Columns / Discourse / November 10, 2010

What’s Wrong with Knox: The Internet

I will preface this piece by saying that I am not well versed in the technical side of the Internet and there is a good chance what I am saying might be easily fixed, but the issues I have been facing have been very frustrating. I do understand these issues may be trivial compared to bigger issues that some people like Arthur Sedgwick, in honorable letters to the editor, have to face on a daily basis, but if we are promised and pay for proper internet service then I expect to have a well-functioning connection.

First off, let’s talk about the connection issue. I own a fancy iMac and over the past few weeks the connection has been more than aggravating. I usually have to spend many minutes fixing my Internet every day, turning on and off and on and off my wireless connection, or messing with the 802.1X password thing. I just find it odd that the Internet drops at the rate it does. When I am on deadline for an assignment this can require precious minutes to fix, giving me less time for my work.

Second off, the bandwidth has dropped to a trickle. This bandwidth shrinkage has become more prevalent over the past few weeks. I am not sure if these two problems have to do with something related, but when simple text pages take 30 seconds to load or videos stop every two seconds to buffer, I just want to smack my head against my desk. I do understand that thousands of people are using the Internet service on campus, but we no longer live in the day and age of dial-up service and I can’t go on living like this.

Third, the password update. As you all know, recently we now have to change our passwords every 30 days. Let me repeat that: every 30 days. This has provided worry in my future. I have to think up a new password every month. There are passwords that are saved on my computer that I will have to change and I would like to bet that maybe this change has led to the connection issues. This might lead to written down passwords, which will inevitably lead to more stolen passwords.

Last but not least, Sophos. This fun antivirus software that the college requires us to have installed has provided fun for me and my 2,600,000 items on my computer. A scan on my computer takes over a day and sucks up needed CPU capability that I should be using to edit photos or help run the ten programs that I can easily have open at one time. I will admit, and I bet this will come back to bite me: I have my Sophos disabled. I keep it off since I have never suffered from a virus and I don’t trust a random antivirus software on my computer. I keep it on there to keep being allowed to log into the Internet and I hope that this loophole is never fixed. It does cause a bit of connection issues while the network thinks I am missing some of the remediation software, but I am not. It is on my computer, that’s all that is needed, so let me log in.

That’s all I got this week. Please, Computer Department, fix these issues or inform me what I can do to improve performance and bypass the 30-day password change requirement. I will inform the computer department that I will most certainly not turn back on Sophos unless they get us a more trustworthy name in antivirus software or figure out how to have this software on the servers as the info comes into the school’s network and not have our personal computers suffer the CPU power destruction.

John Williams

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