jeudi, mars 08, 2007

Luis is the IT crowd

OK, so I haven't actually watched any of the IT Crowd episodes, so I can't be entirely sure that I was "the IT crowd" today, but it seems like a good comparison. You see, 12 brand-new G5 iMacs finally arrived for the computer lab at the UCParis Centre today, so I put in a substantial 8 hours setting up the computers, transferring the default OS image onto them, testing each one, making the final adjustments and changes as necessary, and running all of the cabling through the very neat and streamlined new cabinetry we have in the room.

When it comes to setting up large numbers of computers, it's usually rather inefficient to start each one from scratch, initializing the operating system, registering it, installing all the software you want for your computer lab, and creating the complex system of user profiles, permissions and passwords that are necessary for secure system management. Instead, what most people do is set up one computer well in advance, create a copy of the entire hard disk, and then copy that disk image onto the the hard disks of the new computers, deleting the out-of-the-box system and overwriting it in the process.

The transfer of the original image only takes a little while, but the task is substantially extended by all the little things you need to do afterwards. You need to check for any new updates available for the operating system (Mac OSX in this case), open all of the programs once to allow them to create their preferences lists, add the network printers and test the connections, make little adjustments that you didn't forsee (e.g., changing the paper size in Word's "Normal" template), and so on. Anyway, all of this meant that I didn't leave work until about 8pm.

One of my profs was in town again (the same one that came touring through Paris with her partner a few months ago), this time with her mother in tow. I gave her a call as I was wrapping up work, and we made plans to eat dinner at La Tour de Montlhéry -- Chez Denise. I had heard of this place before on and my boss gave it a glowing recommendation, so I called them and made reservations for 22h00 (the restaurant is open pretty much all night).

Ordering our food was a bit chaotic for a number of reasons: the place was packed an noisy--with a particularly shrill woman seated very close to us; the waiter spoke quickly and mumbled, which made it hard for a group of 3 foreigners; the menu, which was written on a slate board, was organizing in a confusing manner, grouping the seafood main dishes with the appetizers. After a fair bit of confusion and translation, we finally got our orders in. I had an appetizer of raw salmon slices marinated in lime juice and olive oil, my prof had no appetizer, and her mother had the same salmon dish. For our main meals, I had a mutton and white-bean preparation that was very similar to cassoulet, my prof had a braised salmon dish, and her mother had tripe in calvados (ew).

The food was lovely, the portions were HUGE (I mean, ridiculously so) and the wine selection was great. By midnight, we had finished our meal, paid the bill, and stumbled out onto the Paris métro back to our respective abodes.

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