Day 317

Wednesday | January 9th, 2013


This camp’s computer lab is at least not the fiasco of the summer camp where I had to travel each day to the IT building to procure a key for the lab in the business building, then go to my office to pick up the headsets locked in my cabinet, then go to the lab itself and spend an hour or so configuring the machines. Followed up by breaking down the lab at the end of the day, circling back around the buildings to stash headsets and drop off my key. Of course by the end, I’d made the obvious shortcuts, e.g. get the headsets, then get the key; drop headsets, then key, then go home. Plus an extra one where if I put the machines to sleep, I didn’t have to reconfigure them the next morning (I only had to sound check the headsets).


This camp’s computer lab is in the library. The work study students in the next room have the key and happily unlock it for the morning guy, AB, who sound checks the headsets and makes sure everything is ready. AB scoops up the headsets from his desk where I drop them at the end of each day. AB has also added another shortcut to the routine: in the past I had to set the recording software each day with the current date to keep all the audio files sorted, but AB realized that in addition to the software’s ability to automatically generate a number for the audio files (meaning that we only have to start and stop the recording software for each test and an .mp3 of the student’s test is created with a sequential number), the software will also automatically generate the date.

In the next camp the system will be:

  1. Boot machines.
  2. Install Dropbox and recording software.
  3. In the Dropbox software, disable notifications, enable LAN sync (critical), set the upload limit to none (critical), and set the language to English (for debugging).
  4. Configure the recording software to create .mp3 files and save them to the Dropbox folder.
  5. Configure the recording software to automatically create each .mp3 file with the current date and a sequential number.
  6. Insert a letter (between A-Z) into that file name between the date and sequential number.
  7. Collect files.
  8. Sleep the machines, so no one has to fuck around reconfiguring the machines each morning!

Our system may be optimized to the bone, but the set of the lab is goofy. Each machine already has an assigned number and a user with an assigned number. The machine’s number and the user’s number do not match. So you might be on machine 56, but your user number would be 34. There is only one user on each machine. As further evidence that the lab itself was set up by a dyslexic monkey, the numbering of the machines (hero image, top) goes from right to left, bottom to top. Korean is a left to right, top to bottom language. Even right to left languages are still top to bottom. This sort of counting would make sense if the counter knew beforehand how many machines were in the room otherwise the last machine—the first one you see when entering the lab—would turn out as number 8 or something instead of 1. Nitpicky? The numberer extraordinaire and his mapmaker-in-arms went to the trouble of drawing and labeling the 기둥 (in the circle).


The CCTV set up is another one I don’t get. Normally, you want the camera pointed at the stuff to be protected, but in this lab 3 of the 4 cameras are aimed at their backside corners (above). Maybe a student turned them around? I dunno. They’re pretty high up and it seems like the security guards (every building on campus has them) would have turned them back already. In the other lab, I priced everything to figure out what the key situation was all about.


This lab has Nortel switches (the other lab Cisco and Netgear). Maybe there is a big price difference between the them. Or … the whole room was set up by a monkey!


When we lived in the apartment, walking home meant veering off to the right to walk home along the river, then crossing the footbridge. I used to have to go down these crazy broken steps of cracked cement and old stones (above, left). I snapped this picture on Day 8 and got as far as attaching it to that post to write about how it would likely be the death of me some rainy or snowy day—or at least a few broken bones. But I never wrote anything about it. The other day (Day 301), there was a big crane truck there and a couple of ajoshis pulling up the stairs. Today, there was a new staircase (above, middle and right) with handrails; death has been subversively averted, yet again!


On the way home I had actual things to do that didn’t have anything to do with TOEIC or computers or monkeys. SS & SS were having a garage sale that I’d been trying to get to for a couple of days, but either missed them or only had time to get to work. Garage sales, vintage shops, and vast spaces with only nature are the “things” I miss about America. If Korea had those, I could make the assimilation complete and probably not think about it ever again. The other thing to do was to feed BM’s cat.


At the garage sale I stocked up on a bunch of stuff I don’t really need, but are good to have and I had fun sorting through stacks of ‘not new’ things and budget consciously picking what I wanted. I got lots of bubble padded mailers of all sizes, which will make sending out some things less of a drag. I picked up some CD jewel cases and a CD holder, both of which I realized I needed a few weeks ago and wondered where in the heck I would buy such things since 95% of Koreans keep everything on either their cellphone or a USB drive (last time I went to look for another package of rainbow colored paper CD sleeves like I’d purchased around 2007, they looked at me like I was nuts—and I felt nuts as I was pretty much asking for a Walkman™ or a Flowbee). The best parts were:

  • when I wanted to leave and everything was tallied to a lean 28,000 won, I was coaxed into taking a bizarre book entirely in German that as best I can determine is a postmodern derivative work of this groundbreaking anthology from the 1860s (it bares no descriptions beyond this, it has to be seen to be believed).
  • when I got home, I gave the bag I’d been carrying everything in to Naughty and Twitchy (above) who promptly forgot that I’d been gone all day and longer than usual, too, and tore up the bag in another chapter of the galactic struggle known as: I Deserve Daddy’s Love More Than You (and as usual, there was no winner and both dogs received equal amounts of affection).

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