Posts Tagged ‘panic


Finals Time: Murphy’s Law of Computing

When you absolutely need to turn in your file for an assignment, you will lose all your work.  The more important and valuable the work, the higher the likelihood of complete failure.

Primarily my work consists of training college students on computer applications.  The young and old all need tech support.  However, the number one problem that is causing students to fail in their use of computers is simply backing up their critical files, papers and completed assignments.

How often do I have to repeat this advice?  How often do you need to hear how important the simple act of saving your work, and backing up that work.  Most recently a student completed a 3.5 hour final exam, saving it only on a flash drive.  They did not email it to someone, nor did they print out their work.  The whole time they did not back up the file either.  Shortly after pulling the drive from the usb port, they dropped it on the floor and ran over it with their 5-wheeled office chair while getting up.  “Crunch!”  Murphy citation.

Flash Drive, Network Drive or email.

If you are working on anything that takes longer to write than an email, you should be using a backup procedure.  You do have to option of creating backups to your memory device, but I suggest you periodically save the file in a separate drive – give that a little more time – but within 30 minutes you can create a sizable file.  At most colleges, you should have access to a server hard drive for storing a small about of materials (generally 10 megabytes or more).  Now that is enough for foiling Murphy.

All of us older computer users, hackers and nerds have been burned at least once.  We wrote Murphy’s law of computing, and we received our lessons in humility.  I once composed a 150 page training guide – which fortunately was printed in mass before my computer hard drive took a dive, and I lost the whole thing (representing 3 weeks of hard work).  I could elaborate further in expletives about how that stung, but all I will say is that I was chagrined.

In a world that over trusts in technology, you will see that you need to understand there are inherent risks in using technology.   The consequences, the fines and the punishments for disobeying Murphy are known to all.  Backup or when you are in a rush, have to turn in the final paper, and feel as frayed mentally as possible, and you might as well be prepared to have FAIL stamped on your output.   Damaged hard drives, flash drives and failed uploads to learning management systems, equal Fs.   Faculty have no choice, and even write in their syllabus how these excuses are not valid.

Take it a step further.  How would losing a precious work-related file affect you in the workplace?  College is the place to learn to backup or be burned, not the office.



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