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Vivian O'Dell | USLHC | USA

View Blog | Read Bio

Brains Not Included

2:15-hour skit for evening of 2009/02/06:

Sue Ann: Computer doesn’t have network support, problem is telephony service will not load without Blue Screen of Death.

MSTech: How are you today?

Sue Ann: Extremely frustrated.

MSTech: I am sorry to hear that.

—-[ Note to reader: Sue Ann does not need comforting, she needs a functional computer. ]—-
MSTech: Are you connecting from the machine that has the problem?

Sue Ann: That machine has no network.

MSTech: Please reinstall the display driver.

Sue Ann: Problem is telephony service. Display driver is working fine. Reinstalled anyway. Still crashing.

MSTech: Did you reinstall the display driver?

Sue Ann: Yes. It did not fix the telephony service.

MSTech: Please run this diagnostic tool and click on “send the result to M***”.

Sue Ann: That computer has no network. Your website to upload the file manually from another computer is broken.

MSTech: You just need to click on “send the result to Microsoft”.

Sue Ann: #*!&%[email protected]##%

Synopsis: Sue Ann eradicated W*** from coffee table. Sue Ann installed U*** beta. There exists at least speculation that beta is more stable than the W*** product.

Moral: This may be why high energy physicists are often their own system admins.

p.s. I do still (or perhaps more so now) retain the greatest respect for the gurus who administer these huge computing farms and grids that are the backbone of modern experimental physics.

  • Lac Léman

    The slides from the
    LHC Performance Workshop – Chamonix 2009
    from 2 to 6 February 2009
    are here:


    feel invited to take a look.

  • Mateus Teles

    Oh, well, Sue Ann… The MSTechs and techs for many other companies can be really dumb when they want to. Kinda alienated, I think. So each only knows the solution for one kind of problem, like the people who worked on factories back on the industrial revolution, doing mass production for cars, each one would know how to do something specific.
    I (as an IT student) hope that in the future, it will be much easier to solve our computer problems without having to rely on people giving canned responses.
    By the way, not to be unpolite to your fellow LHC bloggers, but yours is the only blog that I read. Sincerely, you can talk in a way that doesn’t make the non-physicist people’s head spin. I’ve had a hard time with mechanical physics last year (I’m on high school), but you talk about advanced stuff and I kinda understand it.
    Well, hope you post some more soon. Good luck with your work there

  • Marion Ringler

    Hello Sue Ann Koay,
    I was just roaming around the CERN blogs and found yours.
    My husband and I visited CERN a year ago and loved the
    whole experience. My husband bought a CERN coffee mug…
    his very favorite…and I broke it this morning!!
    I’m desperate to find another one for him!! Can you
    please help me? We live in the San Francisco Bay area
    and have friends in Santa Barbara. When you finally return back to Santa Barbara could you purchase a CERN
    mug for me? Once here I will gladly pay for the mug and the shipping to us. I know this is an “out of the blue”
    request…I’m just trying to think of some way to get
    him another CERN coffee mug. As I remember the gift shop is rather small and they wouldn’t send anything.
    Also, I checked and there is no on-line shopping for CERN items..
    Thank you for your time. I know you are terrible busy!!