This week we sat down with the woman behind “the network:” Ashley Williams ’08 (agwilliams.stu for short). When not informing people that the Help Desk cannot help them register firearms, Ashley spends her days saving the network itself from mortal peril. If only her SLR were so lucky.

Justin: You’re queen of the network. How does the network work?

Ashley: It works a lot like the Google search engine. It’s basically a really small hard drive with a spider that goes around via Windows networking. It just figures out what files everyone’s sharing and indexes them. It refreshes every 15 minutes.

Janie: So it’s only for Windows?

Ashley: No, it not only for Windows, but it’s more difficult to put it up on Mac. There will be instructions on how to put files up from a Mac as well as from an external hard drive on the new, reformatted network that we’re working on over winter break.

Justin: Any other new features?

Ashley: Pretty colors.

Justin: Is the network a physical thing other than this hard drive?

Ashley: Yeah, it’s a cardboard box held together with Magic Hat beer wrappers. A funny story about the network is that I had a party and people got drunk and tagged it while I was out of the room.

Janie: How were you picked to be the network girl?

Ashley: When I was made a trainee at the [ITS] Help Desk, they brought all the trainees into the first Help Desk meeting, and they auctioned us off to the mentors. We don’t do that anymore, and I think it was supposed to be a joke, but Brendan Dolan-Gavitt [’06] bid $5, so I became his mentee. I also happened to know a bunch about Linux, so I was basically the only option.

Justin: So you work for the Help Desk. Any funny stories?

Ashley: I sure do! Recently a member of a fraternity on campus brought his computer in, and we opened it up to look at it, and it was just nasty. The prominent nasty part was a lot of hairs all over the computer. My coworker Andrew put on some rubber gloves and ran virus removal. But we called the guy and said, “We’d really prefer if you’d clean up your computer before you brought it to us,” and he sent a pledge down to come and clean it. Andrew gave him the rubber gloves.

Janie: Have you ever received any funny calls?

Ashley: We usually get calls from people needing their computer registered, but one person confused Help Desk with someone who would help them register their firearms. They had recently bought some hunting weapons of some sort and thought we could help them out.

Justin: I heard your HiRise flooded.

Ashley: It was a huge bummer. A toilet exploded on the third floor in the middle of the night. I got to pick up my Nikon SLR out of a puddle. That put me over the edge. It also hit all of my books.

Justin: But it didn’t hit the network?

Ashley: No. The water stopped three inches from the network.

Justin: That’s because God loves the network.

Ashley: Yeah, or my stuff’s really absorbent.

Janie: Do you do a lot of photography?

Ashley: Yes. I got back into it when I went home sophomore summer, and I ran into my kindergarten teacher walking back from the library, and she told me that she did photography and invited me to do photography with her.

Justin: Like the poster says: “Everything I learned, I learned in kindergarten.”

Ashley: I got to teach a week in kindergarten, because I was obscenely obsessed with penguins when I was young. I taught about all the different types and where they lived and which ones were endangered and that penguins don’t live with polar bears.

Justin: Oh, they don’t? Only in Coca-Cola land.

Ashley: Right, which is not real. It’s imaginary.

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