I spent most of yesterday changing passwords and notifying all of my contacts of a new email address. Maddening.
Shortly after 8 a.m., a friend sent me a Facebook message telling me that she was receiving spam from my email account. Sure enough, when I went into the account, there were all these undeliverable emails as well as notices from my friends. I didn’t even open them, but immediately changed the password on that account and started setting up a new email account. After almost 20 years of being online with no problems, how could this happen?
I had left my MacBook Pro with the Apple store the day before so they could take a locked file off the desktop. The file hadn’t bothered me as it had been there for months, but my husband said it was a Trojan and should be removed as it could infect PCs. Macs are pretty virus resistant. He had attached his camera to my computer and it had been infected. Okay, so I did as he wished. But, even the Apple geniuses had problems getting rid of the thing and needed to wait until the real guru arrived in the afternoon. Sure enough, as soon as he came in, he was able to remove the file. However, the computer had been there all day, and who knows if someone could have picked up my email signal since the computer was powered on the entire time. It could have happened some other way, too.
So, my 95 email contacts have been notified that I have a new address; my too numerous to count online accounts have new passwords; mopping up from this debacle will continue; I will be apologizing for some time.
We are in whiteout mode here, 17 floors up. The fog has come into the bay, obliterating all hint of any water or bridge out there. The streets aren’t bad and traffic is flowing nicely, well below the fog ceiling. I could probably go a few blocks west and be walking in sunshine. The fog horns consistently blow to keep track of the ships and barges coming in and out of the bay.
There is quite a mess left on the streets after last night’s flash mob pillow fight. There were even feathers in the elevator as I went down to the Starbucks for paper and soy mocha. The innards of a foam pillow littered the sidewalk and I could see the remains of another pillow had been tossed on top of the canopy of the apartment building. Someone has a big cleaning job today.
Although a holiday, there are many who are working, but in more casual attire than I saw last week. Starbucks had a line out the door and tables were filled, at 8 a.m. with Apple laptops. I am always happy to see Macs as I have a love/hate relationship with PCs. Mostly hate.
Terry and I had a conversation about this, though, when I returned from my morning walk, and I realized that most of my PC experience is based on the computers at school which are controlled by Oz, the district’s IT department. I don’t struggle with my Macs at school because I am the one to control them. Of course, the district will no longer allow me to update machines or software.
Tomorrow is an inservice day, so although I will be at work, there will be no children there. I had considered staying an extra day in SF, but I don’t want to use any more of my sick days than absolutely necessary. I have so many that they add almost another year to my retirement schedule. I have rarely been sick in my 21 years of teaching and most of my sick days have been taken for doctor or dentist appointments and an occasional stress day. I am scheduled for jury duty in March and this time I am not putting it off until vacation time like I have in the past. We’ll see how that works.
See the coffee mug on the newspaper? I used it this morning for my mocha (made with French roast and Silk chocolate soy milk) that I drank while sitting in my backyard, reading the Sunday San Francisco Chronicle.
The mug has a story…it’s 20 years old this summer, brought to me by a lady who was my aide for a summer school class I taught out in the rural town of Parlier the first summer I had my teaching credential. I had no promise of a real teaching job so I took anything I could get. This class was in the computer lab at an elementary school in a very poor city with mostly Spanish speaking students. Although I cannot speak, I can read and understand Spanish at a very basic level. The aide was there to help me out, and she was wonderful.
I think I was hired to just oversee the kids doing whatever they liked on the computers, but I wanted a product (project based learning). The regular teacher had the lab set up for games, but there was a word processing program and a small desktop publishing program on the machines so I had the little kids write their stories (most in Spanish), and the older kids put them into a weekly newsletter for the duration. It was quite popular, and the superintendent came out one day to see what I was doing. Even 20 years ago I believed that computers are to be used for productivity, not to play games, and that is what we did in that lab. It did not, however, get me a job offer with the district. Now, looking back, I can be thankful as it was a 40 minute drive to Parlier and in the winter I would have suffered through fog on country roads.
Back to the mug, the lady who was my aide knew that I loved Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks and that my husband and I often hiked the trails there. One weekend she took her family, after hearing my stories, and brought the mug back as a souvenir. I was delighted and have kept it all these years as a reminder of a summer job, long ago, when I taught elementary children to write the stories of their life in their native language .
