It is rare that I find myself looking at a CRT in the States. The awkward shape of it, the bevel of the screen, the unruly center of balance, the lack of high-definition inputs – these things are ugly, and I hate them.
Why even bring these dinosaurs up? Well for one my eyes are currently attempting to escape their sockets as I stare into one. And for two, I am but one of about 100 engaging in this P4 fueled computing activity (not a single LCD in sight). But enough griping, down to business: how can you secure a seat in front of one of these beasts? The following takes place on the PUC-Rio campus:
First you need to stand in a line to retrieve a ticket dictating which computer you are to direct yourself to. Then, should you require the machine for longer than two hours, you will have to end your session and get a new ticket (should you desire to subject yourself to more time in the dungeon). But the fun doesn't stop there! Let's take it up a notch and say you need something printed. Holy gopher nuts – that is difficult in the America, how can it even be possible in the Brazil?
Now I would love to tell you about the printers used at PUC-Rio, but sadly I cannot.
Why? Because the (one?) printer is housed in a locked room at the end of a long corridor manned by a single student employee accessible via a grid-style window. This window houses a dozen shelves, and the unfortunate worker operating the printer stacks each item printed on a shelf corresponding to the final digit of the student's ID number.
To find your paper you must abandon your workstation, walk to the end of the hall, negotiate the crowd of people standing in wait and then repeatedly search the stacks of paper until your treasure surfaces.
And another thing, if you are going to be setting up an area where people will repeatedly need to pass in back of one another to access their workstations, you should be sure to allocate enough space as to accommodate the comfortable passing of patrons. I do not enjoy pressing my face against the screen to allow for the passing of people every thirty seconds (honestly, what the hell are these people getting up and sitting down for over and over again?).