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1:30pm on Wednesday, 4th March, 2015:

No Point


I gave one of my more popular CE217 classes yesterday, in which I split students into pairs and they take on the role of produced at a start-up. Yes, it's basically an educational game. They have to pick their lead designer, programmer and artist, then hire staff based on what these people recommend, then there are a number of incidents occur (some general that affect everyone, some specific that arise from their earlier choices) then at the end we see whose fictional game sold the most copies. The winning team gets a box of chocs (which I buy myself, because the university doesn't sanction that kind of expense).

Unfortunately, no matter how much I try to keep the game on schedule, it always overruns. One team will take 10 minutes making decisions everyone else has completed in 5; another will keep asking queries because they weren't listening when I told them what to do and it doesn't occur to them to read the handout that has the answer written right there; another will have trouble with the difficult mathematics of adding up half a dozen numbers.

Yesterday was no exception, and we had about 5 minutes left to play at the time the class had to vacate the room. Given that the game itself ended with the fictional game development team going into crunch, this is somewhat ironic. Some people were still calculating scores, others were disputing scores; some were leaving their handouts on the desk while others were collecting them and putting them into order even though they were going straight into the recycle bin in the corridor outside. Anyway, as a result of this mayhem, I wound up minus my presentation pointer.

I went back two hours later (after the next lecture had finished) to collect it, but it had gone. Someone had decided they liked the look of it and taken it with them. This morning, I checked lost property in case it had been handed in, but the look the woman at the lost property desk gave me was roughly the same as the one I could have expected if I'd told them I'd lost a stuffed squid.

Now as it happens, I'm prepared for this! I have backup laser pointer. I got it when I forgot to take my pointer with me once for a talk, and it works fine.

Well, perhaps I should rephrase that. It works fine for Windows 7. It doesn't work for Windows 8, as I discovered this morning when I attempted to use it. Eventually, I had to give my talk by pressing keys on my laptop, like people used to have to do in caveman days. I'm going to have to buy a replacement.

The last time I bought a laser pointer, 5 years ago, I went to PC World. As PC world now seems to sell mainly televisions, telephones and electric kettles, I don't hold out much hope that they'll have any laser pointers in stock, so I ordered one off the Internet instead. It looks identical to the one I lost, so should be easy to use.

Hmm, only now does it occur to me that I should have checked eBay to see if I could buy back the one I lost yesterday.

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Copyright © 2015 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).