back to article Homework late? Blame Russian hackers

Teachers are increasingly subjected to tech-based tall tales from students who've failed to get their act together in the homework department, the Telegraph reports. Long-suffering Brit teachers are now apparently offered 15 different yarns a week, with many kids trying to "pull the wool over teachers' eyes by blaming modern …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    top computer related reason for late homework

    from observing my son's efforts at doing homework then the top computer related reason for homework being late is "I spent all evening playing computer games and didn't have time for any homework" .... followed closely by "I started the powerpoint presentation but I spent all the time looking for clip art to put on the title page and playing around with the background colour scheme to make it look more exciting"

  2. Roger Barrett
    Thumb Up

    Way back in the crazy PC days of '94

    We used to do a lot of work for our Business Studies class on the computer but were always told to keep at least two copies on floppy disk as "one was broken and one is about to break" so we never had an excuse for not handing in work.

    I would of hoped by now teachers would of caught up and surely every kid at school now has a mobile phone with a memory card in or mp3 player to save work to that could be used as a back up device, or even just a basic memory stick and at the very least you cold hand that in and teacher can look at it/print it out for you.

    I like the idea of the internet not working though, means they cant be cutting and pasting from google searches and the like and they do still have these amazing things called libraries I believe with books!

  3. Anonymous Coward

    learn from industry best-pratise

    I left it on an un-secured laptop on train platform.

  4. breakfast

    The internet was down...

    One must pity the poor kids who were stuck because the internet wasn't working and they couldn't do any research.

    If only there was *some other way* to do research aside from the internet...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Ah, I remember being given lines to do in the days when you could say, "Please can I do them on my computer to practice my typing?"

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Low-tech solutions?

    This is why homework should always be handwritten. That way at least the dog gets fed.

  7. Dave Skinner

    Nothing new!

    We used to get a couple around final-assignment-handing-in-time. Kid tells their teacher that the college network is useless, always losing files, always getting hacked, etc. And that's why his assignment isn't ready - it was there this morning and now all his files have disappeared.

    You'd think an IT student would know better, and might have heard of things like system logs, undelete functions, and backups.

    Kid comes, with teacher in tow, to us in IT.

    "Okay, all your files were deleted <clickety click> within a couple of seconds of each other, this morning. By <clickety> somebody logged-in as you. Hang-on... from <clickety> the machine that you've been sitting at all morning.

    "But not to worry. Just a quick <clickety-click> and, presto, they're back again. Quite a few pictures and MP3s, and not too many Word documents by the looks of it.,

    "So, which one is your final assignment? I can print it off in here to save you the trouble...".

    Took 'em a couple of years to learn, but learn they did.

  8. BigSteve

    New back-up solution

    Never mind super DAT tapes, off-site storage in an advanced usb external 100TB hard drive, high encyptions auto backup systems & all that, want a home work back up system thats easy to use & cheap? pen & paper (under a quid) - surely this just shows that the youth of today is simply lazy.

    Besides is letting them do 'home work' on the PC a good idea? - I've used some remote desktop type software to spy on my 15yr old doing her home work & found her chating in MSN & playing MS-Hearts (so I crash her system)

  9. Jason Togneri

    Not just schools

    Re-read the article, substituting "oversight committees" for "teachers", "governments" for "schools" and "ministers" for "pupils". Sad, innit?

  10. Anonymous Coward

    the internet was on fire......

    I do have some sympathy for the kids today. back when i was at school in the 80s I used to do my homework in the 5 minutes before class started.....thats gotta be a lot more difficult today, trying to drag in your desktop, CRT and printer!!

    Of course reasons for not doing homework havent changed 'i couldnt be arsed sir!'

  11. Anonymous Coward

    I remember when

    I once hadn't bothered to do my IT homework, but it fortunately coincided with my third-hand laptop dying (screen, followed by keyboard and trackpad, then HDD - I'd been using an external screen, keyboard and mouse before the HDD gave in!!), so I took that in.

    I don't think teacher had ever seen a laptop, let alone know how to do anything technical with it - I offered to let her have a go at repairing it because I knew she wouldn't know how to even open it up.

    A couple of weeks later, I'd "recovered" my data from it and handed in something resembling homework... I don't think she even looked at it, she must've been so impressed that I'd recovered something from that system!

  12. Anthony Jones

    My Homework has been computed

    My Homework has been computed

    I once used "cat some.exe > assignment-21.doc" when I was in school and handed it and told the teacher there was only one copy and that it was stored on a single floppy I was taking between school and home.

    Got two extra weeks to finish it ;)

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My favourite explanation...

    ... was "I had a huge row with my girlfriend and in a fit of temper I smashed my computer to bits."

