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This Is A Wheely Frustrating Situation

, , , , | Legal | December 21, 2021

When I was in college, I usually either rode my bike or walked across campus. One Saturday afternoon, I rode my bike to the lacrosse stadium to watch the game with some friends and chained the bike to a bike stand outside the stadium. A couple of hours later, I walked out of the stadium with my friends to go to dinner in the dining hall, completely forgetting that I had ridden my bike there.

In fact, I forgot my bike was there all weekend. Come Monday morning, I left my dorm to go to class, and I could not for the life of me figure out where my darn bike was. I checked all of the usual places and even started to wonder if it had been stolen. I walked to class all day, constantly baffled about where I had left the bike.

Mid-afternoon, I suddenly remembered that I might have left it at the lacrosse stadium. The stadium is a pretty far walk, though, and I wasn’t 100% sure it was there, and I didn’t want to walk that far only to find that wasn’t the location after all. I asked my roommate if I could borrow his bike to go find mine, and he agreed.

I rode my roommate’s bike to the stadium, and aha! There was my bike. Great. I started to walk both bikes back to my dorm, one in each hand.

I was nearly back at the dorm when a campus security officer pulled over his car and got out.

Officer: “You want to tell me why you have two bikes?”

Me: “Sure. This one is mine, and this one belongs to my roommate. I left mine at the stadium and rode his over there to go get it.”

The officer looked like he didn’t believe my story at all.

Officer: *Pointing to my bike* “So, if I were to check the registration on this bike, it would be registered to you.”

On my campus, you were supposed to register your bike through a campus security website, and they’d send you a little numbered sticker to put on it. Luckily, I’d actually done this.

Me: “Sure, yes.”

I handed him my ID and then waited while he radioed the number and my name to someone else. They had a brief conversation, and the voice on the radio confirmed that my bike was my bike. He then inspected [Roommate]’s bike, and sure enough, it had a little registration sticker, as well.

Officer: “And this other bike. Who is this one supposedly registered to?”

Me: “[Roommate].”

He radioed in my roommate’s bike registration number but started frowning. He put his hands on his hips and scowled.

Officer: “Actually, this bike is registered to a Mr. [Friend].”

That’s when I remembered where [Roommate] had gotten his bike in the first place. [Friend] had gotten a new bike and gave his old one to [Roommate].

Me: “Oh, that makes sense. [Friend] gave that bike to [Roommate] a few months ago when he got a new one. He probably just didn’t switch the registration.”

Officer: *Skeptical* “Uh-huh. And if I were to call [Friend], is that the story he’d tell me?”

Me: “Yes. Please, feel free to call him.”

This was in the days before cell phones, so [Officer] looked up the number of the dorm room and called [Friend]. The phone rang, but no one answered; [Friend] was probably in class.

Officer: “He’s not answering. I have no proof that your story is true.”

Me: “Then… call [Roommate]! He’s definitely in the dorm; I just came from there. He’ll tell you the same thing.”

Officer:No! He could just say whatever you’ve told him to say!”

I’ve never understood that logic. [Friend] could adequately verify my story, but [Roommate] had to be in cahoots with me?

Officer: “I’m going to have to take this bicycle.”

Me: “What?”

He radioed again, this time requesting backup, which apparently meant a van that could fit the bike, plus three other campus security cars, because why not? He loaded the bike into the van and told me that only [Friend] could get the bike back, and to get it, he’d have to come to the campus security office very far away at some inconvenient time. Then, they all drove off.

I biked the short distance back to my dorm, locked my bike, and then went up to my room.

Roommate: “Well? Did you find your bike?”

Me: “So… the good news is I found my bike. The bad news is I lost yours.”

I told him the whole story, apologizing, and then we had to call [Friend] and apologize to him, as well, since he now had to go to recover the bike. The kicker: I mentioned to him that the situation sucks, but technically, he probably should have gone to the campus security website to transfer the bike registration to [Roommate] when he gave him the bike.

Friend: “I DID!”

If You Want To Pass, Your A** Should Be In Class

, , , , , , | Learning | December 15, 2021

When teaching college courses, you inevitably get students with the talent and capacity to get an A in your course… if they could bother showing up for the class they paid for.

Student: “What did I miss last week?”

Me: “The mid-term exam.”

Student: *A bit stunned* “Did you announce it?”

Me: “Yes.”

Student: “When?”

Me: “The two weeks prior to the test.”

Student: “Can I make up the test?”

Me: “I follow my own syllabus: I don’t take roll or penalize you if you don’t show up. But it also says that I don’t reschedule exams unless you give me twenty-four hours notice prior to the scheduled date. So… no.”

He stood there speechless and I began class. He failed, of course.

