triangular Greenland icecap
Tuesday, March 3 2009
I was at the Woodbourne medium-security prison today working in the Bard computer lab. Nearly sixty passwords had been collected from prisoner-students and my job was to create accounts on a file server. Complicating matters was the fact that everything I'd been presented had been written out long hand by individual students, and I couldn't always determine what had been written. This was particularly problematic when it came to passwords, and I found myself having to make annotations of what I thought the passwords actually were.
And then, after creating all those accounts, I discovered that I'd failed to first unlock the server, so none of my changes were going to survive the reboot. At first I thought I might just be able to disable CornerStone CompuGuard, the application responsible for "locking" the server. But then I found a CompuGuard document and learned that in its locked state, all temporary changes are actually made to a separate file which isn't read during the reboot. Disabling CompuGuard would do me no good. And Windows wasn't helpful at all; it provides no mechanism to import or export a computer's user accounts. So I was forced to enter all those accounts again manually. Though relatively minor, this might actually be my single biggest data loss ever. Fortunately, it turns out that it is possible to do a menial task about three times faster than the first time when it's done a second time.
As always, a hulking guard had been assigned to me to keep inmates out of the room and provide escort services. He didn't need to do anything during the entire four hours I was there, and so he just sat there metabolizing his last meal and respiring, all basic functions of the brain stem and autonomic nervous system. If I'd been him, the higher levels in my brain (all its innovations since the Medulla oblongata) would have been suicidally bored. Amazingly, though, this guard hadn't even brought a book to read. Perhaps such non-work distractions are forbidden. I can't imagine a worse hell than being a prison guard. I'd rather be a prisoner.
Near the end of my scheduled time in the lab, my assigned guard was getting antsy to go, and I found my work accelerating madly, particularly as I assigned each folder its specific user permissions, a tediously-manual process that it would seem an operating system should be able to automate. I vaguely of enjoyed the game of racing against the clock, and if my cerebral blood glucose levels hadn't fallen to homeopathic levels I wouldn't have felt as miserable as I actually did.
On the homeward drive back north, I stopped at Il Paradiso, a pizza place in that shopping center along the airport road just north of Ellenville. I ordered two slices of their least-disgusting vegetarian slices, though I wasn't really prepared for how much cheese they'd been slathered in. Don't get me wrong; I don't consider myself a vegan and will eat real cheese in situations like this, but the slices were covered in a good half-inch slab of cheese, some of which looked to be ricotta trapped beneath a thick skin of mozzarella. It was like a triangular Greenland icecap of cheese, and it was revolting. Making matters worse, there was virtually no red sauce on the slices whatsoever. I ended up throwing part of one of the slices away, something I do even less often than the experiencing of data loss.
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