OPINIONS

Dear RCC…

Every year, the number of computer science majors who apply to be a dorm Residential Computer Consultant (RCC) shrinks a little, thanks to well-meaning, bright-eyed and eager students like me. We can’t remember what life was like before the MacBook Pro and the Apple-Option-Escape, but we wouldn’t mind a single room and the most stable yet undeserved source of income we’ll likely receive for the next few years.

That said, despite my psychology major, I’m not a complete rookie when it comes to computers—I grew up in the Silicon Valley, took CS 106A and recently learned how to embed GIFs in Gmail. However, my ability to troubleshoot Wi-Fi connectivity is still limited to opening Chrome, Googling “Hello,” and if all else fails, removing the battery. Nevertheless, I owe it to my future residents to treat this position as a learning experience rather than a surefire way to avoid the Draw, so I have created a “Dear RCC” column to practice my duty as a computer consultant and to encourage other RCCs to brainstorm solutions to even the trickiest of problems. My hope is that students will feel comfortable coming to me with any and all computer-related issues—and hopefully strike up a good conversation in the meantime!

***

 

Dear RCC,

My Internet isn’t working; what should I do???

Love,

Ornery in Okada

 

Dear Ornery in Okada,

I’m very sorry to hear that. Indeed, my Internet was also acting up this morning after I took it into the shower with me and put my “Norah Jones” playlist on maximum volume. I ended up taking a longer than average shower due to the slow cadence of Norah Jones’s singing, so when I toweled myself and my MacBook Air off, I noticed that a few things were awry (with my laptop—I was of course feeling gloriously refreshed). For one, it refused to turn on, so I submerged it in rice (brown, quinoa mix) and waited for about three hours. After that, the Internet was working extremely efficiently, and I was able to order a “St. Bernards in the Alps” calendar before it went off Amazon Prime.

In summary, I’ll receive that calendar in two business days, which I consider a huge personal success. I hope this helps you with your problem! These situations can be frustrating, but it is important to go about your day as usual. Good luck!

Sincerely,

RCC

***

 

Dear RCC,

My last computer crashed, and I lost everything on ithow do I make sure that it doesn’t happen again?

Nervous in Narnia

 

Dear Nervous in Narnia,

Very sorry to hear that—I’m guessing you were playing Tetris on Marathon mode and the entire computer overheated. When you put yourself and your computer into such high-stress situations, it is crucial that you have all the lights turned off and a powerful fan nearby for at least 24 hours, since we all know that pausing a Tetris game on Marathon mode is akin to taking a bathroom break in the middle of the SAT and getting a 2400.

You should also start thinking more seriously about the kinds of information you keep on your laptop. I print out every important document I own, and I burn my favorite songs onto CDs and cassette tapes. This is not only economical, but also makes your room look like it could belong to a famous screenwriter or perhaps the guy from “A Beautiful Mind,” who believes he is a spy and collects newspaper clippings. Everything else I value is on YouTube, and that can be accessed from most major computers (except the ones in Green that only allow you to print and look at the emergency exit diagrams).

I hope that helps. Please be sure to let your friends know about these life hacks, because I am asked about this problem far too often, which can be a very tearful experience (on both sides).

Sincerely,

RCC

***

Dear RCC,

I think I clicked on a bad link, and now my computer has a virus. How do I get rid of it????

Hacked at Haus Mitt

 

Dear Hacked at Haus Mitt,

That is serious indeed. May I ask why you were motivated to click on said link? Indeed, during the winter months, I thought I would start getting fit so I would look my best in Cabo, at Coachella, on Wilbur Field, etc. However, I wished to do this with minimal upper and lower body movement, so (as you can imagine) I was having quite a difficult time finding the right regimen. One day, a link that promised to reveal three secret tricks for an incredible body transformation within one to two weeks suddenly and unexpectedly popped up on my Twitter feed. I happily entered my credit card information (it was the least I could do) and waited to receive these pearls of wisdom as I teetered on the edge of my computer chair.

Alas, I should have known this was too good to be true. Within seconds, Google Chrome had shut down, a newer version of iTunes began to download (not entirely a bad thing) and all 47 of my sticky notes began disappearing from my desktop (which was devastating, as I had been working on a quite a few springtime haikus on those notes). I also got a call from my bank, which had been alerted by the purchase of 400 Chia pets from Guangdong, China.

I had been phished, as they say in certain computing circles. The phrase was derived in the same way that “phat” and “phabulous” were derived from Ludacris’s hit song “Phat Rabbit.” In the future, it is important to note that sites asking for your personal information are probably not entering you into their iPad mini raffle. We have all made that mistake, so do not feel too foolish.

There is little you can do other than disassembling your computer entirely and placing each part in a separate location. This will ensure that the infected region of the computer does not spread the infection to the other, healthy parts. As your computer waits in quarantine, try and find the silver lining to this situation and spend time with friends, family and the environment. Spend a few days camping or meditating. Let your body detox along with your infected computer. I promise that this will only make the reunion with your laptop more meaningful.

Hope this helps!!! Always remember: safety first, especially on the Internet.

Sincerely,

RCC

***
I plan to maintain this correspondence in my residence, perhaps in a weekly newsletter, to ensure anonymity and allow my students to speak their minds. I know I have a long road ahead of me—as do my other, more inexperienced RCC peers—but I have no doubt that my dedication and commitment to my residents will compensate for my (few) personal shortcomings as a computer consultant.

            And if my recent midterm grade is any indication of how I’ll do as an RCC, then a C+ isn’t a bad omen.

 

Uttara Sivaram thinks Karel is a real person. Convince her otherwise at usiv@stanford.edu.

  • guest

    lol

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