An Australian volunteer who was doing whatever volunteers do in PNG.
I was there for 2 years until Dec 2005 .. I hope I made the most of it.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Technical Toolheads

Warning: Another rant .. and about technical stuff to boot

There was no better time yesterday than to use the statement "if you want something done properly, you have to do it yourself"! After weeks of watching dithering dickheads try to go about what they are surprisingly paid for, it was time to step in. I don't like stepping in on other people's territory, but honestly these guys are useless and it was causing major issues for our department.

The personnel (not to mention names) I am talking about are in another department. A department that we are unfortunately linked to IT wise. We have to go through this department (not for much longer hopefully) to be linked to the rest of uni's network. And over three weeks ago, while I was on holiday, their Router died. This caused them and us to drop off the network. No Internet, no e-mail etc. Like most places we have become reliant on these services.

So in a process akin to watching paint dry, the responsible personnel in this said department went about trying to restore this said router. In most cases a router is a specialised piece of equipment, something like a Cisco router usually springs to mind, but in this case it is just a hunk of junk ancient computer with two network cards in it.

In a perfect example of thinking inside the square, the techie guys there work on trying to get this hunk of junk back up and running. They require some equipment. So they order it. The order has to come from Australia, this soaks up the first few weeks.

Meanwhile I arrive back from my holiday and discover what is going on. I discover that there are two options for my department to get back on the network. Firstly wait for the router to work at the other department .. or .. we can buy fibre optic equipment that will enable us to bypass the others and have our own link. The second option is what we should have anyway so while waiting for them I purchase and we wait for our own equipment.

I decide to have a little bit more faith in the other department. Our bit of equipment is still on the way but theirs had arrived mid last week. So for the last week while we twiddle our thumbs and wait, they have been in the slow and drawn out 'think inside the square' process.

The main guy takes two days off, last Friday and this Monday. The second guy is no better at getting the PC to work. They dilly-dally and dilly-dally to the point where I keep barging in and making suggestions on how to resurrect the machine. It falls on deaf ears.

Finally frustration maximisation is reached. After a week of watching them painfully wrestle with their hunk of junk, I pull together bits of computer I have under my desk and build a new computer with two network cards, and configure it to do the Routing all in about 30 minutes.

I walk over with the newly built PC under the arm and drop it onto the bench. "This" I say "will be here, until my own equipment for our own link is operational, after that you can go back to getting your own machine to work". And with that we plug it in and get back up and operational.

And so I am now merrily surfing the net and posting back onto to my blog. It only took 3½ weeks!

In hindsight I really should have just built my machine a week earlier, but hey hindsight is good isn't it. My equipment to get our own link working will be here tomorrow. I will be much happier when we bypass others incompetence.