Melrose High School, Melrose, MA

Melrose High School, Melrose, MA

Monday, February 24, 2014

State of the Computers

Here at Melrose High we have learned to adapt to things not working, breaking, or being from the stone age. The physical building is probably giving all of us exotic diseases that we will not fully feel the effects of until we are all too far gone. We put up with windowless triangular-shaped classrooms that change from stuffy, muggy, and intolerable in the warmer months to cold, harsh, and unbearable in the winter. We put up with eating lunch at times other people refer to as “brunch” or “early dinner.”  We have lived through gas leaks, bomb threats, and days that should have been snow days. We have learned a new schedule after following the same one for most of our high school careers.  We have embraced all that has been thrown at us; the good, the bad, and the very, very ugly. Melrose High has been a challenge to many, presenting obstacles and creating stress for those who try wholeheartedly to survive. 
Taking journalism has been one of the best decisions of my high school career. I have taken the class for two years. With each year I have learned new, interesting, and important things about reporting and news in general. For those who don't know what we do in journalism, we put out a paper every few months. We also update a blog. Becasue we live in the twenty first century, we use computers to type, edit, and put together our work for our blog and paper. But as many of you may notice, the journalism class is rarely in the resource center using the computers. That is because the English department has their own special computer lab. I know, it is pretty exciting and cool. But anyone who has actually entered that computer lab located in Room 328 would know that those computers rarely work. They are older than all of our grandparents combined, and probably enjoyed some time with the dinosaurs.
The computers, when and if they ever turn on, work, but very slowly. You can almost open the internet and Microsoft almost lets you type without a glitch every ten seconds. But when these computers are turned off, they take forever to turn on. And I'm not kidding when I say forever. We have about five computers in that lab that actually “work.” But “work” is an ambiguous word.
I was curious about the efficiency of our dear computers, so I tested them. First I turned all the computers off, then back on. I timed how long it took for them to start. A new computer takes less than two minutes to turn on. The computers in the blue or red lab take about four, or maybe five, minutes to turn on completely. After they are on, it doesn’t take very long to either open the internet or Microsoft. So I went through every computer in the English lab, turned them fully off and then timed how long it takes for them to fully load. You might be thinking that it couldn't possibly take that long, but the quickest computer takes about sixteen minutes to load. Now that means turning it on, going through the control-alt-delete page, and then eventually opening up Microsoft takes sixteen minutes. You might not think sixteen minutes is a long time to load a computer. But when classes are fifty-seven minutes, and realistically you take away seven minutes for the beginning or end of class to settle in or pack up you are left with fifty minutes. Now take away sixteen minutes to load your computer. Now you are at thirty-four minutes. Take at least another ten minutes to open the internet and Microsoft. That leaves twenty-four minutes. Now quick! Start an article or finish the one you have been working on. Don’t forget to save it or try to e-mail it before the bell rings and you need to run off to your next class. It is impossible to accomplish any noticeable amount of work in this time frame.
All this ranting does have a point, I promise. My anger is not necessarily the inefficiency of the computers, but rather the lack of recognition of this. At this point I would like to take a second and say I am not blaming the administration. But at the same time, I'm not sure they realize how awful some of the supplies we have are. There is not much we can do about the physical building, unless we literally tear it down, but students should be provided with computers that work. I don’t want to point fingers because maybe there are other reasons why we do not have better computers. I just do not believe this is the best the school can provide for us.
By: Elisa Lemack

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