Universities Are Not Universal

, , , , | Right | December 13, 2021

At the university where I work, we frequently get calls from employers and other universities who need to double-check if someone has been enrolled at our institution. Normally, they are pretty easy calls, but this one is not.

Caller: “Hello, I am calling from [Background Check Agency] to verify if an applicant attended your university.”

Me: “I would be happy to help! What are the student’s first and last name and date of birth?”

I find only one student with that first and last name. I confirm the spelling is accurate, but the date of birth we have is slightly different — think 1/18/1995 versus 2/18/1994. The email address and phone number he gives me also match what we have in our system, so I figure there must have been some kind of typo with the date of birth.

Me: “I think I have the correct student, but the date of birth is different. What is the degree she said she has?”

Caller: “The student says she earned a BA in Illustration in 2018. Is this correct?”

Me: “We do not offer that kind of degree. I see here that the student took an art class through us in high school for college credit in 2015, but that’s it. It’s possible the student earned her BA at another school, but we have no way to verify that on our end.”

Caller: “I see. And just to confirm, you are [Art University]?”

Me: “No, we are [My University.]”

Caller: “Oh. Are those different schools?”

I then had to explain to a grown man why I could not pull up the records of a student who attended a different university than mine and that he would need to call them instead. He was polite about it, but I’m still baffled by his reaction.

Hello, Snarky Programmer!

, , , , , , , | Learning | December 13, 2021

The first program a fledgling programmer is supposed to write is a “Hello, world” program, which literally does nothing but print out the phrase “Hello, world.” I’m not sure why it’s a thing, but all programmers know what it is.

I was going to a highly-rated college for programming and was taking the Operating Systems course, the most notoriously hard class in the entire curriculum, where we had to build our own functional operating system. We were nearing the end of when our last assignment was due, and of course, it was the hardest of all the assignments. Most of us were pulling a few all-nighters to get it done in time.

When class time rolled around for the course, we all filtered into the usual classroom to find someone had been doodling on the whiteboard in the room. In large, colorful letters, the unknown vandal had written, “HELLO, WORLD!” Underneath that, in much smaller writing, they added, “(Goodbye, social life.)”

One of my peers pointed it out, and we were all getting a bit of a chuckle out of it when our professor walked in and saw it.

Professor: “Okay, who wrote that? We have to erase it immediately! I’m not allowed to be that honest with you folks until after finals are over!”

Stupidity Can Be Found In The Oddest Places

, , , , | Working | CREDIT: Rusty99Arabian | December 8, 2021

There is an unfair stereotype in university IT that the older the professor, the worse they are at technology. This is entirely untrue because absolutely nothing seems to correlate with how comfortable a professor is with technology — age, intelligence, diligence, and certainly not degree. I’ve observed a slight statistical correlation with the field they’re in, but it’s shaky at best.

So, I try not to judge anyone until I’ve seen them actually at a machine. But on one particular occasion, I regret to say I fell prey to assumptions.

We had received word that a new professor was starting, and they actually stopped by to introduce themselves to our team. If you want good service from IT, boy, is that a way to leave an impression. They were young, humble, and they just emitted this impression of intelligence — all the signs of a user we could give a computer to and never see again, which is just how IT likes it.

And on top of this, when we asked if they had any special requests for what they wanted on their machine, they specifically asked for Chrome. My estimation of their ability went sky-high. I had dreams of future tickets, easily resolved, aided by their wonderful ability to assist with troubleshooting.

That is, until the day they got their new computer and reported their first ticket: they still wanted Chrome installed.

I was, frankly, baffled. Not only was Chrome set to the default browser on our image, but I had taken an extra step to log in as the user and put the icon on a prominent position on their desktop, since they had specially requested it. It could not be any more installed.

But weirder things have happened before. Maybe some serious problem had happened with their new machine and Chrome was somehow deleted.

I was so baffled that I asked if I could see the machine in person, and they brought it by right away. I watched as the user logged in and clicked on the Chrome icon on their desktop, successfully opening Chrome.

There were no triumphant sounds of understanding or a sheepish apology. Instead, they kept going.

Now, Google likes to change up the contents of the default tab when you open Chrome. This particular design prominently featured a button saying something like, “Learn more about what you can do with Chrome!”

The professor continued to click on “Learn More About Chrome,” click the link, “Download Chrome,” and point.

Professor: “See! It says that you still need to download Chrome.”

I admit, troubleshooting this problem had me stumped.

Eventually, I managed to convince the professor that if they visited literally any other site on the Internet, they would be just fine. They went away satisfied.

That afternoon, I started to write a feedback email to Google:

Me: “Bug found: user can still navigate to ‘Install Chrome’ page even if Chrome installed.”

But ultimately, I decided against sending it. It was out of the ticket scope, anyway.

Ticket closed!