He was plugged into the ethernet. I was in another corner of the room, not plugged in and unable to pick up any WiFi. Had I been able to get on line, I would have blogged, but I wouldn't have blogged for help. I'd have been happy enough just to be able to get on line and to blog. As it was, I really needed help more than Gordon!
UPDATE: Professor Bainbridge is awed by the free-spirited ways of the Madisonians:
Do Gordon and Ann take laptops to the faculty meeting and just whip them out in plain sight? I've occasionally used my Treo to blog from a faculty meeting or, more often, to check email, but even that is pushing the outer limits of the group norms of my faculty. Blatantly working on a laptop while paying only partial attention, at most, to my colleagues' endless rambling thoughtful comments probably would be way over the line of what's acceptable here.I have another question: Does anyone work somewhere where prolonging meetings with superfluous, new issues and philosophical reflections is considered beyond "workplace civility norms"? If not, and if, at the same time, rapt attention must be paid to everyone who takes the floor, you've got a major dysfunction. I think you have to go one way or the other. If you want to require rapt attention, you've got to make the meeting very crisp and fast. To the extent that the speakers want to be tolerated as they luxuriate in extended discourse, they need to show mercy by allowing a lot of freedom to the rest of us folks. We have the mutual tolerance approach here in Madison ... at least as far as I can tell.
I've written about the role of group norms play in determining in how corporate boards make decisions and remain curious about the role of norms in governing behavior. So I pose a question: If your job requires endless meetings, do your workplace civility norms allow one to blog from the meeting?
Is using a laptop worse than doing crosswords or reading -- the traditional methods of staving off madness? Maybe it is. There's that clicky keyboard sound, and the screen seems to be a barrier, walling you off from the communal spirit so many of the professorial types seem to believe they are generating with all the back-and-forth.
And then, the possibility of blogging... that must be especially disturbing. Many faculty do not understand blogging and imagine all sorts of odd or abusive things going on in this little 'sphere of ours. Is Althouse taking quotes out of context, satirizing us, holding us up to the mockery of her right-wing groupies?