Robiana Jones and The Temple of Bond (University)

The air was musty and it was dark. Pitch dark. I could feel that the corridor was narrow but I was reluctant to touch the walls because of the roaches. Poisonous spiders would be the bigger concern but they are less disgusting.


I lit the torch, more scared of what I would see rather than the unknown.

The corridor had made a sharp turn. More crude walls, dancing shadows as I waved the torch. Half-empty cardboard boxes left and right on the floor, the cardboard severely damaged by the humidity. Very old hardware in the boxes, probably pre 80ies. Cables for Apple Lisa, half-broken keyboards for the IBM PC. Gruesome.

Feeling a shiver running down my spine I thought I heard someone moaning in agony. Self-deception. I pulled myself together.

"What am I doing here?", I thought. No way that someone could put a rack with 5-10 Sun UltraSPARCs running a Linux cluster in here.

I was suspecting betrayal and was smelling a rat. And the rat even had a name: Jim McElroy.


Casablanca, a few days earlier.

I had just entered the little cafe close to the French quarters when I spotted him. He was sitting in a bay left to the stage watching the small group of dancing girls. They looked cheap as did their choreography, but Jim was behaving as if he was Ziegfeld himself.

When I approached him, he hardly took notice of me.

Ooops, sorry. Wrong movie. Again:


Bond University, a few days earlier.

I had just entered that tiny office inside the IT faculty. The office was so small that you could hardly miss him. He was sitting in his self-made cubicle left to the three monitors where he watched the vitals of the small group of servers. The stats were flatlining as nothing interesting happened on the boxes, but Jim was behaving as if he were in Akamai's HQ.

When I approached him, he hardly took notice of me.

  • Hi Jim, I'm here again to ask when I can put my Linux cluster into the school's server room? In the meantime I managed to get hold of a rack, so ...

He gave me the sincerity look.

Look Robert, we have no space for this in the server room.

I begged to differ:

  • Jim, the room is big enough. I have been there. It is half-empty.
... no, because we got so many new servers. And I'm also sure that we ran out of power plugs. And ....

He continued his ex-wife argumentation technique of piling unconnected arguments onto each other:

... we are also too busy to help you out with that.

I had seen Jim's monthly activity reports. Sysadmin work for 5 machines and lending 35 CDs to staff last month. If jobs could kill...

As always, he was trying to be helpful, though:

Robert, you should ask central services whether they have room for your machines in the medical building. Alledgedly, there will be a server room, too.

Probably now was the time to state something obvious:

  • Jim, the medical building is not even planned, yet alone built!

He was not embarrassed. Australians cannot be easily embarrassed.

Ok, Robert, but you can put the machines in the connection tunnel underneath the university. But you will have to check it out yourself.

So the next day I grabbed a torch, my whip and my hat. I was determined to find a place for my babies.

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Nothing compared to IT-support team at towson university where you have to chisel your desire on a CAVE entrance! Needless to say it takes a month before responded by the right guru with their magical wisdom - right about the time the machines started giving smoke signs.

Marcus (not verified) | Fri, 11/30/2007 - 04:55

Re: IT support

Central IT support at Bond University was actually not bad. Only the people they hired for the faculty (as long as it was one), were mostly hired for ... political reasons (to pretend technical independence from central services).

And since there was no real independence, Bond IT only got ... well, what it deserved.

All in all, Jim fitted perfectly into the Bond landscape: a lot of pseudo activity busybodiness, but absolutely no impact.

So sad his position was removed. Without any consequences, mind you.

rho | Fri, 11/30/2007 - 10:21