Saturday, December 07, 2013

[jules' pics] MAC Excess

It's a tough life working for JAMSTEC. Here's my desk on our last day.

MAC excess

By the third from last purchase, when we were told to buy new computers if ours were more than 3 years old, because there was too much money to spend, I'd run out of good names and called my new Mac Pro "MACXS". The only mitigating circumstance is that these are the sum total of both our computers. The oldest dates from 2008, which is a long time in PC world, but Macs almost all just keep looking new. One is broken beyond repair and another so well used that it is held together with string and sticky tape. But another only has a dodgy trackpad, and the iMac's disk blew up a few weeks ago; we would have got that fixed if we were staying.

So what happens to all these computers now? Usually when someone leaves, precisely nothing happens. We have been there longer than almost everyone, and since our research was so fundable, we had three large budgets we had to help spend on our really rather cheap science. Computers and travel are what we bought. So I think we have accumulated more than average. We have at least got someone in another program interested in taking the latest two laptops. But I don't hold out much chance of the Mac Pros going to a good home - everyone will want the new style tiny black desktop thingie... I prefer the old one, as the modularity was very useful for spending up budget. Buy a base model one year and then ramp up the disks, RAM, graphics whenever the budget demanded to be spent. If only the motherboard could also have bee upgraded...

Things are going to be different now! We have a beautiful second hand laptop from Akihabara with his'n'hers partitions.

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 12/07/2013 04:14:00 PM


Steve Crook said...

This bit caught my eye:

"and since our research was so fundable, we had three large budgets we had to help spend on our really rather cheap science"

How do you get over funded?

James Annan said...

Well, we get a modest share of the core budget, which never gets spent up, and there's a big external project that pays (paid) for most of our salary, and then our friend who runs a huge project bunged us ¥10m per year for a post-doc - obviously there's a lot left over after their salary is paid, which due to budgetary rules can only be spent on all the travel we can stomach. That's a lot of air miles, even between 3 of us!

Recently our division spent about ¥900,000 on a new projector for the small informal meeting space near our cubicles - it's more trouble than its worth, as old laptops have trouble connecting to it. I was seminar organiser only last year and bought a new projector at that time.

Part of the issue is that there has been downward pressure on salaries for some time, so the spare money has to go on toys. Most of the issue is that the institute is basically bonkers.

Mitch said...

I hope you fare well after leaving Japan. Since I work with many Japanese scientists from afar, I have always been interested to see how JAMSTEC works from the inside. Your blog (both words and images) has been a great window.

EliRabett said...

One of the problems with modelers and theoreticians is that they really don't know how to burn money. Give an experimentalist like Eli the job and he will fill the building with lasers, turbo pumps and electronics. Give a ground truther the money and whoa, expeditions to farest Thule AND equipment for climbing glaciers.

Modelers. . . a couple of dingy MACs and they think they have contributed to the economy