Posted in School
Tagged children, coffee mug, computers, jobs, Kings Canyon National Park, Parlier California, rural school district, Sequoia National Park, souvenir, Spanish speaking, summer school, writing
I am very fortunate to have a lot of technology at school. Most of it has been acquired through grants I have written. It takes a lot of work to write these grants and go to all the meetings that are often required for the funding. But, I do it because I want my students to have the best, and the school district is not going to just buy the classroom teacher what they want. Those dear Readers who work in education know of what I speak.
This year I wrote a grant to receive 14 mini laptops that my seniors have been using almost daily for their work. These little machines, though tiny, handle a myriad of tasks, one being able to hook up to a projector that I also purchased with grant money a few years ago. The projector also works with my MAC laptop, another piece of equipment purchased with a large grant.
I like to help other teachers on campus with their technology. I am certainly no expert, but I am willing to assist where I can, and in most cases, the questions are easy enough for me to handle. I get bogged down with some hardware issues, especially on the PC platform, but I can usually find a solution. (I am a MAC aficionado.) I am willing to share my knowledge.
So, now I have this quandary: do I let a teacher from across campus use my projector and mini computer for a guest presentation? The guest presenter asked the teacher to get the equipment from me as they had used the equipment IN my classroom. I would probably have to haul the equipment over and set it up, and it would be used during the same period I use the equipment therefore requiring me to make the trip the day before. I do not know how safe my equipment would be as the teacher shares the classroom. I would undoubtedly have to go retrieve said equipment.
I am torn because I do like to help people, but I have worked hard to get this equipment and I value it. Dear Reader, any suggestions?
My husband and I stayed overnight at a hotel this past weekend so as to attend our daughter’s ordination. Since we were only away for one night, and would be busy for most of the time, I did not take my laptop. There is a computer in the hotel’s lobby (we’ve stayed there many times) and I knew I could check my email on Sunday morning to see if anyone desperately needed me (they didn’t).
When I went to log in, I found a dead monitor. A little more checking revealed a missing power cord. Hey, I do this all the time so it was no big deal for me to investigate. I approached the front desk, and not seeing anyone, I called out a couple of times and finally a young man came out. I told him of the missing power cord, but he just stood and looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language.
When I realized I wasn’t going to get too far with him, I went back to the computer area and dug around until I found the cord. The desk man, who had followed me, seemed very relieved. I truly believe he would not have had a clue as to how to replace the thing had I not made the discovery. After putting it all back together, the monitor worked fine and I completed my mail check.
I also noticed that the mousepad was dilapidated, and the screen needed cleaning. The teacher in me made me want to fix more than just the power cord. I told my husband that I could do that desk man’s job even without any hospitality training. I just have to know how to make things better, sort of like what I do at school.
Today is the end of the first quarter, which at our school was only 8 weeks long. One of my favorite bloggers writes that she gets a week off after the first quarter. What? How do they do that? I could use a week off. I’m tired. Tired of equipment that is not working correctly, tired of kids who aren’t behaving very well, tired of district employees not doing what they promised.
Another teacher and I wrote a grant in August for a set of laptops for each of our classrooms. Although the grantees were to be named by Labor Day, they were not named until September 11. We both were granted the computers and asked to attend a meeting with others so to learn more about what was required. The meeting was two weeks ago. We still have not seen the computers. What gives? One quarter of the school year is over and we don’t have what we were promised way back in August. Nor do I get a week off to enjoy a fall holiday.
I am teaching in a different room this year. It’s been about 7 years since I taught a class in this particular room and it has had some changes. For one thing, the teacher who originally had the room for about 20 years has retired and the room has had two other teachers come in, the last of whom does not keep up the equipment as I am accustomed. Also, I guess I should back up and say this is a PC lab, not a MAC lab, but I had taught for 18 years in a room with PCs and managed to keep them functioning so I SHOULD be ok in this room.
The room has a projector attached to a computer for demonstration purposes and today I realized it only showed the monitor through the projector and no longer on the actual monitor. Does that make sense? My husband was at school, updating some of my MACs in my other classroom so I had him check out this problem. He fixed it. Now I have the picture on the computer monitor and the one projected onto the screen. Works like it did when the experienced teacher was in the room. Thank god for my husband who keeps my equipment in teachable condition.
As an aside, I teach in two classrooms, have for years. Yearbook and marketing 3 are taught in a MAC setting (G5s) and now I am teaching multimedia in a PC room (dying dells). Don’t buy dell computers.