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Software/Laptop Dummy spit....and an interim solution of sorts

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G'day all,
I think a squishy laptop with no mouse with a whole bunch of unfamiliar software is perhaps too big a leap for some users. It’s free but it’s frustrating....
It would have been better to have a less restrictive software policy where teachers could load familiar software in a separate partition/sandbox before they drifted to the other newer software.
I’m missing programs I've been using for years like firefox, gmail (how come the students can use it with a 7.3 GB capacity and teachers are stuck with the clunky outlook express with a measly 500 MB capacity?) picassa and irfanview (funny it used to be on the DET image) and open office etc etc. I’m also wondering how interface software for subjects like music and science is going to be used.
I can’t help wonder what sort of deal DET did with ADOBE and MS – exclude other software and lock us into the desktop behemoths? (I must confess, in case you haven’t already guessed, I keep drifting to open source software, cloud computing and collaborative networking.)
Anyway that’s my dummy spit for now... Razz


Here’s my interim solution of sorts... bounce
Anyway I bit the (software) bullet last night and ordered the Adobe CS4 Collection for Windows Package ($82.50+$11 postage) and MS Office Enterprise 2007 Win32 English DVD ($39+$11 postage) through the DET intranet (https:www.sigroup.com.au/teachers) and will install it on my new Dell laptop and get the software mix I want on a laptop which is a pleasure to use.
Yeah, i’m OK about wearing the cost until DET (if ever) sorts out the DER software/laptop package into something usable – who knows? It could be the next re-image............ Wink
Regards
vincent

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Dear Vincent,

I know this is a dummy spit, but I will try to help as best I can.


vincent wrote:I think a squishy laptop with no mouse with a whole bunch of unfamiliar software is perhaps too big a leap for some users. It’s free but it’s frustrating....

Squishy? I don't know what you mean by that sorry.
The software included is pretty universal, Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suite.
Leap? Students are not required to use the laptops.


vincent wrote:It would have been better to have a less restrictive software policy where teachers could load familiar software in a separate partition/sandbox before they drifted to the other newer software.

The restrictions are in place to prevent the laptops needing constant repair from setting changes.
The software included is part of the DER NSW standardisation.
Professional training will be supplied to teachers on the applications included.


vincent wrote:how come the students can use it with a 7.3 GB capacity and teachers are stuck with the clunky outlook express with a measly 500 MB capacity?

I am guessing you mean the Outlook Express on the T1? That was a trial system that was used.


vincent wrote:I’m also wondering how interface software for subjects like music and science is going to be used.

Going to be used? As in how will they be installed. DET is currently working on this. But I guess they will be part of images.


vincent wrote:sorts out the DER software/laptop package into something usable

It seems to be usable for me. But thats me.


vincent wrote:It could be the next re-image

I am pretty sure it will be.

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While I completely agree that the DER laptops are far from perfect - they are a pretty damn good compromise IMHO. Considering that the DET had to balance factors like cost, durability, peformance etc the overall package is pretty impressive.

As far as enabling schools to chose their own hardware/software this would have been a licensing nightmate as well as creating HUGE inequity issues between schools depending on their technical knowledge. It would have also made it difficult when students/staff transferred between schools.

Just my 2c


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Duane Galle
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Dear Broc,
Sorry for my delay in replying but I’ve been flat out teaching, marking etc.…interesting that you and Duane are the only two people to reply to my initial dummy spit – perhaps I’m the lone whinger and everyone else is perfectly content. Wink

To reply to some of your points….

Re “Squishy” means small, cramped. The keyboards are squishy and the screens are squishy. Netbooks were developed initially for catching up on email ‘on the run’ and definitely not for sustained ‘all day’ use – hopefully OHS issues will be adequately addressed in DET training. scratch

Re “…software included is pretty universal, Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suite.” MS is universal by default by preloading on windows machines and predatory business practices – not necessarily through the individual merits of MS products. The Adobe Creative Suite costs $1000’s which tends to negate any universality – any students which are familiar with Adobe products tend to have illegal copies. Did DET do an exclusive deal with ADOBE and MS to exclude products like Picassa and Irfanview? DET seems very MS-centric ….Suspect

Re “Leap? Students are not required to use the laptops.” Interesting word choice - “required”. Are teachers required to use the laptops? I got the impression through DER publicity these netbooks were so compelling and usable we’d get them and with a little bit of training, they’d be constantly used – I haven’t reached that point as yet. I happily shift mainly between 4 laptops but when I do use the DER netbook it quickly becomes a frustrating experience. Rolling Eyes

Re “The restrictions are in place to prevent the laptops needing constant repair from setting changes.” Yes, a sandbox isolates the system from any changes.

