Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Computer Lab

The college library computer lab is a busy place with a vast array of uses. Many enter the lab with a distinct idea of where they're going. Some head to their favorite computer, and if it is taken they sit at the next closest computer. One man actually grabbed his "favorite computer" (left the one he was working at) after a person left. The main destination determinant in finding a computer is the Mac-PC distinction. I saw one person move from the mac section to the PC section, but that was the only cross-over.

There is a lot of movement, as many people get up to print, go to the bathroom, or head to the open book cafe for a snack. There is a lot more food in the computer lab now that they've added the snack cafe. I noticed this in the beggining of the year. Many people are snacking on chips or candy, one person is eating a sandwich, and most people have some sort of beverage at their workstation.

The sounds are muted, as people who are eating are clearly trying to chew quietly, and phone conversations are, for the most part, kept at a wisper. The occastional loud cell phone ring is the most significant noise. Many people offer looks of disgust to a girl who's cell phone blasts an annoying ring. Then it takes her four 'rings' (of the Popeye the sailor man theme song) to finally answer it. Many people are clearly annoyed.

As I work on designing my advertisment for UBS, I notice I'm 'clicking' a lot and I begin wonder if I'm bothering people. Using photoshop tends to involve more clicking and I'm concerned-for about a minute-that I'm annoying the people around me, but then a girl near me answers her cell phone at a regular-non-wisper-volume and I'm over my concerns.

The smell of the lab is indistinct, all I can really smell is my own gum, but I have a considerably insensitive sense of smell compared to most people I know. It is interesting to note that the seperators at the Mac stations seem to allow the person to feel more privacy, while the open station people seem a bit more self aware.

A person walking into the lab stumbles and drops a book, almost everyone looks up. I almost feel bad for the girl, it was not a very warm welcome into the lab.


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