IT Nazis


I spent the morning off campus (well, at another non-university-of-calgary campus) working in a place that actually made me appreciate the openness of the U of C networks.

I was installing a web application on a new server for them - something that usually requires a network connection (both to download the bits to install, and to let people use the thing after it lights up). The server was behind a scary virtual lan setup, and couldn't see anything outside of its own hub. No internet. No WAN. Nothing. And, nobody can see the server. You have to physically go to the server room, and plug into the same hub as the server in order to see it.

Apparently, if their IT notices a new machine on the LAN, they kill the switch. They block all IM traffic (I tried IMing Julian for some advice at one point, only to be blocked by the IT Nazis).

Frustrating as hell. I literally could not (would not?) work under such a restrictive network regime. Any place where you can't google to find what's going wrong, or to find a quick answer, is just plain unproductive. Any place that restricts communication (for whatever reason) is doing more damage than good. They may be saving money, though...

I firmly believe that putting the demands of IT ahead of the needs of the users is a dreadful thing to do. Without the users, there is no need for IT. IT is there to SUPPORT the people, not reign them in. It shows a pretty insane level of mistrust, and that is no way to run a post-secondary institution. It's a pretty crappy message to send your people - we don't trust you, and your needs are secondary to ours.

The U of C network folks, in spite of my complaining about them, are several orders of magnitude better than what these people have to settle for. I'm slowly learning to appreciate them a bit more ;-)

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