Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Tech Nazi Comes To Call

The Tech Nazi paid an unannouced visit Wednesday. This week was all about technology security, you know. At least in Newmentia. Don't go looking for a special Google banner or anything. The way it works is this: all week, we get emails about security issues, and then there's a survey, or a quiz, and a prize for the most compliant campus, and ridicule for the building with the most insecure technology. As part of his stealth technology, the Tech Nazi creeps about the various schools, snooping into each teacher's classroom fortress, leaving behind a frowny face or a candy bar.

Last year, I got a frowny face, for the first time ever. I refuse to take responsibility for the frown. All along, I had been logging off when I left my fortress. After school, during plan time, and especially over the weekend, when a shut-down was called for. Otherwise, we were supposed to leave stuff running, for updating overnight. Shh...don't tell the Maintenance Nazi, who went to all that trouble to install the self-flipping-off light switches. Surely leaving on every computer in every building 24/7 for four nights a week won't use all that much electricity.

But let's get back to ME. I was astounded several Mondays in a row to find that my computer was still running. My school laptop, to be specific, which I had just gotten last year. And the more I thought about it, I recalled that it was still running after the log-offs, as well. I just hadn't noticed, because when I went to use my laptop, I was needing to use my laptop, and, well, it didn't enter my mind that I should have needed to log back on. I had more pressing items on my agenda. So I had emailed the Tech Nazi that my laptop was not logging off, and in fact needed the power button to be held down to even shut it off. As my teaching buddy, Mabel, can verify, emailing the Tech Nazi about an issue is kind of like writing a letter to Santa. You never get an answer, and occasionally you might accidentally get what you asked for, though several months or years in the future.

So I take no responsibility for that frowny face, because I DID follow procedure and log off, even though my laptop did not respond. I drew the line at completely shutting down every time I left the room, and taking five minutes to power up again. I did, however, lock my classroom door. Which I swear, we were told back then was not good enough, because anybody can borrow a key and get in to perform mayhem on our crucial files. Like the Tech Nazi.

This year, my laptop has been working. I have switched from the log-off to locking the computer, though all it takes to get around that is to shut down and power up again. But at least it won't be under my log-in. I think. One of the subs did it, but purloined another teacher's name and password. So her files were in danger, not mine. I stopped with locking the door, because if that was not good enough anyway, why go through the hassle and wear-and-tear on my door latch, which has already been repaired twice? Besides, locking leads to an unsightly student build-up after lunch, when the freshmen RUN from the lunchroom to Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's room to wait in line for her to unlock the door.

On Wednesday, I was late for lunch, which is something you don't want to be at 10:53 a.m., because it leads you to missing a portion of precious adult contact during your 23-minute lunch hour. I was late, but I still dragged myself back to the opposite corner of my classroom to lock my laptop, which had been neglected in a frenzy of last-minute algebra tutoring for my extra-help class.

Sitting at the teacher lunch table, I observed the Tech Nazi trolling the halls. Fie on you, Tech Nazi! You shall not outsmart me again with your faulty equipment this year. When I returned from lunch, I had a candy bar on my keyboard. That can't be good for a laptop, can it? Surely they exude heat when operational. Even when locked. Maybe I'll email the Tech Nazi about that.

Friday, we found out that Newmentia was the most secure sector this year. As a reward, the Tech Nazi said he would be leaving a pile of candy bars in the Teachers' Lounge. That's what he called it. How out of the loop can he be? We haven't been allowed to call it that for years. It's the Teacher Workroom! Because we work there, don't you know. We don't lounge. That's what the students do when they boldly walk in there after school and hang out by the snack and soda machines.

I'm not holding my breath waiting on the pile of candy bars. Somebody else will be sure to snag them. Some people see something free and fill their purses and pockets and wheel in a Rubbermaid storage bin on a Hannibal Lecter hand truck to scoop up the spoils faster than five-day-old BBQ pulled pork after a parent conference supper. Mabel knows what I'm talkin' about.

Oh, and the Tech Nazi bragged on some Scoffrules because even though they had left all of their files open, such as email and gradebook and powerschool, they had conscientiously locked their doors, which was enough to keep intruders away from the vital files. Ahem! That was not good enough last year, but this year it is? I cry shenanigans!

The objective to take away from the tale of the Tech Nazi is this:
Teachers must be bribed with sugar. It's the only thing that keeps their files secure.

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