Pengolodh (s.c) (pengolodh_sc) wrote,
Pengolodh (s.c)

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Exams and other nuisances

Had another monster exam Monday-Wednesday. Didn't go as well as could be hoped for, I'm afraid. Not a fail, mind you, but I am concerned nonetheless. This exam was a group exam of more practical nature - the group (of four persons, and slightly less than fully satisfactory group dynamics - if looks could kill, two of the members would have reduced each other to chunky meatsauce on the floor by the end of the exam) is given a fictional business or organisation, which for some reason needs a brand new local area network, and we have to set it up both in Novell Netware 6 SP 5 and Windows Server 2003.

For this year's exam we had to plan and set up a network for an upper secondary school (Norwegian equivalent of US High School, duration three years) with 200 students and ca. 50 teachers (now that's an impressive ratio!) of which two are leaders for their respective departments. Due to laws and regulations the administration must be on a separate LAN, and so does not come into this. Teachers within a department should be able to access a common file-area with full rights, and department-heads should be able to access both file-areas. Everyone should have a home-area.

Each class (in Norwegian schools up to year 12 all students belong to a class, and have all non-elective subjects with that class - it's as if a homeroom had all subjects together) of the nine classes - two per year-level in one department, one per year-level in the other- should have a common area split in two parts, one where they can only collect tests and graded exercises, and the other where they can only turn in homework and graded exercises.

There should be two printers per department, accessible only to the department, with the department heads as operators - on W2K3 they should be distributed by scripts.

Everyone should have a roaming profile, but the students should not be able to make changes to their profile.

On the W2K3-network we should also set up DNS and DHCP, and make a RIS-image of a workstation with patched-up XP SP2 and Office 97, and an MSI-package of WinRAR. Various scripts should be made, too.

We did an OK job on some parts and did most things right in principle layout of trees, folder-structures, etc.) but made some foul-ups on the execution - for instance such things as forgetting to give users actual rights to the printers, or giving users NTFS-rights to a share, but forgetting the share-rights. Proper testing would have uncovered many of these things, but with 54 hours (plus a 1.5hour extension because the server-hardware failed when we were going to install the W2K3 server, and one replacement failed as well) to plan and execute a network on two different NOS, spend five hours going down the wrong track about adding lots of users in Novell (we wanted to use UIMPORT, but it couldn't add users without password and have Novell prompt them for a password on first login - they could just log in without password as much as they wanted) and write a report of the whole thing, and avoid killing each other, we simply didn't ahve much time for in-depth testing. I've heard rumours that part of the college's philosophy behind this style of exam is that everything should seem a whole lot easier once out in a job.

The class of around 40 has been divided in groups of four, and we are meant to do this exam as a group - I know of one who had to do his exam alone, because he was booted from his group (and some others that were booted from groups as well, but never even showed up to find out they were booted). Each group has one Pentium IV with 512MB RAM and a HD-tray (a tray where one inserts a tray harddrive and locks it with a key - it means one can have different OSs on different drives, and just switched the computer off, switch the drive, and restart) that would be the server, and two harddrives for the tray, and one Celeron with 256MB RAM and HD tray of a different type, with one harddrive for it, as a client-machine, and two PII, with 256 MB RAM, which we could also use as clients. We use XP Pro SP2 for the clients. For the exam, the tray drives were formatted.

We went home at around 10:45 pm the first day of the exam - due to bus-connections, I wasn't at home until 11:30pm; I was at school and working at 8am next day. The next day we didn't go home. I went home sometime around 5pm on Wednesday, in a slightly sleepwalking mode.

Upon coming home, I find out some things.

1: The landlord is having a modification done to the heaters of all the rooms, moving the thermostat from being actually on the heater (a wall-mounted electric panel-heater) to a location on the wall. The new unit also has some new energy-saving features. This was done today. What that meant yeaterday, was that I had to move and clean things around a lot, to make room to move the desk out of the way so the electrician could actually do his job. Therefore: not much rest before midnight, barring the two unplanned hours of sleep which happened when I fell over when sitting (when I was at the bathroom that evening, I had to concentrate seriously to avoid falling off the seat there). Also, not much reast this morning - they began in the neighbouring section half a floor down at around 8:15 this morning, and the process involves much hammering and drilling. Moreover, this is a building of brick and concrete, meaning that drilling and hammering, regardless of where in the building it happens, sounds like it is happening right next to your ear.

2: No shower for me - because the idiot Ghanan in room no. 1 had raided my showering-things (the scrub and so on - not the actual soap or shampoo) to scrub the floor of his room. I can't do anything about it either, because he did that in preparation for moving out, which he did sometime between Monday and Wednesday, and so he's not around to be done anything at.

3: One of the other co-residents in the section apparently almost managed to burn the place down (or at it might have made the place it foul-smelling enough to be uninhabitable), by putting something in the oven and forgetting about it, until the building's firealarm went off. I did wonder at the strange smell in my room, until I saw the front of the once-white stove, and wondered at how black it was. Some people from the cleaning-division came by today, to inspect that the moved-out Ghanan had left his room in a clean state, and gave some advise on how to clean up the stove (and also marvelled at how clean it was behind and under it, when they pulled it out to have a look), and even gave me a new set of curtains for the room.

Note: I live in student housing, where each building has six sections, each with four rooms of 10 square metres (108 square feet) sharing one kitchen of 19 square metres (205 square feet) and one bathroom. One resident lives in each room. Broadband of impressive bandwidth is available to the tune of US$25/month. The sections are six to a building, staggered on either side of a common stairwell, so that the sixth level is at the height of fourth floor counted in whole levels from the ground, including ground floor.
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