Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Back to the office...

I got back to Cairo on Friday night after a few days in Paris. (I will try to write something about that trip in the next week.)

On Sunday morning, I headed to my office and campus is mostly a ghost town. There were very few people there. I went to my office and my computer did not turn on. I tried every outlet in my office. The lights (including a desk lamp that seemed to be on the same circuit as the computer powerstrip) worked fine. I swapped out a cable from a different computer in the office and there was nothing. It is less than a year old too. The problem was that there was nobody around to help me. Almost all of the university staff takes their annual leave in August, which makes sense since there are no classes and few people around. But it doesn’t make sense in that there is almost no technology coverage. I tried to call lots of people, and barely got a human. Full voice mail boxes. Forwards to attendants who never picked up. I reached a department administrator on her cellphone in England! Eventually I went to the Dean’s office who put me in touch with a hardware supervisor in some other building who sent someone down to my office. He kindly figured out, quite quickly, that it was in fact an electricity problem. Then we were able to call someone who dispatched an electrician over who fixed it. I think he replaced a fuse. Whatever it was, he was able to do it without even being in my office. Then as a bonus he was able to complete the unfinished installation of my desk outlet which had never been screwed into the wall and spent all last year lying on the floor with all of the cables exposed. (It was not a repair I ever thought to request.) Anyway, it was not how I had hoped to spend my first day back in the office, but that part of it was a windfall.

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