Tim Chang, the since laid off Director of Housing, on kludgenet:
In my history and experience here, the students (while well-intentioned and knowledgeable), do not perform the work needed to specifications that are acceptable. I have an obligation to keep the mods in a condition that is well maintained and safe. Allowing the "Kludgenet" to exist as it is does not address either of these issues. The cables running around present tripping hazards and they do not maintain the appearance of the mods that I need to sustain. Simply "duct-taping" the cables down does not maintain the appearance of the mods either, making this an unacceptable solution.
First there was ITS. Comptrollers (students employed by ITS, including me) sent house emails giving advice on how to not break things. ITS staff varied on whether they believed there would be a spider web. Some things were made clear: breaking into network closets is bad, do not tell its staff, and they would not specifically look for anything. Also, buildings between Holliston and Hill are all on one network and bad things would happen if we brought it down. A wireless access point off nearby tacit house was proposed by the awesome staff Ruth-Anne Bevier but staff Joe Monaly objected on the basis of severely limited coverage and low bandwidth. It should be noted that even on the full network, ITS limits internet traffic to 10 Mbit/s per house.
Joe Monaly gave me two lists of problems with the trailer park network. He wanted me to give them to everybody in the hopes that Bill Nunez, trailer park project manager, would be sufficiently prodded. I took them to housing, ran into Tom Mannion, and he told me to forward everything to him. There was no reply.
We did not know if the buildings were on the same electrical ground. Later it became obvious that cables between Avery and Fleming were not a problem. Also cables between trailers were fine. Breaking into buildings such as Center for Student Services looked bad politically. So we were secretive. Eventually the plan turned into wireless from Avery. There were no ground problems, it did not involve breaking in, and had a very low probability of breaking things for ITS. The only concern was how much bandwidth we could get across the street.
Sunday the 10th ITS came to the trailer park to move the computer lab. Partly to poke fun at the housing contract that requires approval from housing for IT modifications, I had Dan Dilling ask for permission before. Apparently Tim Chang called him to give permission. Anyhow, back to moving in. The ITS staff there did not notice or did not want to notice the bright pink cable going between bathrooms. At the end of the day, Joe Monaly lent a switch to hook up the computer lab to the "printers."
For a few days, there was quiet. ITS was getting used to the idea. We drew maps of the network and they gave advice. Rumors about Tim Chang suggested he was looking for a way to get ITS's objection. The Ricketts and Dabney RAs were getting hooked up.
Then Tim Chang sent an email to house officers. Arthi forwarded it to Blacker house. Although he never directly said it, the popular summary was "unsightly and a tripping hazard." They were a tripping hazard. We offered to duct tape them down and Dabney discussed various methods of taping. Tim rejected these on the basis claim that it did not address the unsightly issue. Parth, a Flem who works for campus life, suggested I should wait for the real network. The Ricketts RA disconnected himself. The Dabney RAs sent a house email supporting kludgenet.
Many people, including Dstaff, Dalina, and Craig helped complain. Thanks to everyone who helped show that students care about internet access sometimes above working water.
A petition was put out. Joe Monaly wanted and reviewed parts about the contractor. In about a day of collecting signatures, 85 students signed. The only administrator who ever looked at the signatures was John Dundas and he was already swayed.
Brandi, our valiant Dabney president, had a public exchange with Tim Chang. Read the part about bullshit.
I fired off an e-mail to a bunch of administrators. It took very nearly took credit/blame for kludgenet, included the petition, and suggested possible solutions instead of directly mentioning problems with housing. Margo Marshak replied and said she would talk to ITS Infrastructure boss John Dundas. ITS had already worked on the problem by getting fiber to the computer lab earlier that day. I told her that ITS had been helpful and that the problem was with housing, naturally taking the suck-up opportunity and ccing John Dundas. John Dundas invited me to his office the next morning and solidified that ITS would not remove cables. He also commented on some of the non-network conditions. Margo Marshak replied to my e-mail by inviting me to her office.
Less than a minute after being invited by Margo Marshak, I ran back to my room, changed clothes, picked up a copy of the petition, and went to her office. Her secretary asked me if I was with Peter (Foley). Confused, both yes and no were offered as answers. Arthi, who was actually invited, had not shown up yet, so Peter suggested we could start with the network stuff. I ended up staying for the whole meeting. In a most awesome moment, she called out to her secretary to find out who at housing was in charge and tell them to not remove cables. Tim et al were at the RA retreat so it was kind of unclear who was in charge. She had me promise a few things: ITS would email housing saying they're ok with it, the cables would be taped, and they would be removed when the Real Network was in place. Margo Marshak said she wanted to see the site herself. Taking a quick lunch (cheese from a random platter elsewhere in Parsons-Gates) and delaying a meeting with the provost, she came to the site. Arthi, Peter, and I took her on a tour. The petition stayed in my hand the whole time.
John Dundas, in fufillment of Marshak's request proxied by me, sent a lovely e-mail to Tim Chang cc me. (Note: further down the thread than this, I asked if anybody had problems with copying to a wider audience and nobody replied.) The not-so-subtle poking makes this e-mail very worth reading. A refreshingly helpful Tim Chang replied. Later in the thread I push my luck and argue about the contact.
The next day, the Ricketts RA used wireless. Sometime later, Parth asked for
and received permission from campus life to setup a network in Fleming. Partly
to thank the Dabney RAs, they received their own direct connection to the
computer lab using about 60 meters of cable.
Cable connecting Dabney RAs directly to computer lab. Intentionally, it passes by the Ricketts RA apartment.