TITLE: A Tale of Three Days AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: January 17, 2008 5:24 PM DESC: ----- BODY: Yesterday was the the sort of day that makes my CS friends and colleagues ask if I am crazy for being department head. It was the third day of classes this semester. A dozen students came by, for advising on course selection, for help switching sections, and the like. I produced a schedule mapping graduate assistants to open lab hours, ran it past the GAs and the faculty, and then distributed it. The phone rang repeatedly, with calls from other offices on campus and from off-campus folks asking questions about scholarship application deadlines. Every time I started a new train of thought, an interrupt occurred. Context switch, new process, and return. Each task was, individually, just fine. In fact, I enjoy talking to students, new and returning, and helping them make choices about their studies. But little or no computer science happened. Today was my teaching day, so I got to spend plenty of time thinking about shell scripts. That's not Computer Science, but it's computer science, and as a hacker I loved it. Of course, yesterday's interrupt-fest cut into my prep time enough that I didn't feel as prepared for class as I like to be. But I got to think about software tools, writing code, duplication, abstraction -- many of the things that make me a happy computer scientist. Tomorrow I travel to Des Moines to help select the winners of the 2008 Prometheus Awards, the Academy Awards of IT in my state. Four hours on the road. A great outreach activity, an important role for my university, and conversation with some sharp, interesting people who are involved in my discipline's industry -- but little or no computer science. The weekend will be here soon. -----