Friday, April 05, 2013

Welcome to the 19th Century

Our admin staff are not allowed to e-mail me a PDF file for me to assess a senior project ("dissertation") because University of Oxford doesn't considered that to be secure. This gives the option of either waiting for my return or snail-mailing me the dissertation. My evaluation is due not long after I return, and I am not going to deal with this during the first week of term when I am severely jetlagged, exhausted, stressed, and almost certainly in an awful mood. That simply doesn't help anybody and is physically extremely taxing for me. (The physical difficulty I have with traveling comes into play.)

So, given my restricted luggage space on my return, the agreed solution was to snail-mail me a USB stick with the PDF file (which I think only takes up something like a couple of megs) so that it could be sent to me in a 'secure' way. (Don't ask.) Nothing arrived for 2 weeks, so I queried our staff and was informed that "We had to order some USB sticks through the department and they've still not arrived." I suppose that is the only way to obtain such advanced technology? Thus, it looks like I will get the extra time to do the marking upon my return when the hard copies can be passed to me 'securely'. I can't wait to see what happens when the Oxford proctors discover Dropbox.

And in other news, Oxford academics are also expected to keep all of their savings in cash under their beds, because that is the only secure way to do it. (Thanks to Alain Goriely for this comparison. He's exactly right.)

As Craig Montuori suggested, we should have had the USB stick delivered to me via carrier pigeon. That's the traditional way of copying electronic files, after all.

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