent the rules, just by using our own laptops! Believe me, if we could install things, we would. We already do such illegal things as (wait for it.....) changing printer cartridges on our own:surprised
     
  21. Oct 2, 2008 #20

    Moonbear

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    :rolleyes: They just last a very long time. :rofl: That's the part that's silly. If you can connect your own laptop to the network, then it's no more secure than if you can install your own software onto your office computers. Probably worse, actually. At least if you are a moron and you screw up your office computer, they know you're a moron and can lock up your computer on a case-by-case basis. If you're a moron and screw up your laptop, it gets a bit harder for them to stop you.
     
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