Prof. Paul
Mar. 21st 2003
The week has been very busy. There has been a slight twist in the 'computers in the room upstairs saga'.

One of the first things that I tried doing this week was teaching the students about operating systems. They are having trouble understanding the difference between an operating system and an application. I decided to try them with a new way for them - I got them to act out the parts of the computer. The first time I tried it, it was okay, but not a great success. With the second group things worked much better. They said that they enjoyed it and that it was useful. I need to work out whether this is them being polite though.

Another bonus to this way of teaching is that they now know that I pick on people that turn up late. So, although I have not disciplined anyone, they should hopefully turn up on time more often.

We have finally tested all of the computers at Kellamino. With the help of the registrar, and one of the students. The student asked to help. His name is Guesh, and he seems extremely bright and keen. Like most of the students in fact. He wants to learn, and he likes to hear stories from abroad. I asked him which country he would most like to visit (telling him that I didn't expect to hear the UK). He answered 'Holland'. This slightly surprised me, but he seemed very excited when I said that he might be able to meet Wilko - a real dutch man. In return for this, he showed me around the farm at Kellamino with all of the cows. It was actually quite nice to see cows. They looked Fresian but larger and with horns. At the end of the line was the bull, firmly chained. The registrar looked at it and kept saying 'it's so big'. Where you entered the cow shed, there was an antiseptic mat. It felt a bit like when the foot and mouth problems were in the UK. I wonder if that is an issue here.

Now that we have tested the computers at Kellamino, we can get them moved here. It is going to take a long time to set them all up. I hope to be able to use the students for this. Not as cheap labour, but I think that they will genuinely appreciate the chance to do a job.

I sent a letter to Prof. Paul this week asking about the computers in the lab upstairs. While I was being diplomatic, I did mention that I was unsure exactly who owned them, and why they were here. Prof. Paul sent a reply back which unfortunately did not make it to me because of problems with email. Instead, he sent the reply back via TDA. A sensible option but it did mean that I had to respond to questions from my boss about why I had said that things were unclear. Also, I had been told that it would probably be best not to bother Prof. Paul. Somehow, I couldn't see that an American academic would count this as bothering. At the time that I was having to respond, I had not seen the email (nor had my boss). So I was only guessing at the contents. It came as a great relief and vindication on Friday, when I was able to pick up the email. The machines were a gift, and we could do as we wanted. In fact Prof. Paul was extremely helpful in describing the machines and his plans. I am very glad that I sent the mail, even though I got into a mild bit of trouble. Now we can use the computers and Prof. Paul will get a better lab to use next time he visits.