Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

Challenging Day

Last night was installing software in the PC till midnight, which was too late since I had to be up at 6, so I thought, to get to SF State by 8:30 for the World Savvy school challenge day. Did manage to get on the road by 7:20, but there was no real traffic, so I was at the university by 8:15. Way too early it turns out because when I looked at my judge's info, I didn't have anything scheduled till 10:30. Wish I'd known.

The challenge was based on global water issues, and in the morning there were posters to judge which ranged from "I could have doodled that on a piece of cardboard in 4th grade" all the way to master's in graphic design. There were also a couple of major "think outside the poster" displays. One of the ones I judges had a hand-made paper mache frog on it, and another one they had built a well with a bucket raised to the top about half scale.

Morning was supposed to be judging four skits, but one school had bailed so we only had three. Two middle schools and a high school. They were all pretty god on paper, but only the high school one was good in performance. One of them was supposed to be a World Court session prosecuting a water management company for mis-managing their global projects, and Coke for buying Vincente Fox and gaining such a stranglehold on the water supply that mothers were feeding babies Coke instead of breast feeding. Trouble is they had been rehearsed on their lines so vigorously that they just whipped the words out at 100mph with no inflections and no feeling and gave the impression of not understanding a word they were saying. During the Q&A, it was clear they did all understand, they just needed some acting lessons. The other middle school had an absorbing presentation, but it was only 5 minutes long (they were supposed to take 20) and during Q&A it was clear they had no clue about the scale of the problem they had tackled - oceanic plastic pollution. It was painfully clear none of them had ever flown over the Pacific - their answers were like they thought the ocean was, oh, just a little bigger than the Sacramento River. One statement they made really scared me - they blamed the whole plastic pollution thing on the USA - "they don't have this problem in Asia". Sheesh.

The best one was a high school class which did a musical skit (and I use the term "musical" in a very broad sense here) on how a single redheaded woman in Chile fights the big water management company whose dam has cut off the water supply to her village - and wins. With the help of the government. Yeah, right. As absurd as the plot was, they had a lot of energy, they knew their parts cold, they brought out their characters and they all knew what they were talking about and how incredibly implausible the ending was.

Lunch was out on the lawn in the sun with six other judges, four of whom were major league eye candy (nothing beats the combination of brains plus beauty for me - three grad students and a Fulbright scholar), and then part II, which was collaborative presentation. This is where they take students who have never met, all from different schools, in groups of 5-8, throw them a packet with a problem description and three possible solutions, and they need to agree on opne solution and present it to the judges with everyone in the group participating. It was a pretty tough question this time, and none of the solutions were acceptable, both IMHO and also those of the other judges and the students. The first group was 6 high school girls, and they presented like they had been together all week. Q&A showed they knew more than just what was on the info they had been handed. Very impressive. The middle school group was next, and they had no clue, were very shy, and were completely daunted by the task and the problem. Pretty much my social skills level from that age.

We were done at 3:00, I wasn't interested in closing ceremonies because we only got to see a tiny sampling of the contestants, so who won didn't mean anything to me. And I was needing a nap.

So, home by 4, took a nap (both cats joined me) and then started in again installing software on the PC. I'm almost done. I also took the time to toss old CDs and put the ones I still needed into a new, smaller binder. Threw out twice as many as I kept. Everything activated without a problem except Windows 7, but that went smoothly if tediously. susandennis asked for details, so here they are:
1. Click on "activate online"
2. A dialog box comes up after 20 seconds saying to call an 888 number. It displays a 1,752- character code in numbered sets of 5 characters
3. Call the 888 number and press a number to get the activation AI
4. The AI has you read the code, one group at a time.
5. Somewhere in this process it asks how many computers are using this product ID code, an d the right answer is "1"
6. When all the characters have been spoken, click "next" in the dialog box and an equal number of blank boxes appear. The AI tells you way too much about what you already know you will be doing next, and reads you each set of counter-codes, one by one. Slowly. It then asks if you want to continue, and just as you're getting ready to say "continue" it tells you you can also say "repeat", and then prompt to continue again. It is not voice-activated, so you have to sit through the full prompt each time. It gets better. Starting with the second set of characters, the prompt lengthens to "back up, repeat of continue", again after prompting to continue. Artificial stupidity.
7. You have now been on the phone for about 10 minutes, and when you hit "activate" again it accepts it, and you're done.

I haven't fired up the old PC since activating windows on the new one, but I figure it will give me the 3-day grace period. I'll need a day to wipe the RAID array, but the root drive I can scrub from a bootable CD.

So far the only glitches have been in the transfer not saving the data paths for some programs, so I'll probably have the move some of my files back to their default folders on C: instead of on the RAID drive.

The new PC is pretty fast, which was the whole point. I put the covers one, and hope they can stay in place for a while.

Plans for tomorrow:
Pet Club/Petco for kitty stuffz

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