Re “I am guessing you mean the Outlook Express on the T1? That was a trial system that was used.” Then DET has been trialling it well before T1 – it’s ironic that our students are using an email system with a well designed interface with a capacity 14 times that of teachers.

Re “It seems to be usable for me. But thats me.” I’m still waiting.
Re “(vincent wrote:It could be the next re-image) – “I am pretty sure it will be.” I’m still waiting. It’s pretty cringe-worthy that the OS keeps reminding me that I have an illegal copy of windows..…my students laugh when they see this message….. for how many weeks now?

vincent bounce

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well i am just going with the flow. I am using what the laptop offers and working with it. our students will receive there laptops tomorrow and friday and we shall see how things go. for some students this will be a way new experieince just learning their way around. for the techno smart kids they probably have all the bells and whistles on their own computers but they need to realise that this is just a tool to bring the majority up to speed. Whilst there are some frustrating issues such as admin rights, group policies etc when we eventually have over 600 computers up and running i am sure we will be greatful that noone has been able to change the settings and introduce new programs. I am sure there will be many issues but i am excited for the kids that this will benefit. Chin up fellows!!

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6 Agreement on Mon Sep 28, 2009 6:00 am

vincent wrote:
…interesting that you and Duane are the only two people to reply to my initial dummy spit – perhaps I’m the lone whinger and everyone else is perfectly content. Wink
Be assured vincent, you are not the only one who would have loved the choice to have been with open source software.
vincent wrote:
The Adobe Creative Suite costs $1000’s which tends to negate any universality – any students which are familiar with Adobe products tend to have illegal copies. Did DET do an exclusive deal with ADOBE and MS to exclude products like Picassa and Irfanview? DET seems very MS-centric ….Suspect
This is the biggest argument in favour of Open Source software. Although DET could calculate the cost for the Department, I suspect they ignored the cost to the parents who feel obliged to pay such a price for software. Whereas Open Source alternatives would not have been a burden to the parents. Therefore Open Source resolves the equity issues that were mentioned.

BTW Although Open Office is open source, I am not sure about the others you are listing - I think they may be just freeware - I would also be careful of freeware, as it doesn't allow for improvements like Open source does.
The open source software which is included (Dia and Freemind) are excellent examples of what can be achieved with Open Source software.
vincent wrote:
Re “(vincent wrote:It could be the next re-image) – “I am pretty sure it will be.”
I’m still waiting.
On the contrary, although I am in Western region where the roll out to students is occurring lots later, I am hearing from teachers on the coastal areas that the new image is locked down to allow less access not more. That is I have heard that SRN (Student Response Network) is not even on the next image, and that collaboration in OneNote has been turned off. I suspect it will take a lot longer before the image reaches the kind of potential we are hoping for - especially in terms of collaboration.
vincent wrote:
It’s pretty cringe-worthy that the OS keeps reminding me that I have an illegal copy of windows..…my students laugh when they see this message….. for how many weeks now?
An evaluation copy is not an illegal copy. It is the version used to get rid of bugs. Because of the laptops I downloaded a version for myself from Micro$oft to put on a virtual computer for my own use - perfectly leagal and encouraged by Micro$oft. Furthermore, the version seems to be one of the final version (I think it may be beta). So I am not concerned with the version of Windows (I am just glad that Vista was never considered - it would results in the laptops being put in the bin). It is no doubt very similar to what will be used on the laptops when Micro$oft allows the final version to be used in October.



Last edited by col on Mon Sep 28, 2009 6:16 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Relate to other posts)

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I have just heard from a school saying that shortly after that illegal copy warning notice comes up, the computer stops working, and even cannot be turned on.
Sorry Vincent, I didn't realise the nature of the message. Do you have access to a TSO?
I wonder whether anyone has some suggestions, but it sounds like Vincent should stop using it until he has access to a TSO.



Last edited by col on Mon Sep 28, 2009 9:00 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Clarify meaning)

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Col - the laptops will continue to work after the warning message pops up. The DET is in the process of finialising the image to be used to reimage the T1 laptops. If the laptop does stop working, it has nothing to do with the licensing of windows, if there is no TSO in your school yet I would recommend contacting the IT Directorate HelpDesk.


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Duane Galle
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NSWDER Forum founder
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Thanks guys for your considered and reasonble replies - I got busy teaching...silent
Anyway off on another complaint, new thread, gotta go bounce

vincent

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