Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Secret Messages

To the University's IT Department
Do you really expect us to read the email you sent from "IT Security Awareness" with the subject of "passwords"? And the new password requirements are stupid; I can change my current, non-secure password to one of your new-and-improved secure passwords by adding !! onto the end of it. All this to protect what? Access to the library's proxy server? Blackboard? My WebMail account? Don't you have real work to do?

To My Dad:
Yes, there was a time in the 1980s where you were the world expert on a certain facet of how to teach probability to teenagers. But just because you don't remember the precise definition of "mutually exclusive" doesn't mean that I'm being unreasonable by requiring my students to know it. Also, your advice of "just teach them the formula because thinking about it is too hard" misses the whole point of why I'm teaching them anything at all -- they already know how to use formulas; they don't know how to think.

To Timothy:
  1. Not knowing the difference between your computer's memory and hard drive capacity makes you look foolish.
  2. When you complain about your Mathematica calculation of a 24,000 by 100,000 matrix (generating and then row-reducing it) will take up all of your computer's memory and/or hard drive capacity but then won't tell me more about the problem and insist that you must use Mathematica and won't let me try to write a program that solves your problem because you don't want to share authorship of the resulting paper, well, then you lose your right to complain. I don't want to hear about it any more.

To the Woman at the Grocery Store:
When you challenge the scanned price of an item and the developmentally disabled bagger calls you on it, saying you are wrong and the store is right, you should probably let it go. Because you will be embarrassed if you make him go get the shelf tag and he comes back and goes on and on (at quite a volume) explaining how you have to be stupid to miss what it says. And after this drama plays out (with you in the wrong), holding up the line? Don't pay by check.