I currently work in a college computer center. Before that I worked in the operations room at another college. The one constant is that people leave their disks behind. These disks contain large amounts of data and work. I feel really bad for those poor saps who lose that work, especially just before the big paper is due. That?s why I present these tips for people who use transportable media.
First, put your name on the outside of the disk. It?s simple; get a fine point Sharpie brand marker (or equivalent) write your name on the disk. Most people using computers have at least mastered putting their marks on things. When helpful people like me find your disk we?ll look at it and say hey, this belongs to so and so.
Secondly, on the disk, store a file called ?readme? or ?ownerinfo?. This file should have your name and contact information. If I find a disk and it has a contact e-mail or phone number, I have no problem getting in touch with you and telling you I have your disk. Without this information, you disk will sit in the lost and found until you come to pick it up.
Third, when you are using the disk, set the disk case so it will be blatantly in your way. When I use my Zip Disk, I place the carry case next to the keyboard and I make sure the case is open. When I go to leave, the case is obvious and, because it?s open, I know I need to get my disk out of the machine. This is a really good way to prevent leaving a disk behind.
Fourth, make a habit of checking the drives, even if you didn?t use a disk. Every time you approach a communal computer, make sure the disk drives and CD drives are empty. Then, when you leave, check the drives again. If this becomes a habit, you are much less likely to leave a disk.
Fifth, stop by to see if your disk is here. If you last used the disk in a computer center and that disk is now missing, check back to see if it is at that center. We always have disks of various sorts in the lost and found. Come to think of it, we also have prescription glasses, books, magazines, scarves, mittens, earrings, and a wondrous selection of other things one would assume were to valuable to misplace casually. It never hurts to ask. We can answer better if your name is on the disk.
The final thing I want to mention isn?t really about disks but it is about using a communal computer. When you sneeze, please sneeze into your elbow instead of your hands. If you watch a physician, you?ll see him or her sneeze into the elbow rather than hands because it is more sanitary. When you sneeze into your hands and then put those hands back on the keyboard or mouse, you might as well have sneezed directly onto those items. If everyone adopts this practice, you won?t have to worry about who sneezed previously on the keyboard you?re using right now.
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