I give up. I’m going home early.
To start the day, we had more soggy wet snow come down overnight. Come on, Nature, I want my spiders to emerge!
I went to teach my class. This involves setting up a little camera to record the lecture for the students who are taking it asynchronously, and then connecting my computer to the video projector, two routine tasks that take only a few minutes.
I couldn’t get the camera to work. It crashed, and crashed hard, and wouldn’t restart. Yikes. I’ve got the in-person students waiting! So I charged ahead sans camera, figuring this means I just have to record a voice-over at home. More work, but I can do it.
Then the evil idiot classroom projection system gets flaky on me. I log in to the class software, which involves firing up the projector and entering a code into the software on my laptop, which then displays my video. Worked fine for about a minute, and then the screen goes blank and I have to reenter the code. I do so, works fine for about a minute, and then the screen goes blank and I have to reenter the code. Works fine for about a minute, and then the screen goes blank and I have to reenter the code. Works fine for about a minute, and then the screen goes blank and I have to reenter the code. Works fine for about a minute, and then the screen goes blank and I have to reenter the code. Works fine for about a minute, and then the screen goes blank and I have to reenter the code.
You get the idea. I was getting nowhere. I finally told the students this wasn’t going to work, go home and we’ll try again Monday. There was much weeping and wailing and tearful moans about really, really wanting to learn about maternal effect inheritance and imprinting today, but I was strong…no, I’m lying. It was all laughter and smiles. I should do this every day.
Except we’re just starting to get into the really fun stuff in genetics! I need to get past this so I can talk about developmental genetics! And signaling! And cancer genetics! Maybe a little bioethics, too!
Oh well. I’m gonna go home and dismantle a camera. Or maybe swap in the backup camera I’ve got. And finish grading. It’s not like canceling class means I get any free time.
Dear Prof. Myers,
You should see this spider comic for, yes I’m saying it: ‘comic relief’ GROANN
Sorry, you are a victim of ‘too cool techhnology’ brought to you by idiots that would make Rube Goldberg’s tech look simple and great in comparison. They don’t understand KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). Today’s IT weasels know they know it all already and can’t be bothered to research and plan a system, they just cut and paste crap together. If they had to regularly use what they create, they would run away screaming.
Please view that silly comic above.
Marcus Ranum says
Sounds like another tale of Cloud Computing Convenience!
Did you think to make a minor imposition on a student to ask if anyone could record on their phone? I’ll bet someone would have been happy to help their remote peers. In my experience, conscientious teachers (as I think you are) tend to try to be the hero and get everything done, when a student could have covered for you in this instance and saved you a lot of effort.
Or maybe there’s something I’m not getting. I’m not trying to tell you how to do your job here.
Best of luck next time, and I really appreciate that you post these lectures in such an accessible format.
I grew up in southern Arizona at an elevation of over 5000 feet, so it got darned cold in the winter (nothing like you masochists in Minnesota get, but still darned cold!) but never enough snow to shut the schools. So, I side with the students, “School’s out! School’s out! Teacher let the monkeys out!”
timmyson @4and 5
Two separate problems. The student would have recorded the classroom projection system starting up, working for a minute, then crashing, over and over again.
I’ve been getting a handful of roaring crashes recently, all not much of a mystery, as their timing has been coinciding with geomagnetic storms.
Just had another and my primary computer decided to lock up. A Linux box locked up, which is nearly unheard of. Likely, I’ll be seeing some of my Pi devices crashing randomly. I think it’s time to upgrade some of my power line filtering.
Or move back to where limestone is the bedrock…
Larpar. Beat me to it.
Sorry to add to your terrible no good day (in fact, I thought this post was leading up to this), but one of the “good ones” is gone.
Eric Boehlert died recently in a bike accident.
Reginald Selkirk says
OT how true love works
Ed Seedhouse says
@8: “I’ve been getting a handful of roaring crashes recently, all not much of a mystery, as their timing has been coinciding with geomagnetic storms.”
False correlation. We have not recently had any geomagnetic storms strong enough to cause anything like this kind of thing. If there were all the GPS satellites would be off line at the very least, and they aren’t. We are just at the start of sunspot cycle 25. Four or five years from now this might be slightly more plausible, but not now.
It was all laughter and smiles.
This was after opening time at the student pub? Canadian speaking.
Ray Ceeya says
Well you did abandon the West Coast for the Great White North. Here in Portland, we’ve got spiders coming out our ears right now. I named the one above my garage door Sharon. I have to be careful not to open the door too fast or she gets scared.
Reginald Selkirk says
A Thescelosaurus’ even worse day
Hugs, if you want them.
If you have a friend with several cuddly dogs who love getting up in the lap of visitors, this is the therapy I recommend to cope with misery.
PZ Myers says
I have since completely reworked my cameras, installing updated software, and tested them at home — they easily record for an hour without a glitch. Next I’ll have to tinker in the classroom, but that’ll have to wait until Monday. It’s unoccupied the hour before my class, that should give me time to troubleshoot.
Dear Prof. Myers,
It is sad that you have to spend so much time unproductively just making up for CRAP TECH! There must be a way you can just use a camera and mic. on your laptop in class (showing any whiteboard or projection as well as your own smiling face and all audio) and simply upload it to wherever, whenever you wish.