Thursday, March 13, 2008

Out of the Office

Yesterday in class I told my students that I was leaving for Los Angeles that afternoon. We joked about it. They said that I should just let them out early and leave. I replied that I had another class that afternoon, and I had to stick around for that one, so we might as well have class. I told them that I'd planned my travel so that I could attend all my classes. I didn't tell my students that I was skipping computer science to leave on my trip.

So far I have dealt with jet lag, had a minor migraine, and made arrangements to meet up with my co-author.

Today I got a VERY URGENT email from one of my students. He needs me to tell him who his TA is and what his TA's email address is so he can email his TA about something very urgent. (We are, um, about nine weeks into the semester.)

Yes, I could have looked up that information. Yes, I could have figured out how to access the university's webmail system so that I could write back to him.*

But I'm out of the office, and this information is not hard to find on the internet. His class schedule in the online registration system tells him the names of all his instructors (including TAs). The university directory (or the math department web page) is a great place to look for your TA's contact information. I tapped out a short reply on my phone telling him that I was out of the office and couldn't help.

*Where I'm staying I don't have access to outgoing SMTP. There's some sort of block on my connecting to port 25 of ANYTHING. And the university doesn't have their SMTP set up in a way where I can authenticate to it from off-campus -- well, not unless I want to use their VPN, which seems like a bit of overkill just to be able to send mail. I can send things by turning off Wi-Fi on my phone, as AT&T's EDGE will let me connect to any SMTP that will take me.