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    kids today

    My son's maths homework often comprises: go to this URL and answer questions 3 to 8 or similar. Not much scope for using legacy methods there (using the standard IT meanings of 'legacy' - i.e. working, reliable, consultancy company can't make money if you stick with it).

    Kids without computers at home have to grab time on a school machine when they can, either during break or after school. Given the size of the school's catchment area, its a bit of a pain for those who travel by (infrequent) train. Still, it uses IT so it must be better.

  15. Duckorange
    Thumb Up

    Homework woe

    I used "My homework's in the dog" only last week and got away with it.

    I am 42.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Pen and paper are not known for crashing.

  17. Peter


    In the early '90s I had a "year paper" to finish off and print and deliver to my supervisor. And my printer really did break! It was an old dot-matrix thing (well, "new" in those days). About halfway through the print (after about 2 hours) it stopped working. Luckily I could borrow another printer and complete the job, but it meant I delivered my paper at about 2pm, whereas the deadline was 12noon. I was sure I would get disqualified or knocked down a grade, but my supervisor's secretary just smiled and said the deadline was really 5pm - they always just lied and said it was midday because students would always deilver late!

  18. Rachel

    My favorite

    My all-time favorite was, "My sister ate my homework!" The last one actually worked, because my sister would eat paper just to goof off to begin with, and 50 cents would get you a thoroughly chewed-up, slobbered-on piece of unidentifiable paper that I could show to your teacher to get a reaction of "Oh, that's disgusting, just do it over and bring it in tomorrow and keep it away from your sister!" The thing was, I went to the high school and she went to the jr high school, so they had no idea that my 'little sister' who was eating the homwork was 13 instead of 3.

  19. Gavin

    i lost my laptop

    I bet the student who used the excuse "I lost my laptop" ends up working for the government...

  20. Anonymous Coward

    My PC WAS hacked by the Russians.

    Well, something started wiping every Office file in chronological order one day; sadly I only noticed the following morning ( it was left downloading a bittorrent film file :-0 ), by which time it had deleted every Word document on my main and back-up drives for the previous 6 months.

    It only stopped at 6 months because I had moved everything older than that into a RAR archive.

    My uni teacher was not very impressed with my excuse; at least she wasnt until she tried to log on to the Uni's system and found out that it had been hacked the same night!!! It was down for a week!!

    Flame?? Trying to stay warm!!

  21. yeah, right.


    If the little shits don't have backups, they get zero. That'll teach them.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cor blimey

    this coming from a group that doesn't teach knowledge properly.

    Ill educated, is perhaps the best way to describe most of these teaching snake oilmen.

    Absolute waste of public money, these cretins are the root cause of nearly all problems in society. Most with their far left extreme views, brainwashing a generation into economic self annihilation.

    You know whilst nothing was learnt from these buffoons, thanks Letts Revise Aids bought from my own pocket, the only ones who showed a glimmer of intelligence were the ones I later found out had left the con job and moved into industry.

    We need to return to our roots, go back to the founding fathers of western philosophy and critical thought; Socrates and Aristotle. Examine how these learned fellows created the great foundations of knowledge, and then contrast with what we have today.

    We just have a load of hot air today, it is paramount to what the Nazis did with the school books in the days of the Third Reich, all party political propaganda.

    Homework, why bother, do 100% exam. Why put a mill stone round the neck of the strong? At the end of the day you want work from someone, you pay for it, that is what the message should be. It is ludicrous to make people hand over their own work without compensation, it is slavery, quite that simple.

    Those who object to this form of slavery with excuse, should not be penalised they should be applauded, it just shows they have torn away just another veil of education's perverse thinking.

  23. David Haig

    Whilst reading this article ...

    .. I've just received a text from one of our waitresses asking when she's working this weekend as ' the dog ate her rota'. Some things never change ....

  24. Steven Hunter
    Thumb Up

    Never blame **your* computer

    Always make it look like *their* computer is the blame. I sued to routinely get an extra day or two on my papers by renaming a copy of winword.exe to "name of paper.doc" and emailing it to the prof. They'd eventually email me back and say that the file was damaged and I'd say "Well it looks OK here. I'll send it again." and then send them the now finished paper.

    Got them every time. Only problem was that I couldn't use that trick on my CS profs as they would likely recognize the "MZ" at the start of the file.

  25. Daniel B.

    My dog ate my homework

    Ah, the technology. Back in 1997, I had to deliver my homework, and had not finished. I proceeded to split a .wav file into 300 Kb's and just renamed it "homework.doc" and delivered that to the teacher. The real assignment was then done that day, and I had a legitimate reason to deliver late. However, the excuse came from a *real* incident, where one of my friends lost his homework to one of the first Word virus out there.

