The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Abort, Retry, Ignore, Fail?

The Torch office–Tuesday, Oct. 1, 8:09 p.m. It has been 151 hours since we first called the Information Technology department, two and a half hours since we last called them.

The computers are still broken.

There are six computers in the office all told-four Macintoshes and two IBM compatibles. Two lack internet access. One cannot read 3.5 floppy disks or open Microsoft Word. One cannot print at all. Another can only print on 8×11 inch paper. One freezes any time it is told to print more than three pages at a time from Internet Explorer. The Melissa virus has infected at least a third of the office.

At any given time, one or more of the computers have crashed within the last twenty minutes. The Editorials desk was forced to harvest a working mouse from the Spectator office. Five feet away, two ancient, broken mice are wrapped in their own cords, useless to everyone.

We have made eight calls to Information Technology. The first was from the Features desk Friday of the week before last. The editor waited for two and a half hours before leaving without a sign of a repairperson.

We called again two days later. We called again the day after that. When a repair team finally did show up, they told us that they were not Mac specialists. The Mac specialist would be paged and our problem referred to him.

That was seven days ago. We have made four more calls since then.

Admittedly, these problems are not new. Some predate the editors, and learning to compensate for a particular computer’s amalgamation of quirks is almost a rite of passage.

Within the last few weeks, though, the problems have reached a critical mass and unless Information Technology sends someone to repair the computers soon, the complex system of disk-swapping and jerry-rigging that keeps The Torch office lurching through each deadline will self-destruct.

The news desk has just lost the ability to print.

We are painfully aware of our precarious technological position and of our dependency upon its continued function. That is why we placed our requests for a repairperson well in advance. The absolute last thing that anyone on The Torch staff wants is to be stuck on production night with a half of the issue ready for the printer and the other half locked away on computers that crash, don’t turn on, or can’t print.

Tonight is production night. Information Technology told us that there is little they can do, especially on such short notice. They promised to page someone and hope for the best. So do we.

We are not helpless. Ours is a generation raised with technology and long since made familiar with the ins and outs of personal computing. One of our editors held his first job in a computer repair shop. Left to our own devices, we can effect a temporary fix by hauling laptops and zip drives from our homes to the office to the computer labs and back. We can hold things together for another issue with some spit and a prayer. We can, but it won’t work forever, and it shouldn’t have to.

St. John’s is a big university, and Information Technology has been very busy lately with upgrades, but we can hardly be accused of ambushing the department with last minute requests. Something-manpower, lines of communication, scheduling-has broken down and needs attention almost as badly as our system.

We have set aside money from our budget to buy new computers and should be ordering them during our break after the October 9th issue. Even so, we have to rely on Information Technology to install the necessary software and set up our network connections. To that end, we will begin calling in our requests for a computer technician sometime last month.

Tell us what is wrong, Information Technology. Tell us what you need from St. John’s and we will fight for it. Write us a letter. But please, fix our computers first. We can’t print it otherwise.

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