Sparky returns

The electricity has been a continuing source of amusement here lately, and lets face it, I’ve needed some amusement. Here are some samples:-

On monday,while I was teaching a Unix class, there came a series of loud bangs from the other side of the wooden screen that divides the lab. Teachers were running in all directions, three of them had been tinkering with one of the donated machines that we’ve not set up yet. It was brought from the USA… you can guess what happened can’t you? They had connected it to 240v Kenyan Stima and its used to 110v USA power. Bang went the PSU with an attractive puff of smoke. When the students stopped screaming and sat back down, we continued with our class.

Thursday was the Feast Of Holy Rosary so there was a special mass in the morning which delayed the start of my class for an hour. Those students can really sing! And they were doing some wild counterpoint clapping thing too in one of the songs. I could have listened to it all day. When we finally got to the lab the uninterruptable power supplies started singing to us on-and-off, though the lights were still on. Finally the UPSs started to give up the holy ghost and the students moved from one machine to another when the one they were working on blinked out of existence. Kioko and I ran about in panic shutting down computers and looking at circuit breakers and turning off fans, but all to no avail. Finally my 7 students were using the last 7 computers that still had a little Stima left. And then, one by one, they too blinked out. The students doubled up, two to a machine, they are accustomed to this sort of behaviour. After a while even the lights went out and we took up pens and paper.

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