    Then there was the LearningSpace system (based on Notes). That one was fun, we discovered that you could do the "set date back 1 day" trick for submitting assignments locally; and if you had a replicated copy that had not been synched after the "time travel date", you could just run the replication process and blame Notes. The "created/modified" timestamp would prove you right ;)

    Finally, the best excuse I remember was "my laptop blew up". Sadly, this one was also true: his laptop started smoking, the owner left it on the floor while he went to the bathroom (some acid had leaked to his hands) and the damn thing exploded in front of about 50 onlookers. BTW, that was an HP laptop, in 2004; it predates the Dell / MacBook explosions. Hmm, maybe the same batteries were used?

  26. MadonnaC
    Thumb Up

    I've used

    the exe as a document before...

    Also with clueless teaching staff, playing nethack right in front of them, and overhearing them say I was working on my wordprocessing skills

  27. Ben

    True stories

    I didn't have to make up stories like this, they actually happened to me. One was entirely my fault (reformatted hard drive to discover that My Documents hadn't actually been backed up as I thought), the other wasn't really. We were doing a project in Smalltalk V, which dates back to the 80's (this was around 2005), and it had a nasty habit of crashing and destroying what you were working on. This was supposedly no problem because there were always two backup copies you could restore from. Unfortunately at some point it crashed on me and somehow managed to take both backup copies with it. It was stored on a network drive so in theory it was being backed up nightly, but the only backup they could find was about two weeks old and nearly worthless. After that I did my own backups every three minutes while I was working on anything - I don't make the same mistake twice (though apparently I find new ones to make from time to time :-).

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Silly excuses...

    The executable as a doc works.

    You can get more than one reprieve though-send it the first time as a completely unknown file type (some random entry from Open Office's "Save As" option). They'll tell you they can't open it, and sent it again-then you send them the jibberish in .doc or equivalent, and you still have a couple days after that to finish up.

    I did it once at the end of spring term for the final paper, since it was due after classes were over I never replied with an actual document-I still got a B on that paper...

    You just have to know which teachers can be fooled by it, and which won't. Honestly, the ones that can be fooled/tricked like that probably shouldn't be teaching.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    In the 1970s.....

    ...back when a computer was a portable B&W TV plus a cassette driven program...we used pens and paper.

    The best excuse I ever found was:

    Sorry my work is late [insert reason]

    Can I drop it on your desk at lunchtime?

    OK, thanks

    [do nothing]

    [...time passes..]

    What! You lost it! You can't find the assignment I put on your desk?

    [get a C grade pass out of sympathy]

  30. Llanfair

    What about pen and paper?

    Do all children do their homework on computers now? What happened to handwriting? It was bad enough with just doctors having bad handwriting, but now everyone has bad handwriting. Some people look stunned when they see my handwriting and say "Wow! Your handwriting is very neat." I thought everyone writes with neat handwriting.

  31. Azrael

    I faced skepticism with my tech-excuse

    "I tried to print it at lunch time. The printer driver in the labs wasn't working."

    When told by the teacher that she didn't believe me, I pulled out my stack of papers from my satchel, and dropped it on the desk. "Uh. There it is. You'll notice that each word is written on a line amongst that code. You'll have to read down the list. Or, y'know, I can just print it at home and hand it in tomorrow. Or if you want I'll do a collage during class."

    Strangely, despite having it in front of her, she still assumed I was trying to pull some sort of a scam. Oh well, can't win 'em all.

  32. Lee Chong Yew

    @My PC WAS hacked by the Russians.

    Forget russian hackers, rival students can also be blamed. This true story happened on my final year of college. I was working to finish my assignment. A "friend" then sent me a message and an EXE which purportedly lets Warcraft use private servers. Having worked from 8PM, it was 4AM, and I was just done with it and figured "what the hell, I could take an hour off before sleep". I copied the assignment into a floppy (college for some stupid reason bans the use of USB thumb drives) and ran the EXE. It hang my PC.

    I rebooted the PC, and found my copy on the desktop gone. I didn't think twice, shut down, and went to bed. The next day, I went to college, printed it out, and handed the papers over.

    A few days later, the result came out. I noticed that I have been failed for "plagiarism". So I went to the lecturer. He said my paper was an exact facsimile of the one of the "friend" who contacted me that night. I tried to reason with the lecturer, but to no avail. For some reason she believed that it was I who hacked into the "friend" 's PC and copied his paper, and kept refusing to hear my side of the story no matter what.

    Higher powers won't have any of it either. I had to stay back for another year semester because of that. But then, I think I've seen that "friend" buy the lecturer lunch at a fancy restaurant the day before the paper was due...

    I immediately ignored that "friend" and the lecturer after that. I also built a proxy firewall and denied my computers direct internet access after that.

    So yeah. With friends like that, who needs enemies?

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